Tourism NT Politically Incorrect or Incompetent?

I came across this by accident when misspelling an acronym and I was quite shocked.

Not only have Tourism NT approved and are bidding on a racially offensive keyword, they are actually including the word 'abo' in an advertisement. It appears thanks to Google's dynamic keyword insertion.

screen shot from http://www.google.com.au/search?q=abo (May 10th)

My initial reaction is to blame it on incompetence. Sure, Aboriginal culture represents massive opportunity for Tourism NT and it's clearly a focus for them but I still think this is inexcusable.

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

Looks more like they've been done in by an abbreviation filter to me. Maybe they didn't explicitly bid on 'abo'.

Anonymous said...

What is wrong with the term "Abo", surely it is just an abbreviation or shortened term for Aboriginal? Are Australians so sensitive or so politically correct that they can't shorten the word Aboriginal, whilst they seem to shorten every other word?

Stumblerum said...

More likely it was laziness. I'd say that the adwords manager used some keyword research tool that turned up the term as a synonym or other related term. A quick copy and paste later and you have your ad.

Anonymous said...

I really can't see what's wrong with that and what's the big deal.
I thought it's the aussie culture to shorten words like barbie, oz etc. If OZ, Aussie can short for Australia. Why can't Abo short for Aboriginal.
Some people will go to the extreme to make such a fuss.

Anonymous said...

Abo can't 'just be short for Aboriginal' because indigenous australians find it offensive.

Anonymous said...

Shocking! Offensive! Google's keyword tool is teh racist!!!11!! OMG Australia shame on you!! We need another sorry day for this or it'll be an international scandal like tha cronulla riotz where some people almost got hurt by 13 year old Aryan supremacist surf Nazis from hell!!!!

Soup Nazi Hunter said...

My offence meter is going off the charts! Someone call a doctor! Have we learnt nothing from Hey Hey-gate? I'd hate to see the offensive keywords paid for by Tourism Western Sydney?!!! Lebo? Vietmo? Bogano? Shame on you Australia and your racist history/present/future algorythyms!!

Anonymous said...

Aboriginals find it offensive? or the people that knew one once that STAND UP FOR THEIR RIGHTS find it offensive??

I cannot see 1 thing wrong with the ad...

Stop the world before Political Correctness makes it illegal to leave your house.

Anonymous said...

Please tell me this is just some tool trying to become famous over nothing...??

With crap pathetic work like this he will be working for Today Affairs or Current Tonight within hours

Anonymous said...

Non-story....

digitaloz.com.au said...

It's interesting to see the complete opposing views of many on this.

Some people actually appear to be in support of what happened. Interestingly, they all sign their names as anonymous...

I simply highlighted this as a marketing oversight by Tourism NT, and it's an oversight that is not only offensive to many but also highlights the inadequacies of relying on automated tools.

If this was another medium, I bet there would be a witch hunt. While I don't condone that I do think this warrants industry discussion.

Anonymous said...

What abbreviation were you exactly searching for to find "ABO"?

Also why are you blogging about relationships on a so called "industry blog"

Anonymous said...

Good pickup...Next Digital !

Gerhard said...

Nicholson is nothing but a petty wanker who is looking for his 15 mins of fame to alleviate his dull insignificant and non-entity of a life..
if abo is deemed offensive, then why not aboriginal???? i have never heard any aboriginals complain about the use of the word only silly arse white do-gooder/bleeding hearts who have nothing better to do than whine

get a life, nobody cares except you...

Stu said...

@ Gerhard
Not sure what Aboriginals you've been speaking to, but just go to Eveleigh Street Redfern, tell the Aboriginal people what you think about this and then ask them what they think.
Then when you get out of hospital in 6 months time, tell us what happened and see if anyone except you cares.

James durhie said...

Amazing coincidence that those with the strongest opinions/objections also seem to lack identities. Spineless.

Gumerungi Steve said...

Good spotting Digital OZ.
Even though it is an abreviation, the term became the Australian equivalent of the N word, & yes, some (IMO-not many) Indigenous Aussies even find 'Aboriginal' or 'Indigenous' offensive because it generalises as well & may devalue their distinct tribal heritage.
As an Aboriginal man, I congratulate Tourism NT for correcting this error, just need to work on some of the racist backpacker workers now...

Anonymous said...

Newspapers know enough about online marketing and Google algorithms to have been able to pick this boring technical issue for what it was. Predictably, they chose to push on and let a good headline get in the way of the truth.

Now every indigenous Australian who checks their email or picks up a newspaper today will have to think about racism again, just because last night’s dreary budget launch produced a slow news day. What a waste.

If anything, this post from Nicholson has merely highlighted his ignorance of Google, resorting to sensationalism when on reflection it’s easy to see how Tourism NT are innocent in all this, and it’s simply a side effect of Google’s relationship engine. How someone from Next Digital could be so oblivious to such matters is beyond me. From a commercial perspective, I think the whole event has been more damaging to his media organisation than it has to Tourism NT.

inspiredworlds said...

Not sure what planet you are from, but Abo is racist. You may not find it offensive (yes you anonymous people), but Aboriginals do.

I think it is an an easy mistake to make if you use an automated process for finding similar keywords.

It is a lesson for those involved that they need to review the keywords more carefully. I'm not sure how you would do it if you have thousands of keywords that you are bidding on, but some form of human review or words you can exclude from an automated process might be helpful.

digitaloz.com.au said...

@Stu @inspiredworlds @JamesDuthie I couldn't agree with you more.

Yes, this has been reported rather sensationally in the media, and has received some sensationalist responses. It doesn't change the fact that the end result is offensive to many and some simple negative keyword research should have prevented it from happening.

@Gumerungi Steve really good to read your personal perspective on it. As a wider issue, this shows there is still plenty of work to be done yet.

Congrats to Tourism NT taking it seriously and acting fast on it.

Brett.

Gerhard said...

@ Stu...well matey, i grew up in a typical working class area in the southside of brisbane with a substantial "abo" minority...and never a problem with the uttering of the word "abo" i guess i underestimated the amount of people who give a hoot about this subject, yea read sarcasm, whats the bet your'e just another insignificant and utterly boring white do-gooder/bleeding heart as well? majority of people are over this political correctness bullshit-open your eyes and read the user comments on countless stories that are similiar to this crap reported by some clown...Remember when Hagan whined about the "Coon" branded cheese? what a joke.. get a life idiots, or better yet get a proper job, sounds like u both have too much time on ya hands...

caravan parks perth said...

Sometimes shortened words are the ones mostly used by searchers.

kimberley accommodation said...

I'm glad that the tourism body has already apologized over the gaffe. I hope that other tourism bodies will be extra careful in choosing ad words.