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Taken Out of Context?

You might be part of a contextual ad program without even knowing it.

This story appears in the June 2004 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Are you investing in on such as or Overture? If so, your paid listings might appear on other Web sites-but not on their search results page, and not for the keywords you bid on. Your ads may appear on site content pages deemed relevant to your ads.

A few search engines automatically enroll their keyword search advertisers in a "contextual advertising" program. Let's say you're bidding on keywords related to the phrase "dog collar," and you reference this phrase in your ad listing copy. Your listing may appear on the dog page of "Ads by Google"), a publisher of Google's contextual advertising program.

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