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Adland un-banned from Google Adsense, despite the many bare bottoms in advertising.

Fiat ad

You remember when Adland was banned from Google adsense for doing what we do - that is show ads, right? It was written up in Dagens Media in Sweden, as well as a few other adblogs, like Adscam who humorously points out that other ad blogs have 'put millions in his Swiss bank account by featuring tits and arse in every post, even if it’s about deep sea oil rigs'.

A Google representative phoned me up to sort out the issue, "I can un-ban your account, but you will have to follow the Google adsense guidelines in the future, of course". I explained to him that Adland writes about advertising, the business that promoted advertising week with a cleavage shot and resorts to using naked bosoms as attention grabbers for an advertising show in Slovenia. "There will be boobage eventually, it is advertising, in fact there will be just as much sexism and skin as you can find in banner campaigns that run on Google adsense" I said. (for example - see the evolution of Evony ads which actually ran on adland in the google adsense space) Advertising, like many other businesses, is pretty sexist in itself, Neil French is one of the most famous creatives in advertising (he has done great work, mind you). And advertising images are full of stereotypes that will offend men, women, and your little dog too - what one target group finds humorous, another finds offensive. In order to discuss these ads, we need to see them.

The New York Times ran a story saying that Google itself is sexist, when it tells "Cougar" sites to go elsewhere for advertising, god forbid an older woman seeks out the company of a younger man - we can't have that. Meanwhile "Date a millionaire" which matches sugar daddies to younger women was fine. Ho-kay. B|Net has an update on that with a statement from google:

Google spokesperson Diana Adair says that the company has always treated “cougar” and “sugar daddy” dating sites the same way, and that neither are allowed on its content network.

- and therein lies the rub.

Google, by being the easy way to get advertising on your budding website or a large website, has an enormous amount of say in what is allowed on a website, and in ads that run on Google adsense. Since they also own half of the web, with youtube, feedburner and blogger, they have enormous reach. When they can ban sites like us outright for making posts encouraging people to protest sexist Sloggi ads, because we showed the sexist Sloggi ad, the machine is broken. Like I said to Dagens Media, someone somewhere took the time to look at the site and still didn't see what we're writing, they just saw Sloggi's asses. Meanwhile, content scraper sites like the one currently nicking all their content from the Oatmeal live on, without loss of Google Adsense income.

So here I am, with Google ads running on top and the sides, wondering when that nice young lad from Google Dublin might call me again to explain we've gone against Google Adsense rules again. I suggested to him that there should be a way to choose "adult content" site, because apparently, advertising is porn.

For the new readers who just discovered this place, I've often written about sexist ads and scoffed at advertising that uses the lowest common denominator to sell (be it sexy imagery or a swift kick in the balls), and noted that ad sites who rely on advertising income often resort straight to "banned ad" or "sexy ad" in order to keep the traffic up. Which makes the ban on Adland quite ironic, in a way. The sexist search will bring you quite a few articles, while the community generated sexist commercial tag will show you examples of ads that readers find sexist.
I've written Boys, Girls - this is not a competition. Sexist ads are bad for everyone. I've pointed out to french advertisers to wake up and smell the statistics, as sexism sells, but we're not buying it. In the end bad ads (not just sexist ads) pollute the media landscape, the cultural landscape, and doesn't move product. I hate bad ads.

We'll write about ads from every angle, complain about wildposters, ad creep, new ad spaces, and does advertising create obese kids? Etc.

News here often shows the ads that were banned due to being offensive, such as the Booth babe backlash and reports on the Running free ads from DDB, not just sexist but also 'hoax'. We'll collect and archive the work, all the banned ads that were removed from youtube, to the pure spec work (which means it never ran anywhere).

Our content ranges from advertising tourism like: Shanghai Advertising - the rise of consumer culture in a communist country, to easy lists such as PETA's top five most offensive and most sexist ads. Do we deserve to be banned from Google?

Back in the seventies, ads sold the "young fresh look" so hard that jailbait looks and made up baby faces were declared 'sexy'. I suppose I might be going to jail for spreading child porn now.

Update! That didn't last long, of course as soon as we started making lots of digits we got banned again. This time for writing a critical post on PETA's advertising which contains images of nude and beaten women. Google is Big Brother. Google can tell you who and what and how to criticize. War is peace. Placing all your eggs in one basket is really really dumb, y'all. And by y'all I mean the entire internet.

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Anonymous Adgrunt's picture
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claymore's picture

Hooray for Google and boobs!

fairuse's picture

There is justice in the Googleplex! Good Luck.

Diet Pepsi and Boobs, who knew?

Anonymouss's picture

Advertising is full of boobs.

John Backman's picture

No one should be allowed to post lines like "advertising is full of boobs" anonymously. You deserve credit for fun wordplay (however oft repeated).

Rock on, Ask. Google is being ridiculous. It's like blaming the journalist for reporting the disturbing news story.

SuperMan!'s picture

You misspelled "FUCK YOU GOOGLE"

Dabitch's picture

While it is tempting to delve down into cleavage juvenile jokes here, the auto-ban of content sites due to the adult or mature content we apparently host here, which is advertising, is a bit like a snake eating itself. Adsense does not want to be affiliated with ... advertising.

