Google Accused of (But Denies) Giving Obama Special Ad Access

Google blames inaccurate "puffery" from sales rep for causing confusion

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Google Accused of (But Denies) Giving Obama Special Ad Access
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A bit of political controversy has erupted around Google and an Obama ad that recently ran. Long story short: The National Republican Senatorial Committee has suspicions that Google gave the Obama campaign a special deal on a new type of ad (Cost-per-lead), which the company is currently testing. Google denies this notion, and that the ad in question was even a Google ad.

Do you believe Google? Let us know in the comments.

Politico ran an interesting article about unconfirmed and denied suspicions that Google had given President Obama a special deal on an as-of-yet released advertising product. The publication reports that a staffer at the National Republican Senatorial Committee saw “what appeared to be an Obama ad built on this technology” at the site RealClearPolitics last month, and then emailed Google asking about running the same kind of ad for Republicans.

The Google saleswoman reportedly replied, “This is a pre-alpha product that is being released to a select few clients. I’d be happy to get you into the beta if you’re interested.” Politico then quotes the NRSC communications director as saying that this “raises some red flags that the Obama campaign appears to have been given special access to a new online advertising product.”

The article quotes Google spokesman Jake Parrilo as saying that the email contained inaccurate “puffery” by the sales rep, and that the ad that appeared on RealClearPolitics wasn’t even a Google ad. Google has chalked the whole thing up as a “mistake” by the rep.

Fox News says: “Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt told FoxNews.com that the Obama campaign did not purchase any of the ‘cost-per-lead’ ads through Google. Google’s press office also denied that the president’s reelection effort got any early deal, considering the ‘cost-per-lead” program has not even been rolled out yet.'”

Parrilo is also quoted as saying, “This is an experiment and while we generally do not comment on those experiments we can tell you that we have not sold a single CPL [cost-per-lead] ad unit to any political candidates or committees.”

So, by Google’s account, the ad the NRSC is talking about wasn’t even their ad, and the kind of ad they’re talking about has not been sold to any political candidates. As you might imagine, there are plenty of people chiming in in the comments of Politico’s report. Here are a few:

“Google is all about control and knowing every inch of your life and so is the Obama administration. They make a perfect fit IF that’s what you want your life to be.”

“Notice the key words in their denials. They claim Obama hasn’t paid for the service and Obama claims he hasn’t paid them for a service. It was most likely given to him for free. So technically they’re telling the truth.”

“If this turns out to be true…..a deal between Obama and Google, I will immediately eject Google from my computers.”

“I Bing…I don’t use Chrome.”

Google’s history with the Obama administration draws plenty of scrutiny from onlookers. Former CEO and current executive chairman Eric Schmidt is a well known Obama supporter, and was named to Obama’s Science and Technology advisory council. In late 2008 alone, it was reported that six Google execs had donated $25,000 a piece to fund Obama’s swearing-in party. That includes Dick Costolo, who is now CEO of Twitter, by the way.

NRSC spokesman Brian Walsh told FoxNews.com that Google has reached out to the committee. Walsh reportedly told the site in an email, “They claim this was a misunderstanding. We are currently examining that but certainly the appearance raises a red flag when you consider that Google executives have contributed almost a million dollars to President Obama’s political campaigns.”

In a 2008 post on Google’s Public Policy Blog addressing the company’s political advertising policies, Peter Greenberger wrote, “We permit political advertisements regardless of the political views they represent, and apply our policies equally. Just as the Net itself provides space for a thousand political opinions to bloom, Google is committed to being a neutral platform for people to advertise their political messages.”

An interesting side story here is that Google has separate ad teams that run Republican and Democratic campaigns. These teams, Politico says it was told by Parrillo, are unaware of the other side’s projects or deals. Google spokesperson Rob Shilkin also told Search Engine Land, “As our clients know, when we experiment with new products like this, our sales teams always has, and always will, offer the exact same opportunity to both sides of politics, at the same time. Our Democratic and Republican sales teams are strictly separated from each other and are charged with offering the absolutely best online ad solution for their respective clients.”

Is this being blown out of proportion, or do you think there are legitimate “red flags” being raised? Tell us what you think.

Google Accused of (But Denies) Giving Obama Special Ad Access
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  • http://www.roiunlimited.com/mycashforums matt

    yes I believe it google does as they Please they make there own rules which is sad they should not give anyone special treatment

    • leigh

      It is sad but so true. I don’t know what to believe anymore. Th

      • Drew

        Google needs to be treated like Microsoft.
        Break them up from the anti-trust laws of monopolizing.

