Check this out.
At the Rome Reports newsite with its announcement of the Beatification of John Paul II (Yeah!), look at the videos on the right hand side of the screen.
Older videos put out by Rome Reports. 5 videos in a row and then immediately below them another larger video showing an intriguing-looking black man. No description is visible because it falls below the fold.
But when you click on it, you discover that it is one of those "I'm a Mormon" video testimonies: this time from a black British singer with a truly interesting story. So thousands of Catholics reading about John Paul's beatification may also be exposed to a Mormon testimony.
Google accepted an LDS ad that in style and placement mimics Rome Reports. Except that it's production values are much higher and it is much less stiff than your typical Rome Reports video.
Accident or very clever? Who makes these placement decisions? Google? Or did the LDS folks request that it be placed there?
Anyone know how this works?
Update: the mystery video has mysteriously vanished. Who pulled it? Rome Reports? Or Google because Rome Reports protested?
How does this work?
Update #2: An anonymous but very highly placed little internet bird has whispered into my shell-like ear:
"As far as I can tell, they don't seem to be targeting individual websites -- rather, it's a broad campaign aiming at any page in Google's "Catholic" keyword category. There are ways to block it, but it's tougher than it looks."
Soooo. Intentional and clever. Specifically aimed at Catholic readers on an internet wide basis. (7% of Mormons were raised Catholic.) A techy friend explained that while you can ask that Google ads on your site observe certain parameters (like no suggestive ads), that obviously the squeaky clean, religion-friendly Mormon videos would fit those parameters. So while Catholics would find the unannounced placement of LDS witness videos on Catholic sites to be deceptive at best, it doesn't violate Google's standards.
My little bird tells me that he has found a way to block it and hopefully will share said secret with Rome Reports.
What do you think of them apples?