Google Denies AdWords To Deck Of Bush Creators

    May 21, 2004

A group that created a satirical deck of cards with reasons not to re-elect President Bush has been denied an AdWords campaign by Google. This isn’t the first time that a company that has been critical of the current President has been denied use of AdWords.

The creators of the deck in question has their own website which printed the dialogue between themselves and Google when they were denied ad services. The reason Google cites for this denial is that the content was unacceptable:

“At this time, Google policy does not permit the advertisement of websites that contain language that advocates against an individual, group, or organization’. As noted in our advertising terms and conditions, we reserve the right to exercise editorial discretion when it comes to the advertising we accept on our site.”

Deck of Bush co-creator Jerry Vasilatos had a myriad of responses to Google’s decision:

“Now I know how Howard Stern feels. The hypocrisy regarding their definition that they do not permit the advertisement of websites containing language that advocates against an individual, group, or organization’ is completely contradictory, because they are allowing ad campaigns for products and items supportive of President Bush as well as items critical of Senator John Kerry.”

A search for Senator Kerry found only supportive AdWord ads appearing. Although, the ads also featured a site that was selling “Bush You’re Fired” bumper stickers. Can this be considered hypocritical on Google’s part?

“We made our case requesting an explanation as to why Google allowed other campaigns that violated their definitions above, yet received a typical form-mail response.” Vasilatos continues. “How could we possibly promote our website without the use of these keywords to drive traffic to our site when our content is directly related to President Bush? Either there’s a flaw in the editorial process or someone at Google doesn’t want to drive traffic to our site in a sponsored link we are willing to pay for. We’ve also submitted our URL several times to Google and our site will not come up while others meeting the same criteria supportive of President Bush and his policies do.”

Google has enforced this policy before. The search engine pulled ads for Oceana, which took cruise lines to task for their pollution policies, as well as pulling ads from a politically satirical tshirt company. Y-Que, a company located in Southern California, sells shirts that are critical of the President and other candidates. Because Google found the company’s content questionable, Y-Que had their ads pulled.

The ads that Google has pulled have all had something in common: they “advocate against a group”. However, I fail to see how Google can justify using ads that say “Bush You’re Fired” on them, but in the same stroke, pull other ads with similar content because they found the product objectionable, and/or it criticized an organization.

Because of the “Bush You’re Fired” ads, it almost seems as if Google is picking and choosing who it will let advertise, instead of following their content guidelines. Or is it, as long as you are not too critical (Bush You’re Fired is fairly tame), Google will allow you to use its AdWords program?

[Update]: The first search for John Kerry was conducted before 1pm EST. The latest search, conducted at 2:30 EST found only the “Bush You’re Fired” AdWords ad remaining.

Chris Richardson is a search engine writer and editor for WebProNews. Visit WebProNews for the latest search news.