Google: No Sponsored Links for Don Imus?

3667509947.jpegCNBC invited me on last night to discuss the Don Imus brouhaha. I was at Search Engine Strategies when they called, where someone pointed out that yesterday, shortly after Imus was fired from CBS for his very reprehensible remark, all the sponsored links disappeared from Google’s results page for a “don imus” search.

Yahoo and MSN were still running paid ads yesterday.

Today, ads are running on Google again for a search against the unemployed DJ’s name, but only two. Houghton Mifflin is promoting a book, “The N Word,” by Jabari Asim. AOL property TMZ.com’s ads point to ongoing coverage of the story.

Both the above ads can only be post-scandal media buys. MSN and Yahoo, in contrast, are running a grab-bag of legacy paid search ads that link to eBay, Shopzilla, www.bearadiohost.com, and trivia quizzes.

Haven’t had a chance to verify this, but it certainly appears as if Google took a rapid and decisive step to un-associate their advertisers from the search term in the wake of the firing (and advertisers such as Verizon and American Express dropping their sponsorship of the show). Yahoo and MSN didn’t do anything.

Who was right? I’d love feedback from anyone whose ad was turned off by Google.

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