What's with these weird ads and related links in my emails? I know Google's (Nasdaq: GOOG ) all about targeted advertising (and, you know, organizing the world's information). And in your core search, you do a fantastic job. Really. But in my mail, the ads and links you provide are just kind of… weird most of the time.
Sure, I like some of the "Web Clips" at the top of my Gmail -- Reuters' "Oddly Enough" headlines are nearly impossible to resist, and you do keep me pretty well entertained that way. But what's the deal with, say, a sponsored link to a website revealing a mysterious someone who "has a crush on you!" Gosh, Gmail, you're kind of creeping me out,. What kind of company do you keep?
Why would an email exchange about carpooling invite me to click on a link to a site that tells me how to run my car on water, or get 60% off new taillights? It's not like my email said, "I wish I could run my car on water," or "I wish I could get these broken taillights fixed." Geez, sounds to me like the AI just ain't that "I" sometimes, Gmail.
Last but not least, when I received an email from my friend Sandy, you served up "More About" links, such as "Sandy theme song." I suppose something like that might be useful for people who really like musicals, but I just don't get it.
I know, Google -- when it comes to core search and Internet advertising, you're the belle of the ball. The recently concluded (or is it?) soap opera -- at times, downright Shakespearean -- between Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT ) and Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO ) only emphasizes how many of your rivals would like to take you down a few notches.
Alas, Gmail, I've never actually found the ads or sponsored links in my Gmail accounts that useful. Sometimes, they're completely off base. That says something to me about many of your ancillary products.
They're great and useful, but where's the money, Google? How can Gmail's bizarre pitches generate any ad clicks at all? Gmail's weird, off-base ads make me think that investors shouldn't assume you're always perfect. No offense.
Does your Gmail offer up slightly weird links as well? If so, share them in our comments box below!