FC: Google permits ads for spamware, rejects firearms-related ads

From: Declan McCullagh (declanat_private)
Date: Tue Mar 12 2002 - 21:18:18 PST

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    Searching for "bulk email" turns up an ad saying:
       BULK EMAIL SOFTWARE - Create And Deliver Mass-Personalized Emails
       www.ArialSoftware.com      Top-rated! CLICK HERE for a free downloadable
       working demo
    And many others. Previous Politech message:
    "Google refuses business from gun, knife, bulk food advertisers"
    From: "Thomas Leavitt" <thomasleavittat_private>
    To: declanat_private
    Subject: Re: FC: Google refuses business from gun, knife, bulk food advertisers
    Date: Tue, 12 Mar 2002 19:21:55 -0800
    This seems particularly bizarre, considering that they permit purchase of 
    advertising by people marketing spam lists, email address harvesters (as 
    evidenced when you type "bulk email" into their search engine) and other 
    anti-social utilities and products (at least from an Internet user's 
    perspective). I believe that, in the past, I've even seen spamming software 
    being advertised, though a couple of casual searches of logical keywords 
    don't bring up such at the moment.
    Thomas Leavitt
    Date: Tue, 12 Mar 2002 13:01:53 -0500
    From: rshoefelmeyerat_private (Ralph Hoefelmeyer)
    To: declanat_private
    Subject: Bowman's and Google
    Have the Google folks lost their politically correct minds?  No buying from 
    Google advertisers for me, and Bowman's is now book marked for my buying needs.
    Vote with one's wallet.
    Date: Wed, 13 Mar 2002 09:07:55 +1100
    From: Nathan Cochrane <ncochraneat_private>
    Reply-To: ncochraneat_private
    Organization: The Age newspaper
    To: declanat_private
    Subject: Re: FC: Google refuses business from gun, knife, bulk food advertisers
    Too bad if like to go camping, hiking, backpacking, mountaineering etc. 
    Just a good thing that America is not renowned for its outdoor life or this 
    would by laughable.
    Date: Tue, 12 Mar 2002 12:57:55 -0500
    To: declanat_private
    From: Matthew Gaylor <freemattat_private>
    Subject: Re: FC: Google refuses business from gun, knife, bulk food
    Cc: politechat_private, bowmansat_private, tmzat_private
    Hi Declan,
    Here's an original message from Bowman's Brigade.  It should be noted 
    however that while Google doesn't accept ads for firearms or gun parts they 
    do accept some ads related to guns (gun books and gun magazines).  They do 
    carry advertising to Rifle Magazine and to the book  "Bullet Stopping 
    Power: Discuss Ammo Stopping Power with Evan Marshall and more! 
    <http://www.evanmarshall.com> as examples.
    Regards,  Matt-
    At 12:49 AM -0700 3/11/02, Bowman's Brigade wrote:
    >From: "Bowman's Brigade" <infoat_private>
    >To: <freemattat_private>
    >Subject: Google's anti-gun policy discriminates against gun owners
    >Date: Mon, 11 Mar 2002 00:49:35 -0700
    >X-Priority: 1 (Highest)
    >Importance: High
    >Perhaps you would be interested in this story.  Google has been uncloaked 
    >as having an anti-gun discrimination policy by refusing ads from gun 
    >related businesses.  My food ads and my night vision ads were refused by 
    >Google - even though such ads are routinely allowed by Google from other 
    >companies.  Their reason given? Because we also sell pistol barrels (not 
    >guns).  I posted the entire story on my website here: 
    >om/google1.htm  You might want to read the links embedded in this page too 
    >- there is a lot of outrage growing out there.
    >There appears to be a massive grassroots effort underway to notify Google 
    >that gun owners will not tolerate discrimination against them, but I could 
    >use some help.  I'm already being overwhelmed with emails on this 
    >issue.  I'm doing this alone, trying to get enough public pressure on 
    >Google to reverse this policy.  So far, they seem to simply be ignoring 
    >everyone.  They're liars too - but read the page above and make up your 
    >own mind.
