In these days of belt-tightening and margin-cutting, have "contextual" ad companies like Kontera finally been forced to actually live up to their promise of delivering ads that're relevant to the text they link from?
That'll be a "no", then.
You'd think that contextual link-ad companies would be in a deadly downward spiral.
They can only deliver ads that're actually relevant if they've got tons of advertisers to choose from (like Google, who often deliver ads that contradict a page's content, but are at least talking about the same subject). But anybody with half a brain can see that, at the moment, actual relevant contextual ads seem to be very much in the minority.
So if you pay a contextual ad company to advertise your product, you can't expect anything better.
But then again, the big contextual ad companies have been in business for several years now, and most of them still haven't gone broke.
As I write this, RealTextAds (who contacted me in 2004) seem to be out of business, but Vibrant Media are more than eight years old and still going strong. So are Tribal Fusion, as mentioned in passing in 2005 and looked at specifically here; they're about as old as Vibrant. And Kontera, responsible for the ad in the picture above, is six years old. They run ads under their own name, and also as "ContentLink".
So somebody must still be paying for this crap.
Perhaps the ads actually do work - get clicks, and create sales. I'm sure plenty of people at least click on these weird little pop-ups, even if they're only trying to make the thing go away.
I can't see how the cost per conversion can be good, though.