  • Yvonne Finn

    I am amazed that you really believe that this would not be true, especially with regards to all the stuff that Google is now doing online.
    Their power is becoming unlimited and we who are IM’s just have to jump through the hoops as Google presents them.
    Of course they would try to make inroads into the “seat of power!”
    We need to open our eyes and resort to our own critical thinking rather than living and operating as lemmings or lambs to the slaughter.
    Google has “bigger intentions!”

    • Drew

      You are absolutely correct … something really smells bad.

  • http://www.salescustomer.com Sales customer

    I believe Google has right to offer anyone their services at free or discounted rate.


    • Bobie

      Read the Law. You are wrong.

    • Drew

      uh oh, a spamming advertiser.

  • http://www.lots0cash.com lots0

    Political Nitpicking is what I call it.

    And it is getting real old… Throw out ALL the bums in political office… not a single one of them deserve to be reelected.

    Wail I’m at it, lets do away with Congress… we don’t need them anymore. We have the technology to have direct votes by the people… TRUE DEMOCRACY.

    Lets get rid of these radical corrupt sexual deviants that seem to flock to the US Congress.

    • Dick Johnson


  • Danea

    Google is lying! They work with the government….no doubt Obama gets special deals.

    • Drew

      Stinks to high heaven, doesn’t it?

  • Pamela Harper

    You are in the tank for Obama. You & the lame stream media have helped in taking this country down. Shame on you….God bless America, or what’s left of it!

  • http://www.delishibusiness.com Arwen Taylor

    Yet another non-issue clogging up the media with fake outrage. I’m so sick of the political climate we live in today. Whatever happened to creating jobs for the American people who are being thrown out of their illegally foreclosed homes? Are we ever going to get to that? Anyone? Bueller?

  • http://productsdirect.asia Frankie Bishop

    - This is why people must use browser adblocks. No Google ads,facebook ads, political ads, porno ads…nada. Just straight up content. Plus your pages load faster. Don’t give your money to politicians, give them to adblock developers…

    • Frank

      I do, screw the ad’s

  • laura stevens

    This is a non-issue. Google runs dozens of experiments constantly. Once and if a product is released Google will take cash from anyone who pays. The readers who are angry enough to remove Google from their computers need to stop hating the other party and turn that passion into something constructive. Go volunteer somewhere and make a positive change, this misplaced hatred at the normal political process is an embarrassment to our country.

  • Lee

    I agree with an earlier comment ” Obama and Google have the same goal…. to control the world ” What is required to accompish this is of no concern to them but should be to us!

    As always, find the truth by following the money and watching the actions.

    I use Google on only one of my computers as a test to see if who comes nocking?

  • ty urus

    i don’t believe anything google says or for that matter anything the obama mafia puts out. i do believe however that the “kids” grom google and facebook will be in bed down and dirty to get obama re-elected. what for?> i don’t know. obama is a disaster when it comes to “reality” his stimulus was a joke to my business and my clients. did nothing maybe made things worse.

    • John

      You mean Bush’s stimulus package? He set it up and Obama simply followed along.

  • Doreyne Douglas

    Everyone knows that Google leans left and donates to the Obama campaign. Google uses this astute word smithing “we can tell you that we have not sold a single CPL [cost-per-lead] ad unit to any political candidates or committees.” I’m sure that’s true. But what it means is that they gave it to the Obama campaign free of charge. The American people have been manipulated by the left leaning press and corporations like Google for so long, it’s hard to see how that is ever going to change. I, for one, am tired of being fed the news they want to feed me. If you own the news, you own the world. People, we have to do something. There’s a saying … “if you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.” That’s why I’m convinced it’s time to elect a non-politician to our highest office. Someone who wasn’t bought and paid for before entering office. A straight shooter with business skills who can get our country back on track. I was desperate enough to vote for Donald Trump, even with his checkered background. Now Herman Cain is out there. Put him in a Sesame Street line-up with the other candidates and play “Which of These Things is Not Like the Other” … you’ll pick Herman Cain. Good luck to us all next fall!

    • Dick Johnson

      Herman looks like another hard right schmuck, dressed up as a cute old Uncle Tom. There is nothing new nor innovative in his policies. Donald Trump is a corrupt, disgusting man, a trust funder, failure as a businessman (bailed out by his father) and the fact that you would support a conspiracy theorist for the highest position on the country says much about you.

  • Angel

    No, I do not believe Google, especially since they just got back from bilderberg meeting together.

  • http://www.mylogo.isgreat.org/index.php?p=1_22_Facebook-Marketing-and-Promotion facebook marketing guru

    I like the way webpronews chooses its headlines. I havent opened so many newsletters from any other publishers indeed. Always sizzling, hot, controversial (!) topics presented with delicious spices :P yammy!