    >Bowman's Brigade
    Subscribe to Freematt's Alerts: Pro-Individual Rights Issues
    Send a blank message to: freemattat_private with the words subscribe FA
    on the subject line. List is private and moderated (7-30 messages per week)
    Matthew Gaylor, (614) 313-5722  ICQ: 106212065   Archived at 
    Date: Tue, 12 Mar 2002 18:28:07 -0500
    From: mwmillerat_private
    To: declanat_private, tmzat_private
    Subject: Re: FC: Google refuses business from gun, knife, bulk food advertisers
     > From: Todd <tmzat_private>
     > I've looked at the "Terms and Conditions" page for any reference to what
     > might be prohibited.  All I see is:
     >     "4. Spam and Other Prohibited Uses.
     >     ... Google's Ad Policy ...
     > There's no mention of weapons, guns, knives, or firearms.  They do
     > reference "Google's Ad Policy" but there is no link to this document
     > and a quick search, on Google, of course, produced nothing relevant.
    The in-site searcher is available from the rather unobviously-named
    "Jobs, Press, Cool Stuff..." link (which used to be named "All About
    Google").  Anyway, here's the advertising policy:
    It doesn't mention guns specifically, but it *does* have the usual
    weaselly we-don't-need-no-steenkin'-reason verbiage: "4. Right to Reject
    Advertisement. All advertisements are subject to Google's approval.
    Google reserves the right to reject any advertisement, Insertion Order,
    or URL link, at any time, for any reason whatsoever..."
    Matthew W. Miller -- mwmillerat_private
    "I *love* when somebody finds something I say worthy of inclusion in a
    .sig..."  -- somebody
    Date: Tue, 12 Mar 2002 19:58:03 -0500
    From: Todd <tmzat_private>
    To: mwmillerat_private
    Cc: declanat_private
    Subject: Re: FC: Google refuses business from gun, knife, bulk food advertisers
    Hash: SHA1
    Hi Matthew,
    mwmillerat_private wrote:
     > The in-site searcher is available from the rather unobviously-named
     > "Jobs, Press, Cool Stuff..." link (which used to be named "All About
     > Google").
    You can also use site:google.com (or any other domain name) in the main
    search text box.  I think that achieves the same thing.  Agreed that it's
    less than obvious to find the in-site searcher.
     > Anyway, here's the advertising policy:
     > http://www.google.com/ads/conditions.html
    I did look at that link, but I didn't take it to be the "Ad Policy" they
    refer to in section 4 of the AdWords "Terms and Conditions," which is
    found at:
         (which annoyingly required cookies when I visited...)
    The page at http://www.google.com/ads/conditions.html are the terms and
    conditions for the "Premium Sponsorship Advertising" program.  I believe
    they are separate.  See http://www.google.com/ads/ for the various ad
    programs they have.
     > It doesn't mention guns specifically, but it *does* have the usual
     > weaselly we-don't-need-no-steenkin'-reason verbiage:
    I'll say.  It's no wonder many people don't bother reading license
    agreements and contracts with all this crap.  If they read them and bitched
    about ridiculous language like this (or the NAI licenses prohibiting posting
    reviews), perhaps we'd have better licenses and contracts.  As it is,
    virtually no one - except lawyers and geeks - reads them and we end up
    with crap licenses by default.
    I've emailed adwords-supportat_private to inquire about the "Ad Policy"
    they refer to in the T & C.  They got right back to me with a standard we
    "respect freedom... but reserve editorial discretion" message.  I replied to
    try and get clarification about the ad policy and have not heard back yet.
    They make the ad policy sound like a document in the T & C but I'm betting
    it's more of a take-each-ad-as-they-come sort of thing.
    Of course this is their right, but if they have some bias against someone
    selling anything related to hunting or firearms I want to know so I can
    take my searching and potential ad dollars elsewhere.
    - --
    It is easier to fight for one's principles than to live up to them.
