Because if you happen to search an article that has the word “sexual” in it, the ad-server software automatically serves up a Viagra ad. This makes the Washington Post look no different to the average person than one of those fake news sites.
So what’s a mother to do? Well if you are a reputable news site like the Post or the New York Times, stop doing business with those meat market computerized ad services like Google Ad Sense or DoubleClick. Raise your paywall subscription rates, sell your own digital ads and find a reputable Ad-Rep firm (if one still exists that actually employs people.)
(And yes, this screen grab is from an actual article I searched for on December 9th. Click on the picture for a high-res version.)
UPDATE: And as another cautionary tale in a world where the ad space buyers and sellers never interact with each other – The Wall Street Journal reports on the “Methbot” – a scheme for generating non-human loads of web-pages featuring video ads (and thus generating fake plays.) That’s what happens when you don’t go out for drinks with the gals & guys at the agency.