Advertising is everywhere and the web is no exception. The difference is that with the web, the advertisers have the ability to get information about you that allows them to target the advertising they are presenting to you and, in effect, try to manipulate it to make it more effective in your particular case.
Google and Advertising
There are two prongs to Google's general use of advertising:
Adwords: This is Google's program to attract advertisers. Businesses pay to have their ads show on the Google results page when certain words are being searched. The advertisers only pay when someone clicks on the ad. And Google pays veeeeeerry close attention to what actually gets clicked when certain words are searched. And if you happen to be logged into a Google account when you click, well, then they know about your specific interests and can target things even further.
Adsense: In this pay-per-click program, Google lets third-party web sites gain revenue for showing ads from the adwords program. So Google can place its Adwords ads throughout the web - and then keep track of which sites get how many clicks for which ads.
Now here's the kicker:
DoubleClick: According to their web page, they are "the ad technology foundation to create, transact, and manage digital advertising for the world's buyers, creators and sellers." So they are an advertising agency that produces ads. And, oh yes, they're owned by Google. That same company that has potentially scads of information about you through how you search the web and youtube and images and (if you have accounts with them) possibly your e-mail, Google docs, Picasa, etc.
Getting a sense of how this all fits together?
Now maybe you don't care and you find the targeted advertising to be useful. OK, you need do nothing. But if all this attention from Google is starting to creep you out, there are a few things you can do which are discussed on the next page of the tutorial.
Say you're in a business that routinely comes up at number 11 in the Google results. Bummer. Surely there's something that can be done? Why YES! Yes there is! Just lay your money down for a little Search Engine Optimization, or SEO for short. Any number of consulting companies would be happy to help you adjust your web site and the computer code behind it to enhance your position in the Google rankings. Sort of like steroid use in professional sports, only in this case it is both expected and legal.
How does SEO work? We've already discussed some of the factors that Google uses to rank its results. Adjust those factors and you can effect your position in the rankings.
So why does this matter to you? It's a reminder that Google rankings are NOT an indicator of quality or even relevancy; they are automatically generated according to a computer formula. Mess with the input to the formula and you change the rankings. If you didn't look up Google Bombs earlier, go ahead and do it now. What strange things we learn about Chuck Norris, French Military Victories, and Microsoft!
And for goodness sake, GO BEYOND the first ten sites.