    Yeah, I am a dissatisfied customer of Googles adwords. I often found them to be so confused about their own policies.

  • bstaud@gmail.com

    Get a Life.

  • Jim Thomasson

    I see support growing for Herman — it’s a good feeling!

    • Drew

      Yeah, lets try a different black man
      One that actually created jobs – once before :)

  • http://www.gestaltdigital.com DG

    Well, it wouldn’t surprise me, BUT, I’m not really seeing any evidence. The political machines on both sides are rabid about these things, so it brings up a few questions.
    If they suspected the ad was was described, why didn’t they get a screen shot?
    It’s the easiest technology in the world, did somebody just forget? Where is the ad in question?

    Why aren’t there any excerpts from the sales email?
    I looked on the NSRC site, the Politico site and Fox. The only reason I can think of to leave it out is if it doesn’t actually support the over-all accusation.

    There are other questions too, but this is really just an accusation with no evidence, no smoking gun, no body. However, it is easy to believe and gets people riled up, so it makes a great news story and will sell ads for the media who run it.

  • Mark A. Smith

    Grow the fuck up. This is as obvious an attempt to manipulate public opionion as any poitician has ever used.
    Redefine “NEWS”. Stop with the BS gossip, or go work for the National Enquirer.

    • Drew

      Mark – get a life
      I want to know when some business man is dealing with our president.
      After Obama laughed off the unemployed earlier this week.

  • Dick Johnson

    First off, I have no love for either corporate party, they both suck. However, I do like Google and find their products and use a technology extremely valuable to our society as a whole. We would be lost without Google. As far as fat, old, white Republicans complaining, gimme a break. I’d prefer Google to be inside than disgusting old white oil men.

  • Drew

    No I don’t believe google as Eric Schmolt (hope I spelled his name correct?) seemed rather cozy with Obama the last time they met. I believe google offered a special rate due to the fact that the dems have been complaining and eying “federally taxing the internet”.

    I think google would do anything they could to remain as the online search directory. That would include signing any deal they could to keep from the taxing arm of the feds.

  • John Huff

    As the bard said “Much Ado About Nothing.”

  • Ery

    Google have very bad rules… Today banned me and I don’t no why…..
    I do not trust any more in google

  • Jim Ryan

    It seems extraordinary that Google feeds us so much BS about algorithms and best ceo practices etc., and then sells the top search result positions to ANYONE!! It’s on every page of search results!!

    • Ery

      Google is very big and so arbitrary!

  • http://www.interiorsbykristina.biz Krystyna Romanowicz

    I strongly believe, that President Obama is overwhelmingly AGGRESSIVE in his political campaign. I still remember the way he approached me in person at the CTA station in Chicago before when he was still campaigning for social injustice only. He didn’t let me pass by. He was ridiculous. I was not interested, because I am a former eastern European political refugee and I thought it was some socialist or even communist movement.

  • Frank

    Trust Google? You have got to be kidding, Right? What person in their right mind would trust Google?

  • Janet

    Where is the FTC in all this? TV and print publishers are held to strict rules concerning how political advertisements are priced; are search engines not subject to the same regulations? I would like to see the Google policy aligned with the FTC policy and fairness doctrine, which is not perfect but goes a very long way in keeping media honest.

  • Sean Pratt

    Even if Google gave Obama a deal, it would fall under the private unlimited campaign contributions that corporations can make thanks to a neoconservative Supreme Court.

  • http://jmtpubs.tripod.com JF1

    Google is documented to be in bed with the Obama administration – another example of the crony capitalism this administration uses to extort funding from businesses. I know a number of people who have switched to Bing and Yahoo Search as their preferred search engines. When one industry has its thumb on the search engine scale, the consumer loses.

  • http://www.ndic.com/ Santa Barbara Web Design

    I think Google is guilty. This is just an opinion. But as I can see what Google does to people in the internet world is that they act like God. They do whatever they wanted. They changed the algo. As long as they get money.

    Just my opinion. Peace!

  • John

    It is all blown out of proportion. It is basically Republican “El Toro Pooph Pooph.” Never trust a Republican –

    • RM Roth

      I don’t trust liberals, never have, never will

    • Jim

      are you a democrat? were you born with a democrat label on your hennie? What is a republican? Are people born with the label?
      What is a liberal? PLease give an example of a liberal!

    • Richard Smoker

      Like you can trust anyone that is involved with government. All sides are corrupt. If you support any part of it you are just like them.

  • Sherm Stevens

    I would not be surprised if Google helped out their bud. I just don’t understand how good entrepreneurs can be such Marxist trolls.

