free html hit counter Time to Rethink the Adwords Policy | John Battelle's Search Blog

Time to Rethink the Adwords Policy

By - April 29, 2004

yque2_1791_4403925.gifJust a thought, but when Google starts shutting down a t-shirt company’s right to advertise its politically charged wares, something feels rotten in the state of paid search. (The company is Y-Que, the controversy was first reported by boing boing).

This reminds me of the cruise line issue, but for some reason, it feels worse. This is no conspiracy, lord knows I’m not claiming Google is playing politics (I’d feel the same way if the t-shirts made fun of Democrats, and in fact they do have an “anti-Kerry” shirt), but I suggest that Google review their policy w/r/t “advocacy” and “anti-” sites, and drop the whole damn thing, leaving it up to the market and the FCC nannies to figure out what is and what is not appropriate. After all, Google essentially punted in trademarks. Why not here?


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3 thoughts on “Time to Rethink the Adwords Policy

  1. pb says:

    Isn’t it the advertisers who are concerned about where their ads are showing up?

  2. Robert S. says:

    No, pb, apparently, Google sent this guy a letter saying he needed to remove the t-shirts if he wished to continue using Ad Words.

    I keep hoping this is a hoax. I mean, if I have to allow ads on my blog which preach that being gay is reversible, why shouldn’t he be able to sell anti-Bush t-shirts?

    If I pay additional fees to Blogger–owned by Google now–I can change the ads on my blog. Otherwise, Google expects me to put up with the ads if I don’t want to pay. So if I decided to devote my blog to pro-gay issues, it would attract scads of ads telling people “the truth about homosexuality.” I know this to be true because a few weeks ago I blogged quite a bit about gay marriage and attracted these ads like flies to honey. Which is fine and fair enough, I guess, since I agreed to the terms and conditions, though seeing those ads on my blog hardly happies me.

    But the issue here isn’t the ads, it’s the site content. Is Google really willing to accept ads from groups critical of gays, but unwilling to place ads on sites critical of Bush?

    Guess it all comes down to who’s giving them the money.

    Guys at Google: What was that motto? “Do no evil”?

  3. John Gray says:

    This isn’t the first time — http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/7940912.htm?1c. The article quotes “spokeswoman” Cindy McCaffrey: “Google’s policy prohibits ads criticizing other groups or companies.” I wonder if this could be construed to apply to the anti-homosexuality ads.