In the olden days (read: last year), broad match functionality on Google had useful but limited applications. You could buy the word "camera" and get matched with "nikon camera" or "digital camera" but it was unlikely that you’d show up on "order new camera batteries online."

Sigh. Those were the good ole’ days. These days, it seems like it doesn’t matter what sort of tail term you buy, your cleverly-researched four to five word phrase is likely to have a lot of company; company from your competitors who undoubtedly did not purchase the specific phrase you discovered, but rather have been broad-matched to your keyword.

To make matters worse, even though Google claims that your specific keyword will do better in "the auction" than your competitors’ broad match keywords (after all, the click through rate on your precise ad has got to be far higher than a broad-matched term, right?), my experience suggests that the Google algorithm no longer gives much (if any) advantage to competition between specific keywords and broad-matched keywords.

The result is that the top ten bidders for the broad-matched term frequently push the small guys trying to buy on the tail right off page one. Good news for big industry players with deep pockets, and good news for Google’s revenue. Bad news for small guys who live and die through the tail, and bad news for Google’s overall relevance and user experience.

There is one great silver lining to this situation, however. Broad matching creates some really funny paid search ads, mostly from eBay.

Without further ado, here are my top ten funny broad match search results. NOTE: some of these are a bit lewd so read with caution please:

10. "Used Kidney for Sale"

Kidney for Sale
Whatever you’re looking for
you can get it on eBay.

and the related "Used Brain for Sale"

Buy Brain
Buy brain Online.

You don’t need to go to the third world for your organs anymore . . .

9. "Indentured Servant"

Indentured Servant
Whatever you’re looking for
you can get it on eBay.

Who needs illegal immigrants when you can buy full-time help at auction?

8. "Murder Weapon"

Murder Weapon
Looking for Murder Weapon?
Find exactly what you want today.

If you don’t "buy it now", you must acquit.

7. "Find an Alibi"

Find People – Locate Anyone
Current Unlisted Number and Address
Search by Maiden/Spouse, Age, SSN.

If only Scott Peterson knew about this site.

6. "Body Odor"

Smelly Vagina?
Botanical Body Wash Cleans Fast
Kills Germs & Odors Naturally

No comment.

5. "Used Virgins"

Buy Factory Refurbished
Computers, Electronics & Tools
All Major Brands w/Factory Warranty

Seems like an oxymoron.

4. "Nuclear Weapons for Sale"

Nuclear Weapons
Looking for Nuclear Weapons?
Find exactly what you want today.

North Korea is the least of our problems – we’ve got to worry about bored kids in Orange County now too.

3. "Ass Crack"

Ass Crack
Whatever you’re looking for
you can get it on eBay.

and the related ‘Belly Button Lint"

Belly Button Lint
Whatever you’re looking for
you can get it on eBay.

And to think, all this time I’ve been throwing away that valuable lint.

2. "Jesus"

Costa Rica Property Sale
2.5 Acre Lots-Prime Locations
Ocean & Mt. Views Act Now-Free Info

He hath risen . . . to sell you oceanfront property?

1. "Kill Lawyers"

Search for a lawyer by location &
area of expertise at

Looks like someone forgot to add negative keywords to their ads!

That’s it. Wow, that’s what I call relevant paid search results!

Tags: broad matching, adwords, ebay, algorithms, tail terms

1 Comment

  1. Jeremy Mayes March 31st, 2006

    A search for “refund” always throws back some intersting ads to.

    Of course, you can “find exactly what you want today”, including a refund, at eBay.

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David Rodnitzky
David Rodnitzky is founder and CEO of 3Q Digital (formerly PPC Associates), a position he has held since the Company's inception in 2008. Prior to 3Q Digital, he held senior marketing roles at several Internet companies, including (2000-2001), FindLaw (2001-2004), Adteractive (2004-2006), and Mercantila (2007-2008). David currently serves on advisory boards for several companies, including Marin Software, MediaBoost, Mediacause, and a stealth travel start-up. David is a regular speaker at major digital marketing conferences and has contributed to numerous influential publications, including Venture Capital Journal, CNN Radio, Newsweek, Advertising Age, and NPR's Marketplace. David has a B.A. with honors from the University of Chicago and a J.D. with honors from the University of Iowa. In his spare time, David enjoys salmon fishing, hiking, spending time with his family, and watching the Iowa Hawkeyes, not necessarily in that order.