FC: Google bans ads bought by Church of Scientology critics

From: Declan McCullagh (declanat_private)
Date: Thu Mar 28 2002 - 21:08:01 PST

  • Next message: Declan McCullagh: "FC: Walgreens drugstore wants to take critical Wallgreens.com offline"

    Some background:
    From: "Xeni Jardin" <xeniat_private>
    To: "Declan McCullagh" <declanat_private>
    Subject: new round in Google/Cos/Censorship flap: "Adwords" program
    Date: Wed, 27 Mar 2002 21:01:37 -0800
    Hi, Declan,
    Online free speech advocates irked at Google's alleged censorship of
    www.xenu.net [not to be confused with www.xeni.net (-; ] have recently
    been purchasing "adwords" as a form of protest. Apparently, Google is
    now rejecting these anti-CoS activist-ads, citing editorial discretion.
    EveryDNS.net founder David Ulevitch reports that on his
    <http://www.phreedom.net/> site, you'll find an example of one of the
    anti-CoS "adword" adverts which is no longer available at Google
    (note: I don't know if his ad was yanked, or expired, or what).
    Microcontent News reports details below.
    Oddly, one of the adword ads appearing next to Google "scientology"
    search results (http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=scientology)
    right now is that oasis of tastefulness, www.dailyrotten.com.
    All best wishes,
    Xeni Jardin
    freelance journalist + conference manager
    xeniat_private | www.xeni.net
    <<Tuesday, March 26, 2002
    Google versus Church, round 3
    Scientology critics again claim Google censorship, this time through
    Adwords program
    by John Hiler
    Sources tell Microcontent News that Google is now rejecting
    anti-Scientology ads from its Google Adwords program, claiming the right
    to "exercise editorial discretion when it comes to the advertising we
    accept on our site."
    This is the latest in a series of controversies involving Google,
    Scientologists, and accusations of censorship.
    This has upset many Scientology critics, as Scientologists continue to
    extend their control over which websites Google users see when they
    search for Scientology-related keywords.
    One issue that's particularly controversial for the critics is the
    ambiguity around the Google Adword policy itself. One user wrote Google
    in an attempt to clarify the policy:
    Please tell me why my mild[ly]-worded ad is so reprehensible whereas the
    'standupgirl.com' anti-abortion site running at
    is somehow ok?
    Google quickly responded to the question through email:
    We have reviewed the ad running on abortion that you noted, and it
    appears to be a site offering information regarding girls struggling
    with the choices of pregnancy.
    It's not immediately clear to Microcontent News how the anti-abortion ad
    is substantially different than an anti-Scientology ad. (...)>>
    From: "Xeni Jardin" <xeniat_private>
    To: "Declan McCullagh" <declanat_private>
    Subject: footnote on the Google adwords example.
    Date: Thu, 28 Mar 2002 07:59:12 -0800
    Apparently, David's was the first (or one of the first)
    anti-xenu-censorship adword examples. --XJ
    -----Original Message-----
    From: David Ulevitch [mailto:daviduat_private]
    Sent: Wednesday, March 27, 2002 10:30 PM
    To: Xeni Jardin
    Hello Xeni,
    Wednesday, March 27, 2002, 10:33:30 PM, you wrote:
     >> For those who care, you can see my googleAd that I had when this was
     >> all going down at http://www.phreedom.net (you see only one because I
     >> did it before it was cool to do it, seriously) [does that make me
     >> cool, no.] ;-)
    XJ> Did Google inform you they were going to reject your ad at some
    XJ> point? If so, how were you notified, and how long was the ad up?
    since it was the first ad (that I know of/and I checked) it ran all
    the way through without issue.
    It's only recently that they have begun blocking them.
    I did it before they made the blocks hence I was unaffected.
      David                            mailto:daviduat_private
    POLITECH -- Declan McCullagh's politics and technology mailing list
    You may redistribute this message freely if you include this notice.
    Declan McCullagh's photographs are at http://www.mccullagh.org/
    To subscribe to Politech: http://www.politechbot.com/info/subscribe.html
    This message is archived at http://www.politechbot.com/
    Politech dinner in SF on 4/16: http://www.politechbot.com/events/cfp2002/

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Thu Mar 28 2002 - 22:14:35 PST