Like Adulterous Women? Google Can Help

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Google makes what you might call "moral" judgments with whom is expressly forbidden from advertising on its network. Adultery, though, is apparently not a topic the company will take a stance against.

It would be a stretch to say allowance of questionable advertising is an endorsement of it, but not too far of a stretch considering what Google rejects.

Like Adulterous Women? Google Can Help SEOBook author Aaron Wall’s wife, Giovanna, posted a screenshot at the SEObook blog of some contextual advertising appearing above her Gmail account. After sending out emails regarding her recent wedding, Wall was shown ad promoting a website for finding lonely, cheating married women.

She writes, "Why would Google, with their ‘Do No Evil’ policy promote cheating and infidelity?"

She faced some criticism in the comments for her "moral platitudes" and others contended that Google shouldn’t be making moral judgments on ads. Rather, they said, Google should "err on the side of free speech."

And that may be a fine argument if Google hasn’t made a practice since inception of deciding who can and can’t advertise based on certain moral codes. The company certainly hasn’t had any qualms about freedom of speech in advertising.

Google disallows:

Liquor ads
Gun ads
Gambling ads
Political ads against individuals, groups, or organizations

But adultery? Eh, they’ll leave that moral judgment up to the individual. 

Like Adulterous Women? Google Can Help
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  • http://www.stareclips.com StareClips.com

    Google’s “Do No Evil” philosophy doesn’t mean “promote good” or “do not promote evil”… it means that, as a business, they will not use evil tactics to try to gain a competitive edge. For instance, they could make everything a closed system, and prevent their users from taking their own data elsewhere to “lock-in” users as so many other companies do, but Google has chosen not to. From email to docs, they always have export options to extract your data and take it with you if you no longer wish to use Google’s services anymore.

    So, would it be “evil” of Google to allow someone to place an “evil” ad? Or, would it be “evil” of Google to judge every ad and censor those it does not like? I think the latter is true. Google should not have to be too much of a gateway determining what is evil for SOMEONE ELSE to do and what is not. They simply decide, internally, what would be beneficial to their users and what wouldn’t… and they opt to benefit their users more, even if an “evil” plan would benefit their pocketbooks more.

    So why would they disallow firearms, alcohol, and tobacco? They can’t really guarantee the age of the user viewing the page, whether it is the actual user or the user’s child glancing over their shoulder for a moment. All three of these things have age limits. Adultery does not have an age-limit per se, though sex does. However, the ad was designed in such a way to pretty much go over the head of a child. And, if it doesn’t, neither do most of the jokes in a Disney cartoon.

    So, simply put, Google should still consider to regulate ads regarding alcohol, tobacco, and firearms due to age-restrictions. Google shouldn’t, however, police everything else that might be considered questionable or inappropriate, because who is Google to decide how bad is bad? They drew their line, and I think it was an acceptable one. People are always going to want Google to move that line, but as long as that line is placed firmly in the middle-ground, I think they are acting responsibly.

  • http://www.cheatingspousetraps.com Chris Davis

    Google the morale fiber of the internet? Ha! Once they cross that bridge one can only imagine the flood gates that would open!

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