         -- Alfred Adler
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    Date: Tue, 12 Mar 2002 13:20:27 -0600
    From: Dave <2gdsat_private>
    X-Mailer: Mozilla 4.51 [en] (X11; I; Linux 2.2.5-15 i686)
    X-Accept-Language: en
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    To: bowmansat_private
    CC: declanat_private, politechat_private, tmzat_private,
             Zuni <michael.zunigaat_private>
    Subject: Re: FC: Google refuses business from gun, knife, bulk food
    Hello there Bowmans:
    I thought I'd give some quick unsolicited layman
    perspective between lunchtime chicken strips here :-)
    WRT the freedom of speech issue, this is enough for many of
    the people I know (people who tend to vote w/ their dollars)
    to avoid merchants, including advertising or search engines
    , who don't respect and defend the Constitution of our own
    country.  Pity, but as G. Carlin said, we get a free ticket
    to the freak show at birth.
    Also WRT google in general, I have noticed very poor relevancy
    with the returns of their searches starting in the not too
    distant past?  I don't know how or why, though I have some
    hunches having to do with multiplicative factors that are
    linear functions of $??  Just a guess.  It is a shame we can't
    find a good way for companies like google to make a dime and
    preserve the objectivity, integrity of their algorithms.  Particularly
    since google has worked to utilized GNU and Open Source
    software technologies in their business- this has sent a message to
    many of us, perhaps wrongly, that Google shares some of the
    libertarian principles identified in the Free Software Foundations
    charter and activities.  Such is life..  Define objectivity
    and integrity of a search algorithm?  Others have debated this
    I imagine.
    I won't quite give up on Google yet.  This is a mistake I
    imagine will be fixed quickly.
    Finally, with respect to advertising, remember that
    there are still good ways to get at good netizens
    o word of mouth (I'm serious.. I get URLS and recommendations
       from people all the time..)
    o e-mail distribution lists (for which people opt in
       to, and which allow discreet plugs - even in the form
       of signatures, which is not to be confused with spam, or
        flashing images, etc.. - these are offensive and the
        quickest way to turn people off)
    o being an active member in programs / initiatives,
       communities (online or other) which work to positively
       affect our environment
    o publishing articles, participating in new groups,
       educating, etc..
    These are, in my mind, still the best forms of advertising there are...
    I will now visit bowman's :-)  Also, this might be an excellent
    point in space and time for others to do the same.
    From: Frank Ney <n4zhgat_private>
    To: declanat_private
    Subject: Re: FC: Google refuses business from gun, knife, bulk food advertisers
    Date: Tue, 12 Mar 2002 13:09:52 -0500
    Organization: Darwin Prevention Society - We keep evolution from happening.
    Reply-To: croakerat_private
    On Tue, 12 Mar 2002 12:10:39 -0500, Declan McCullagh <declanat_private>
     >[Google confirmed to me that the facts as laid out below are true. They
     >understand that the Bowman's Brigade business does NOT sell firearms, but
     >they feel that the bulk food, survival gear, and replacement parts (like
     >weapon sights) are close enough to firearm sales to, ah, trigger that
     >prohibition. --Declan]
    After reading that article, I went to google one last time and discovered
    that despite what they said in their response, they are in fact running a
    sponsored link for absoluteknives.com, who sells S.O.G. SEAL knives, neck
    knives, and such. Hypocrisy ranks right up there with anti-gunnery.
    Black Friday - The name given to October 26th, 2001, the day George W.
    Bush signed the "USA PATRIOT Act" which marked the end of the United
    States as a democratic republic, and its emergence as a police state.
    The only senator to oppose the bill was Russ Feingold, a Wisconsin
    senator, who was assassinated 2 years later by agents of the Homeland
    Security Office for "seditious criticism of the State."
                    - Encylopedia Britannica, 2162 CE edition
    Just Say No to Gestapo Tactics http://reduce.to/justsayno/
    Abuses by the BATF  http://www.hamnet.net/~n4zhg/batfabus.html
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