Posted by adiamondinsunlight on August 8, 2008
Rami of +961 wrote a short post earlier this week on the incongruity of seeing Lebanon-specific ads while reading Haaretz online. As a Lebanese citizen, it must be odd to see ads for “Jobs in Lebanon” (not to mention “Single Lebanese Girls”) while reading an Israeli paper – although I would argue that allowing Israelis and Arab state citizens to read one another’s press has been one of the great regional benefits that the Internet has provided.
Until recently, the Daily Star‘s online ads were similarly incongruous: any article that mentioned Israel would be accompanied by ads to visit Israel or buy Israeli goods, which was a bit jarring when the article was about cluster bombs or new settlements. Someone must have noticed however (maybe the editors, but more likely Google, since I bet those ads didn’t get many click-throughs!), since more recently the ads have stuck to safer topics like “Sexy Lebanese Girls” (its a theme with universal appeal, I guess) and “Fly to Lebanon cheap”.
I understand that these crossovers happen because online ads target customers through keywords and IP addresses, but I was still unprepared for the dramatic shift that took place in the ads I saw on Facebook. One day, I was in Lebanon, seeing ads for a “regime” that promised a 5-10 kg loss and ads for March 14 and other political organizations.
The next day I was in Brooklyn, where suddenly I was being asked to expand my wardrobe by visiting israelmilitary.com, an Israeli army surplus store selling everything from t-shirts to dog tags:
I do like shopping online, but this won’t be my new go-to site. Nor will I be spending much time on Jobshuk.com, a site that aims to “improve the financial situation of Israeli residents” by connecting Israelis in need of jobs with “Zionists worldwide”. (Shuk is the Hebrew word for “market” – and yes, its a close cousin of “souk”, the Arabic word.)
Why am I not a fan of Job Shuk? Because when it states that: “The alarming numbers of poverty, hunger, and unemployment in Israel are incongruous with the advanced, democratic, and technically advanced society which we are developing,” it isn’t referring to poverty, hunger, or unemployment among Palestinians.
Don’t get me wrong – I love many things about New York internet, not least its speed. But when it comes to advertising, I would be happy to have my Beirut IP back. Especially since half the time it put me in Lithuania.