Are Even Algorithms Child-centric?

Laura Carroll, pronatalism

At one time I had google ads on my site. It was interesting  experimenting with these ads as part of my blogging experience.  But it went beyond interesting, really; it started to bug me. Why? Here is an example.

In a post I talk about my mixed feelings about someone getting the Nobel award for IVF. What do I see in the google ads after I post?  Ads for  IVF and infertility treatments. I write about pro-life  women not being truly feminist. What do I then see in the google ads?  The absolute last thing I want to see on my blog…Vote for  Sarah Palin ads! OY!

These are just two examples of many where google takes words from my post, does whatever it does with its fandango algorithm process, and next thing I know an ad appears that is inappropriate for this site.  And yes, I have done the google “channel” thing that is supposed to “channel” appropriate ads to the site.

It goes deeper- That maybe it reflects how even the tech culture is child-centric in how it approaches advertising.  You’d think that over time the algorithm would pick up that certain products and ads are just not working on this childfree site, but from what I can see is that it does not. It seems google continues to take the key words and associations with those words from a cultural context, not the context in which it was written.

And that cultural context is child-centric, one that it is all about babies, kids, and exalting the role of parenthood. What if the culture was not so child-centric–how would the algorithms change? Different products would show for sure.  And for childfree sites, I hypothesize they would not be so regularly inappropriate!


9 thoughts on “Are Even Algorithms Child-centric?

  1. IT’S A CONSPIRACY!!!11!1

    *puts on tinfoil hat and stocks up on bottle water*

    Hahaha, but no really, that is kinda creepy and awkward. And particularly annoying.

    /Absolutely nothing intelligent to contribute moment

  2. this happens on another site I frequent. They did a post on how bad self storage can be, and they got ads for self storage.

  3. When I got married last year the ads on my facebook account became baby-centric: fertility treatments, conception, birthing centres, baby paraphernalia, the whole kit and caboodle. Although I can delete the ads–and do!– they keep popping up, even after I repeatedly check off the “offensive” box when asked why I want to delete the ad.

    1. So fb guilty of it too! Not surprised. They need google’s new ad filter I just learned about. More about that soon, and whether it works to deal with childcentric ads…L

  4. My Facebook ads are full of notices for infertility treatments and for mommies going back to school. I assumed it was because I was 35, so the ads assume I either have children already or desperately want them.

  5. The FB ads are not only childcentric but sexist- when my fiancee put engaged to (me) on his status,on his page, all the ads in the sidebar on *my* page became wedding-related. The thing is the ads are only on my page and not on his at all! Ugh. Besides that, I just came across your site and I’m glad I did. Thank you for writing this!

    1. Welcome! Yeah, you are not the only one….I am experimenting with a new feature of google adsense that allows me to filter specfic ads..will play with for a little while then post on whether it makes things any better or not …maybe FB can do the same. Algorithms have a long ways to go!

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