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That site, paid for by Cain’s campaign, refutes the claims of Bialek, the first of two women to publicly accuse him of sexual harassment, and details a litany of details from Bialek’s past, likely intended to impugn her character.

A source with knowledge of the ad buy said the Cain campaign scheduled the ads to run against scandal-related terms in both desktop and mobile searches at the same time as his news conference on Tuesday was set to begin in Phoenix. Domain-registration records also show that the website was registered Tuesday.

“They understood that they were creating a press cycle, so they smartly decided to jump in and engage readers on search and adjacent to stories,” the source said.

Placing contextually targeted ads fits in with the Cain campaign's strategy of interacting with voters on their terms and getting their message out at the time that people are asking questions, said Brian Davis of Active Engagement, the digital communications firm managing Cain's online efforts.

"It's a great way to afford the campaign the opportunity to speak to a hungry audience at just the right time rather than hoping that our message will filter out through channels we can't control," Davis said.

Google’s AdSense service allows advertisers to place ads alongside the results of specific search terms. The ads are purchased through an auction, which determines the price to target any given keyword.

- This post was updated at 3:43 p.m.