The Guardian may be wincing this week as it emerges it purchased sponsored Google results for the keywords Madeleine McCann.
According to the CounterValue blog, written by Justin Williams, assistant-editor of the Telegraph Media Group, the Guardian showed poor taste at best.
“There is no phrase too sensitive, no taste that is too poor … apparently,” he sneered.
Ouch. Even more painfully, Williams published a further post, asserting the newspaper’s use of paid listings shows it is unable to compete organically.
The Guardian has attempted some comeback, commenting to news source Journalism.co.uk that it has mistakenly paid for these keywords but is now reviewing the list.
Marc Sands, the publication’s marketing manager, said search engines are a new field for newspapers and everyone is feeling their way.
“Everyone is working their way through and trying to remain true exactly to the principles of what they’re doing, but also to ensure that they’re getting read,” he asserted.
Of course, Williams could not leave the Guardian’s response alone and quipped: “Perhaps they were trying to buy the keywords for Madeleine Stowe and somebody’s fingers slipped.”
I do love the industry insights blogs offer.