Originally posted 2009-01-22 13:31:48. Republished by Blog Post Promoter
Working from home today after a bruising few weeks at work (see yesterday’s post!), I finally figured out what was going on with banner ads on my Internet browsing. It raises an interesting question about Internet-related copyright and trademark law.
We use a filtered Internet service at home. This way we know that not only do our children not have access to or permission to use the Internet, but even if they “happen to” get to it anyway, the worst of the worst is not coming into our house. This is good for the grownups too, of course.
I recently adjusted the filtering level on the service and by virtue of that change the filter now happens to block banner ads. This I did not mind, because many such ads, especially on Yahoo! mail, are quite garish and often rather gross and, frankly, indecent. After this change I also started seeing a filtering message in the place of familiar, and relatively high-class, banner ads on my favorite “big” blogs that feature ads, such as Instapundit. It was not a great aesthetic experience but I got used to it.
A little while later I had the jarring experience of realizing that ads for charity auctions on behalf of orthodox educational institutions — including a client of mine! — and solicitations for fundraising on behalf of penurious young couples in Israel were appearing on that very same site, one of the most popular English-language blogs in the world! Well, I would say Glenn Reynolds is pretty Jewish-friendly, to say the least, but this struck me as pretty odd.
Once I could focus on the question, however, I realized what was going on: My filtering service was reselling the filtered advertising real estate to advertisers interested in the orthodox Jewish Internet user market!
This seems to raise some interesting questions, doesn’t it? Read More…