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AdWords Ad Rejection

     
4:22 pm on Mar 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

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We've been hearing from quite a few folks that have had ads rejected. Here's an interesting one on the rejection of fire arms related ads:
[freerepublic.com...]
4:44 pm on Mar 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

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16.Google Cancellation or Termination. Notwithstanding anything contained in this Agreement to the contrary, Google may, in its sole discretion, terminate or discontinue the AdWords Program at any time, terminate your AdWords Program account, discontinue your participation in the AdWords Program, cancel your Advertisements, or cancel your use of any Target. Google may exercise its discretion to so terminate, discontinue, or cancel, as provided for above, for any reason including, but not limited to, if Google believes that you violated the terms of this Agreement or if Google believes your conduct is harmful to Google or others. You acknowledge and agree that all decisions made by Google in this matter will be final and Google shall have no liability with respect to such decisions. Google will notify you of cancellation of any of your Advertisements or of termination of your AdWords Program account via email and any such cancellation or termination shall be effective on the date Google sends such notice.

Term & Conditions [adwords.google.com]

5:05 pm on Mar 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Mike,

I think the difference on this one is that it is being e-mailed all over the country.

I would watch this one very close.

Another major computer company tried a similar thing and got creamed.

I don't have a 'dog in this race' so to speak, but I've seen the results of such...and it ain't pretty.

5:37 pm on Mar 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Soon you'll see them PhDs diggin' trenches around the Googleplex... ;)

Google is not selling consumer goods to the general public like Dell. I don't think they have to worry about this kind of pressure very much.

5:42 pm on Mar 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Bottom line...

It's their Search Engine, not yours! When they go IPO, then it may be a different story. Right now, they can do whatever they want.

They've been kind enough to allow us to use it and advertise on it as long as our advertising falls within their guidelines.

I know if I owned a search engine and offered paid advertising, I'd want to be real careful about allowing anything that could be misconstrued as distasteful especially in today's political climate since 911.

Oh, I did read all the rant posted at the links provided and this will have an impact on Google. Legality wise, they've got their bases covered in the T & C's as Mike posted. I know the gun community is very strong and when they voice their opinions, the public listens sooner or later!

6:26 pm on Mar 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Given the microscope that se advertising is currently under, I think it's an issue worth watching. The specifics don't matter to me - just the issue.
7:11 pm on Mar 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

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I think that the stance that Google are taking is completely justified, no organisation HAS to take advertisements from one organisation because they take Ads from another.

At least if they take a stand on some ads, they have the opportunity to stop any advertisement if someone claims that it is illegal to run a particular ad in their country.

Remember Google.com is delivered across the world, different countries have different laws on many products.

8:08 pm on Mar 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

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I don't see any gun ads over at free republic.

The long arm of liability stretches very far in regards to the gun issue.

8:22 pm on Mar 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

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I think Brett nailed it. It's the issue that needs watching.

I've seen the results of an e-mail campaign at FR. They are 'mover-and-shakers'. Almost scary.

Yep, that's me defending Google.

9:32 pm on Mar 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Seems to me the issue is this: Can Company A have a policy against doing ANY business at all with another company that engages in some practice. Well, why not?

The constitutional language being tossed about on the web page is a red herring, IMO. Laws must be constitutional but company policies are not laws -- and they can be far more restrictive.

9:42 pm on Mar 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

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The issue to me is: what content is Google blocking in advertisements?
On one hand, we have heard of them blocking firearms, cloaking, and search engine promotion ads.
On the other we still have them running "bodysolutions" ads (although it is now down to 1 and that 1 is a direct comparison ad).
10:33 pm on Mar 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

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I can think of some obvious areas where ads may be blocked.

Illegal substances (I could see some Amsterdam cafes having problems getting their ads run - also I would think that alcohol ads may be dubious, given its legality in the muslim countries)

Fringe Political and religious organisations. (It might be interesting to try running a Sinn Fein ad)

Abortion clinics and other medical practices which aren't clearly acceptable across communities.

Military hardware in all forms.

I think the problem that Google has is that its ads aren't hand moderated, they are automatically set-up. My guess is that Google may withdraw ads when they get a complaint, in which case they are treading some very dodgy ground indeed.

10:40 pm on Mar 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Countries should not be the problem - Google has become the world champion of redirecting users - they redirect you with rigorosity to where you belong, like Folks from Iceland to Italy...

erm..sorry for sidetracking

10:59 pm on Mar 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Countries are the problem, with the automated adwords, an advertiser can specify where they want the ads to run.

I could quite happily specify a campaign for Duff Beer to go to Saudi or any other illegal combination.

Google's automation then has the problem of tracking that problem ad.

