Thursday, February 17, 2005

Which Adwords are Bad Words?

In the last couple of days there have been questions raised about how Google is feeding up results, and if because they give primarily to Democratic causes their business decisions will also be favorable to left leaning causes and organizations.

The following article is well worth reading in it's entirety, the quote below sets the stage for's brush with corporate censorship.

Google's Gag Order: An Internet Giant Threatens Free Speech

...Google may be playing a darker, more sinister role in American society: corporate censor. On June 15, the Google Adwords team informed me that it had discontinued all advertisements placed by due to “unacceptable content” on the site that includes “language that advocates against an individual, group or organization.”

On the 26th of July, 2004 - "The Google Adwords Team has reversed course and restored Perrspectives ads. Perrspectives, however, will not resume its Adwords ads until there is clarification as to whether the Google "advocates against" editorial standard has been revised."

Perrspectives - Google email string

There are no further updates on the Perrspectives site as to whether the Google editorial standard has been revised.

Update: The Google Adwords Terms and Conditions states:

2. ...Google and Partners may reject or remove any ad or Target for any or no reason. You may independently cancel online any campaign at any time (such cancellation is generally effective within 24 hours). Google may cancel immediately any ad, IO, the Program or these Terms at any time with notice (additional notice is not required to cancel a reactivated account). ...

This is the section of Google's Content Policy that Perrspectives was supposedly violating. Google Adwords Content Policy

Anti and Violence - Advertisements and associated websites may not promote violence or advocate against a protected group. A protected group is distinguished by their:
  • Race or ethnic origin
  • Color
  • National origin
  • Religion
  • Disability
  • Sex
  • Age
  • Veteran status
  • Sexual orientation/Gender identity

Ad text advocating against any organization or person (public, private, or protected) is not permitted. Stating disagreement with or campaigning against a candidate for public office, a political party or public administration is generally permissible.

This standard applies to everyone who wants to advertise on Google, whether we agree with their viewpoint or not.

One thing to remember, it was not the content of the ads that caused Google to pull them, it was the content of the site.