    My suggestion: don’t trust Google with any of your personal information. They have no moral compass, only their twisted ideology to guide them. I would not put it past them to help Obowmao turn all the online data into Big Brother for the gov’t.

  • http://msrwindprostove.com Michael Crane

    I’m sorry to say that I don’t believe Google. On the other hand, having seen how Obama continues the Bush policies (Patriot Act, Afghanistan, Libya, how many wars, exactly?) (and I voted for him), I don’t believe him either…


  • http://www.facebook.com/pages/World-Class-FB-FanSite/226201167394673?sk=app_224949197518501 Neil Facebook FanSite

    In any competitive market, one of the goals of the sales & marketing dept. is to seek and secure a Competitive Advantage and that’s OK. However, in this instance, given the consequences, I’d say Google should have to prove their fair play goings on v. simply deny the charges and leave it at that!

  • William

    Yip have to agree, google rules us all which is bull. Have your accounts with adsense ever been suspended ? The moment you start making money off them they suspend your account, like mine receantly, have you ever read about someones account being reinstated ? You have to appeal but they cant even give you information on their findings or claims to disable your account and then write back to you that they are going to refund the advertisers……… Bull. They will never refund the advertiser nor reinstate your account. I will not doubt that google lack info to several sources and even companies buying such data from them. So yes I doubt google for who and what they are or promosing.



  • Rich

    Complete bull from a Microsoft/Bing zealot. The “I Bing… I don’t Chrome” line was enough to get me to completely unsubscribe.

    Stop letting conspiracy nuts write articles. It kills journalism. So saying. I’m done with webpronews for good. I’ve unsubscribed and I urge others to do the same. This is all garbage!

    • G

      ^ What this guy said, I’m out

  • http://marlowecharities1.gibing.officelive.com kbmnj@hotmail.com

    google gives nothing to anyone

    • RM Roth

      except their bud Obama

  • Andy

    Google’s news articles are always puff pieces in favor of Obama. Is is no doubt that the liberals at Google are biased.

  • M M

    anti trust will ultimately take down google, When you own the market, control the buy price and can control and benefit from selling more something is wrong.

  • http://www.furpetsonly.com R. B. Jeffrey

    Even though Google is not held to the same restrictions as Radio and TV it should not favor any candidate for any party in any election. Google should stick with its informational format and business work..

    Politics: Stay out!

  • Becy Fisher

    Obama recently visited San Francisco so maybe this is one of the perks that came out of that visit.

    The sad thing is that Democrats are starting to look no better than the Republicans. Who do you trust nowadays?

  • louis tuorto

    no i do not believe google

  • Lee Maulding

    Google and the Obama administration saying that the ad “wasn’t paid for” is like Bill Clinton saying it depends on your definition of “is”. Are you going to believe me, or your lying eyes?

  • Diane

    One day people are going to realize that politicians are not to be trusted-not one of them! They don’t work for us and that is a fact, they are the message runners for their Bankster owners-and that is all they are. The elitist Banksters are setting up the scene for a third world war, it is time to wake up people. And No I don’t believe Google, they are corporate liars just like all the other big corporations.

  • John

    Since when is Google supposed to be a moral organisation? They are a capitalist business in a capitalist so-called free country, and as long they don’t break the law, they have not done anything wrong. Does not mean you don’t have to like it, it is a free world …

  • http://www.etsy.com/shop/giftshop1 Joe H

    Google does it again, the last three years everything changed with Google no more organic placement, pay your way to the top is the only way with Google, branding came about to favor there large corporate clients, like $11.00 per click for some words, i do feel in the end it will come back to haunt them, times get hard enough and large companies pull one or two accounts it will have a large impact due to the large number of small accounts that have been driven away. I do not believe Google for a minute on anything!

  • Jim

    I believe Google is giving special consideration to Obama

  • steve

    if i could test an advert on or with the assistance of the president of the usa i would do it, if you would not do you are not a person who grasps opportunity, well done google

  • steve

    the usa, the land of democracy and opportunity, well done google, well done obama for embracing new technology

    • Lee Maulding

      wat a dumbmass

  • http://www.swias.com Dan

    Why should Google be held to higher standards than other companies? Why shouldn’t Obama, or, for that matter, any politician, secure any and all advantages that are legally available?

  • William

    It doesn’t matter because Obama and the lemming dems in Congress that have followed him are toast this next election.

    Obama / Pelosi / Reid stopped their ears from listening to the People and we have now justly stopped ours from listening to them. Nothing they say matters any longer. We stopped listening to them long ago.

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