Rebecca Lieb at ClickZ says that AdSense is acting like Gator because of AdSense showing up on merchant sites attempting to pull away customers from buying on that particular site. However, the example she gives doesn’t make any sense. While shopping for cordless phone batteries, this was her experience:
The first result I click (a paid search advertiser), had obviously drunk the Google Kool-Aid, given AdSense ads occupied the bulk of his site’s real estate. And what are those ads touting? Why, batteries, of course — the only product this particular merchant sells.
This did occur with the old Gator/Claria, except this was not controlled by the actual merchant. Spyware, toolbars and other sneaky ad platforms being installed caused the Gator ads to display. This is just an example of an idiotic merchant who doesn’t know how to filter ads and who didn’t think too much about why they were putting ads on their site in the first place. Conversion specialists would have a meltdown with this kind of thing. The only thing this type of site is trying to do is sell merchandise. Giving potential customers the option of going elsewhere to look is obviously not the best idea.
Maybe when AdSense starts popping up everywhere from having the Google Toolbar installed, then we can start talking about the Gator/Claria comparison.