Deadly Earthquake Strikes; Advertisers Slow to React

Nearly 18 hours after a deadly earthquake struck L’Aquila in Italy, a Google search for “L’Aquila” displayed sponsored links for four travel sites promoting hotel reservations and deals in the medieval Italian town.

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“Visiting L’aquila? Official L’aquila Travel Site! Find Great Air and Hotel Deals,” reads Kayak.com’s ad.

Three other reservation sites — TripAdvisor.com, Italy-Bookings.com, and Venere.com — had apparently bid on the keyword, “L’Aquila,” to appear as a sponsored link on Google. But none pulled their ads after the earthquake hit.

A click on the link for Italy-Bookings.com leads a Web site visitor to a page that reads, “page not found,” while the other sponsored links lead to landing pages promoting “hotel deals” in L’Aquila.

More than 100 people were reported dead and 1,500 injured in the region about 60 miles north of Rome.

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