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Proud Sponsors of the Virginia Tech Shooting?

Media Outlets Buying Google Keywords

By Published on . 6

I guess it all boils down to business. A reader e-mailed to alert us to the results of a Google search for Virginia Shooting. Seems The New York Times and Inside Edition, among others, have purchased the key words.

Perhaps not quite as bad as Dateline's FaceBook group seeking out friends of the shooter (about halfway down in this post), but still ...

From a purely financial perspective, this makes sense I guess. After all, even here at Ad Age we're always hectoring marketers to be smarter about key-word marketing -- whether it be Taco Bell trying to put a positive spin on those rats or small pet-food companies getting the word out about safe alternatives.

I've yet to figure out if the media companies specifically bought these words or if it was the result of one of those fancy Google algorithms combined with a contextual ad program. (We've got calls out and will use the wonderful powers of the interwebs to update.)

Either way, it strikes me as incredibly tacky.

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