Tigers World Series Tickets Hidden in Gmail?

This weekend the Detroit Tigers will proudly take the field to play in the World Series for the first time since 1984! Since I caught myself day dreaming about actually going to a game, I decided I might as well do a few searches to see what World Series tickets are selling for. I always need to add a little twist to the way I do things. So I decided to use the ads Google furnishes to my Gmail account to find the tickets.

I went into Gmail and composed a simple message to myself last night:

My email’s subject line: World Series Tickets

The only text I put in the email: I want to go to the Tigers game this Sunday.

I sent the email at 8:45 and checked it a moment later. And “kablammo” there were two ads near the body of my email message. I use kablammo as if I was excited. I was. I will be honest here and admit that I can not think of one time where I looked at the ads embedded in my Gmail messages. Really, not once. I have been a steady Gmail user for 2 years. Never looked at the ads. They never bothered me, and I never bothered them. I just happen to like the free email service Google offers. So far there has never been any added benefit to having the ads Google places there for me, until this time.

I will let you know in advance that I was pretty disappointed with what I was given. Here’s why:

There were two ads there. One was from a well known online ticket seller. Another from a t-shirt vendor. The ad from the ticket vendor took me directly to a page for Mets playoff tickets. What? The Mets? They aren’t even in the World Series. They may not even make it to the World Series. At this point they are fighting with the Cardinals to see who gets the honor of playing my beloved Tigers in the World Series. Although, I must give a bit of credit to the ad because at least it was related to baseball tickets.

The second ad just took me to the homepage of a site that sells nothing more than sophomoric team spirit t-shirts. Most of the shirts had a Philadelphia or Boston theme. Only a couple of the shirts had anything to do with baseball, and to me those were a stretch. If you don’t know the Boston or Philadelphia athletes, these shirts may not mean anything to you. For instance one of the shirts simply had the words “Johnny Sucks” on it. My guess is they mean Johnny Damon sucks for leaving the Red Sox for the Yankees. Anyway, I wanted to see ads for World Series tickets, or at least something to do with the Detroit Tigers.

You may think the goal of this blog post is to slam Google for putting untargeted ads in my Gmail emails. Google may be partially to blame for something slightly off in its relevancy algorithm, but my beef isn’t with Google. It is more important to me to place the blame on the owners of the two sites that showed the ads within my email message. They need to do a better job of determining if their ads are showing at the right time to the right audience. Google didn’t twist their arms and force them into my Gmail. They may want to opt out of this content match advertising option, or at least make sure it is more targeted to current events before continuing.

For the record I did a couple of searches at Google.com for World Series Tickets and Detroit Tigers Tickets. The well known online ticket seller that I saw in my email ads nailed these searches with well placed Google AdWords ads. The AdWords ads put me a click or two away from buying a ticket for Sunday’s game. The only thing is that I don’t have the $8,500 for the ticket. Well, maybe a “Johnny Sucks” t-shirt for $19.95 was what I needed after all.