Mac ad on Vista homepage
Mac ad on Vista homepage – click for a larger screenshot

Online advertising is a tricky game. Considering recommendation and association engines are still somewhat imprecise, we often wind up with very cheekily placed ads. I recall one instance where a news article about terror threats in New York was framed by banner ads seducing us with the chance to with a free holiday to New York. Um, not exactly the match we’re looking for. Here’s another example where a news article about a fire generates ads about oil heat.

But in this case, recently discovered via digg, Apple has clearly made a deliberate move in their competitive placement of online ads. On the Windows Vista homepages of sites like CNet and PCMag we see a web-only edition of the popular ‘Mac vs PC’ ads, making use of some sort of linking technology between the banners. Have a watch.

While mudslinging isn’t exactly high-brow, and placing ads on a competitor’s site is only going to make things even worse for internet advertising, I have to hand it to Apple and probably TBWA/Chiat/Day for making use of the technology and pushing the medium one step further.

It’s so easy to pick on Vista, isn’t it. And for the record, I still hate online advertising. Luckily, this one was muted by default.