Hmm that gives me an idea ;)

5:13 am on Mar 11, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Seems Google is refusing to sell adwords to businesses they disagree with. Since Bowman's Grigade [bowmansbrigade.com] sells gun parts -- not guns, mind you, gun parts -- Google has elected not to sell any adwords to them, even in unrelated categories. As the site owner says on the link above in an e-mail to Google,

I don't sell firearms!!!! Don't you get it? You have banned ALL of my ads because I sell pistol barrels - a perfectly legal and totally unrestricted part sold to anyone! Even a child can buy one of these as there is no law saying otherwise. Nothing I sell has any restrictions to US citizens! None! My other ads banned were dehydrated food! What in the hell is threatening about this? You also banned by night vision ad, but you have other night vision advertisers - are you going to ban them too? Trust me, I'll find out!

As the discussion writup on Plastic [plastic.com] observed, some legally questionable search terms bring up Adwords, so what's the deal, Google?
5:54 am on Mar 11, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Yes, Google has the right to pick and choose and so do I. I chose to cancel my adwords program.

Google allows pornography but disallows freeze dried food. Thats a hard one to make people swallow (sorry for the pun).

Word is, there are anti-gun fanatics high up on the Google corporate ladder. This issue will continue to haunt them...

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A red neck, gun toting, animals hanging from the walls, Southern boy.

6:21 pm on Mar 11, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Google certainly does have the right to pick and choose its advertisers. And the NRA also has the right to organize and promote a Google boycot to all its members. That is simply the American free-market system at work.

However, I think the inconsistancies in the editorial decisions Google makes is a problem for them. Operating a self serve ad system that does not envolve any editorial review before an ad goes live creates a sitiuation where it becomes impossible to back up policies. As I write this, Google is running Adwords for the terms firearms, fire arms, ammunition, and gun ammunition.

Another issue they have a problem with is the different policies they apply between AdWords and Premium Sponsorships.

Brett mentioned that Google won't sell and AdWord for the word cloaking. But Google will sell Premium Sponsorships for the term search engine optimization to high-profile cloaking companies. To me, that paints a picture of a company that is willing to take a moral stance on an issue, as long as it doesn't cost them any significant revenue.

If they are going to establish polices that set restrictions on certain type of advertising, then they need to put their money where their mouth is and develop policies that are enforced across the board. Otherwise, they will begin to loose credibility.

7:56 pm on Mar 11, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Interesting.

I believe all companies have the right to pick and choose who they do business with, and I believe in some form of gun control.

It isn't, however, that these ads would be shown to those not looking for guns (and yes I see that some have nothing to do with guns at all).

If the ads are on target, I don't really see the harm in taking ads for it. Seems like you'd be shooting yourself in the foot.

Perhaps google has some type of moral stance against it - which is fine I suppose. They don't want to profit off of guns.

On the plus side - it does seem as the google really is one of the hold outs in the profiteering of the internet. They haven't sold out - and with their strong policy statements recently - things look good for the immediate future.

THeir new ad compaign is just going to have them face issues they naver have before. Google does things differently, and some people aren't going to like it.

8:18 pm on Mar 11, 2002 (gmt 0)

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well i dont sell guns, nor do any of my clients, so ... if i ban guns, maybe the gun-toting mob will throw a fit about my ban too ... hell, the publicity could be worth a fortune to me ...
1:44 am on Mar 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Regarding Google banning ads for cloaking, here's what they wrote us after shutting down our cloaking software campaign (AdWords standard program):

Google believes strongly in freedom of expression and therefore offers broad access to content across the web without censoring results. At the same time, we reserve the right to exercise editorial discretion when it comes to the advertising we accept on our site, as noted in our advertising terms and conditions. Please note that the decisions we make concerning advertising in no way affect the search results we deliver. We will continue to show search results for "cloaking" and related products.

Beats me where that sanctimonious piece about "believing strongly in freedom of expression" is supposed to fit in.

So they don't like cloaking, big surprise. However, that campaign had been running since since August last year (2001-08-03, to be exact), plus a second tier commencing 2002-01-22. It was taken down on 2002-02-19 - that's a mere 6 months after the event, duh.

Oh yes, and they didn't have any qualms about taking us on for $595.20 until they pulled the plug ...

But the fun goes on: during February, we had signed up for their AdWords Select program (then in beta), too. When they stopped the regular AdWords campaign, the cloaking ads in the Select program were displayed for another day and a half. After which they stopped displaying any ad of ours, even those not mentioning cloaking or ip delivery but focused on our spider ip database. (Which, of course, can be used for cloaking but for a number of other things like stats analysis, etc. as well.)

Then, yesterday, those non-cloaking Select ads started to reappear again out of the blue. (We'd disabled the regular campaigns in the meantime.) Go figure.

Not that any of this is really worth the hassle: the Select campaign has generated exactly $0.50 in click-thrus to date, and sales conversion during all campaigns have been exactly 0.00.

 

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