We’re all aware that Google AdSense “matches ads to your site’s content” right? (At least in theory.)

And I think it’s safe to assume that we know how Google feels about paid links, right? Ahem…

Well, that’s precisely why I think the subject of this post is so ironic.

Early on there were countless instances where Google would display AdSense ads that were completely off-topic to the publisher’s site. I remember reading all of the grumbles and growls about it…especially a couple years back. Now, though, I think they do a pretty good job of sending targeted ads to the right places, wouldn’t you agree?

Keeping this in mind, I was doing some research for a client today and I came across a post on Search Engine Land that caught my eye. It wasn’t the title of the post that caught my eye nor was it the author. (Although I have MASSIVE amounts of respect for Barry…just stay with me.) No, what caught my eye were the AdSense ads being displayed a couple paragraphs under the title.


It wasn’t until after I had wiped the tears of laughter from my eyes that I was able to take that screenshot.

What’s so funny about it, you ask? If you’re aware of the whole Google Mini link debate you’ll know what I mean.

Basically, in return for purchasing the Google Mini search appliance you are rewarded with a link to your site. Now, let’s piece that together real quick: you buy something from Google and they link to your site. Sounds like a paid link, right?

Of course it does. It is.

But that’s old news and I’ve already heard Google’s defense that these links don’t pass juice blah, blah, blah.

The true irony to me is that Google’s own product seems to be “turning the knife” on Google itself here. I mean, right smack-dab in the middle of a blog post about paid links is an AdSense ad for the Google Mini…which doubles as Google’s own paid link product! Giggle.

I guess maybe Google is doing too good of a job at matching AdSense with relevant content, huh?!