Disney, AdMob We’ve Got A Problem. Why are you Targeting Adult-oriented Ads to my 3 year-old via the Disney Up app for Android?

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As the parents of a six-year-old and three-year-old, my wife and I have realized the usefulness of an iPhone, an iPod touch, or my wife’s new Samsung Captivate, when our children are restless and irritable while waiting for food in a restaurant. We closely monitor their total screen time, so we gladly use our various smartphones for selective distractions with no parental guilt whatsoever.

However, after my wife recently downloaded the UP Jigsaw Puzzle Android game, a game based on the recent hit Pixar movie UP, we were both surprised that Disney and AdMob were delivering ads for Flirtomatic to our 3-year-old via the app.

Here’s the explanation of Flirtomatic direct from their website. “Flirtomatic is basically a great way to meet and flirt with strangers.” Hmmm.

My 3-year-old son isn’t above smiling or waving at fellow toddlers. But I seriously doubt he’s in the market for a flirting website.

But more importantly, a website that he’s not even allowed to use. Again, straight from Flirtomatic’s website, “Anybody over the age of 18 can be on Flirtomatic. If you’re under 18, we’re sorry. Hang in there and come back when we’re ready for you.”

Okay, I’ve heard of long sales cycles, but a 15-year sales cycle for a flirting website is a bit extreme isn’t it? What’s the deal here?

Can AdMob’s technology – which is owned by Google – truly not identify that they’re serving inappropriate ads to an Android app expressly designed and marketed to kids? How many over-18-year-olds are downloading and playing Pixar’s UP game on their Android device? Not many, I’d reckon.

Sure, mobile targeted ads are in their relative infancy – or toddlerhood – but AdMob you certainly do a better job of targeting than this.

Note: sorry for the crappy quality of the photo of the UP puzzle game with the Flirtomatic ad. The procedure to take a screenshot of an Android phone requires a Ph.D. in computer science, which I unfortunately don’t have.

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