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Google's system for placing ads on other websites, AdSense, is experiencing a significant bug at exactly the wrong time. Microsoft has dominated media coverage all week with its investment in Facebook, with the promise of precisely targeted ads. Meanwhile, the search giant has been toiling since last Friday to resolve errors in how AdSense reports ad "channel" data since Friday. ("Channels" allow publishers who run AdSense to track ad performance in detail.) Google's silence has done little to assuage the complaints of AdSense users. Google's only comment came on Monday from the quasi-anonymous "AdSense Advisor":

Our engineers are aware of this aggregate/channels reporting discrepancy and are working on resolving it as quickly as they can. I'll let you know when I know more. Sorry for any confusion.

In other words, Google can't say what's wrong and won't say when it will be fixed. And users don't know if the data will be fixed retroactively. Wall-to-wall media coverage of the Facebook-Microsoft deal means the flaw has drawn little note. But you can bet Google's publishers — the ones Microsoft hopes to lure away — are paying attention. (Photo by Marlin E. Rice)