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Search Engines Not Required to Run All Ads
Brett_Tabke




msg:3265641
 5:43 pm on Feb 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

[marketwatch.com...]

Stephen Langdon, a Winter Park, Fla., resident who operates www.ncjusticefraud.com, which purports to expose fraud by North Carolina government officials, and www.chinaisevil.com, which is meant to highlight alleged atrocities committed by the Chinese government.

...ruled that when it comes to advertising, search engines are not bound by the First Amendment's free-speech guarantees. Based on that, the judge then ruled that search engines do indeed have a right to filter what each deems to be objectionable content.


 

carguy84




msg:3265684
 6:15 pm on Feb 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

I'd think since it's their house and their rules, they can pretty much deny any ad they want to, no?

Receptional




msg:3265690
 6:19 pm on Feb 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

Seems logocal to me. Otherwise an accountancy search engine (or directory) could be sued for not listing a shoe shop. That would be absurd.

Then again - it's not my constitution.

jomaxx




msg:3265724
 6:41 pm on Feb 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

This makes perfect sense as long as they have policies (which they do) and are sticking to them. They'd probably get into trouble if they tried to wing it and make a judgment call on a case-by-case basis.

caveman




msg:3265726
 6:41 pm on Feb 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

I personally think it is a good decision.

Media companies are private companies. It is a long-held tradition that a print magazine, for example, is allowed to be selective, so that burger ads don't run inside of high end fashion content. Ads are a part of the fabric of the medium and of each media vehicle, and the seller should have the right to choose what ads it accepts. Perhaps more relevant, ads are part of a commerical exchange that involves a buyer and seller, with both parties seeking to make a profit from their endeavors. This has nothing to do with free speech.

This case, OTOH, is quite different to the questions about whether the SE's should censor listings out of their organic SERP's. The bar for censorship should be (and is) much, much higher in that arena. Though personally, I don't think it's high enough, given the arbitrary nauture of some of the decisions from the major SE's WRT listings they are unwilling to display, relating to both content and region.

cymbal




msg:3265760
 7:16 pm on Feb 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

I'm not constitutional scholar, but doesn't the first amendment keep the Government from preventing free speach? I don't think it applies to individuals or business.

MatthewHSE




msg:3265763
 7:20 pm on Feb 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

Cymbal is correct. By the same token, I'm perfectly within my rights to prohibit certain words and topics from being used on my forums.

Robert Charlton




msg:3265780
 7:48 pm on Feb 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

...when it comes to advertising, search engines are not bound by the First Amendment's free-speech guarantees.

I agree with the decision to a point, but some aspects of this that might limit advocacy on the web make me uneasy.

To cite some parallels in other media... Suppose all TV networks decided not to run campaign ads for the party not in power. Advocacy ads in newspapers have from time to time been a significant part of political reform.

Any constitutional lawyers around to tell us how that line is drawn?

macdave




msg:3265801
 8:06 pm on Feb 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

To cite some parallels in other media... Suppose all TV networks decided not to run campaign ads for the party not in power.

There is a sizable body of law regulating political speech, including equal time provisions for political advertising.

hutcheson




msg:3265819
 8:18 pm on Feb 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

>Suppose all TV networks decided not to run campaign ads for the party not in power.

No need to suppose. Just try to sell a right-to-life ad to your local station.

europeforvisitors




msg:3266126
 1:54 am on Feb 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

The First Amendment has never required anyone (including television stations) to run ads for political parties, organizations, or points of view.

The First Amendment has never required TV stations or networks to grant "equal time," either.

Restrictions on advertising, the now-defunct "equal time" provision, etc. have been the result of specific laws, not of the First Amendment. (Indeed, one could argue that at least some of those laws have been in conflict with the First Amendment.)

inactivist




msg:3266277
 3:59 am on Feb 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

First amendment is clearly a restriction/limitation on government powers. Google, despite all their power, is not the government.

jo1ene




msg:3266311
 4:52 am on Feb 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

...doesn't the first amendment keep the Government from preventing free speach?

First amendment is clearly a restriction/limitation on government powers.

Exactly!

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