Gee: Using a new GMail account from Google, the folks at Clickz subscribed to a few marketing-oriented e-mail newsletters. As the free e-mail service from Google includes text ads from their Adsense program, Clickz wanted to see what ads would show up. If you are a marketer who uses e-mail, you might not like what they discovered.


“Google targets ads based on the text of a message,” said a Google spokesperson. “If a message contains information about a service or product, Gmail may display a competitor’s ad. This is a benefit to users because it provides additional relevant information that enables them to make informed decisions.”

If Gmail is released more widely in its current form, the competitive environment is certain to intensify. Google recently shifted its trademark policy to allow advertisers to bid on trademarked keywords. Hypothetically, a message from Banana Republic (for example) could, simply because of its subject line, trigger ads from J. Crew, Eddie Bauer and the like.