Buying Ads for Current News Events

By Deane Barker on April 27, 2007

Buying Clicks To A Tragedy: Interesting. I don’t think there’s an ethical problem here, it’s just a reflection on the new world we live in.

As news outlets deployed their teams to Blacksburg, Va., following the Apr. 16 shooting at Virginia Tech, the business operations of The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN, and Time magazine were busy, too. Each bought ads on either Google or Yahoo! so that anytime someone searched the phrase “Virginia shooting,” their links would pop up prominently on the right-hand side of the page. “Get info on the gunman and other breaking news from,” one Apr. 17 sponsored link read.