Then there's other issues, like Adsense bans websites due to DCMA content which is actually hosted on another site (read: youtube, justin.tv and countless other infringing user-generated streaming sites), but they don't ban youtube, justin.tv or the countless other streaming websites. :P

fairuse's picture

Just when I thought it was safe to leave the dungeon you say Adsense does not like you because you are advertising[1]? So, Adsense detects the so called adult content or DMCA violation and does not flag the source? I understand the answer to that is yes. I see why. The Adsense product is a self contained entity of Google that has no interest in policing internet content infringement by sites outside of its policy. To clarify -- If the page displaying the Adsense product has DMCA violating youtube video, per its own black list, then Adsense can only take legal action against the page, not youtube. To message back to the source of the video that Adsense found a violation would interfere with safe harbor and put Google in a bad legal position. Since the site[2] is down at the moment I cannot check my guess for accuracy.

1. "Adsense does not want to be affiliated with ... advertising."

2. Site down at 0343UTC on Jun 5th Adsense bans websites due to DCMA content


Dabitch's picture


Here's what Adsense said to us, note that they're pointing out the anti-Sloggi ad post as the post that goes against their program policies, as they don't wish to be associated with lewd or provocative poses, or close-ups of breasts, butts, or crotches. One would expect this to apply to "porn" not "advertising for underwear" , but the whole point of my post was that Sloggi's campaigns were going too far. Point being advertising likes to skirt on the edges of pornographic imagery. See Tom Fords campaigns.

While reviewing your account, we noticed that you are currently displaying Google ads in a manner that is not compliant with our policies. For instance, we found violations of AdSense policies on pages such as http://adland.tv/content/sloggi-another-bumfight. Please note that this URL is an example and that the same violations may exist on other pages of your website.
As stated in our program policies, AdSense publishers are not permitted to place Google ads on pages with adult or mature content. This includes images or video content containing lewd or provocative poses, or close-ups of breasts, butts, or crotches.
Please make any necessary changes to your webpages in the next 72 hours. We also suggest that you take the time to review our program policies (https://www.google.com/support/adsense/bin/answer.py?answer=48182&stc=as...) to ensure that all of your other pages are in compliance.

And I understand the safe harbor, but to a site that embeds youtube & justin.tv clips - lets say it's a blog that writes all about Morgan Freeman, showing clips from his earlier career as one of the adults in Electric Company - it seems strange that they get banned via the DMCA , while the content is still available on youtube & justin.tv (who by the way, can show overlay ads from Google adsense, even when embedded on other sites).

fairuse's picture

I am with you on Sloggi ad and Adsense's reaction. Classifying this site as "adult" or "mature content" by using those weasel words makes me crazy. The entire internet is "adult" in one way or another in my opinion. That said, I went looking for a clarification on Adsense's fuzzy policy. The question: "Just what does "Adult" mean to Adsense?". Answer: A fuzzy blog entry:

This is the entire post from - http://adsense.blogspot.com/2007/11/play-it-safe-family-safe.html

Play it safe, family-safe
Monday, November 26, 2007 | 10:53:00 AM
Labels: Program Policies

Many of our publishers regularly ask what is exactly considered adult or mature content by AdSense policies. It's a lot easier to understand when we speak about family-safe content. As you may already know, only ads classified as family-safe will be displayed on AdSense publisher websites.

Our policy regarding adult or mature content may include any material that is not appropriate for all audiences. While this obviously includes full nudity or sexual activity, it may also include textually explicit sexual content, image or video content containing lewd or provocative poses, strategically covered nudity, see-through or sheer clothing, and close-ups of anatomy that would be inappropriate if shown nude. Additionally, topics such as sexual health and sex tips may be held to a higher standard of professionalism than content that isn't bordering on mature.

While it's not a sure test, we sometimes suggest that publishers ask themselves the following questions to determine if content is family-safe: Would I be comfortable viewing this content with my parents or children in the same room? Would I feel comfortable viewing this content if my boss walked up behind me while I had this content on my screen? If the answer to either of these questions is no, then it is likely that some advertisers would not be comfortable showing their ads on such content and we might consider it mature.

Posted by Guillermo Bracciaforte - AdSense Publisher Support

The comments could have been written yesterday. The quest for safe is laudable but in no way is the policy going to curb advertising's B&B approach to selling goods and services. Right Pepsi? (Boobs & Butt advertising)

Lastly, the words on DMCA got lost when Safari crashed[1] and I will look into that later.

1. Browser crash redo : I liked the first edition better

FabFab's picture

The snake that eats itself is a good way to sum it up. Clearly there are ads that site owners don't want on their sites, just look at the many site discussing how to get rid of scientology ads (which was impossible), just as there are sites that advertisers don't wish to be seen on. Tools for filtering on both ends need to be more finely tuned instead of an all out ban on a website that display advertising, not pornography.

Dabitch's picture

I only now realized how this post was a bit of a foreshadowing. See the last part of the post:

Our content ranges from advertising tourism like: Shanghai Advertising - the rise of consumer culture in a communist country, to easy lists such as PETA's top five most offensive and most sexist ads. Do we deserve to be banned from Google?

That PETA offensive post was exactly the post that got us banned the last time. Thanks for reading us, Google.. I guess?

Spandexx's picture

I just heard you speak about this Google Adsense ban on a podcast. It's crazy to realise that the world's leading advertising website caan be kicked off Google Adsense for reporting on advertising news. I thought cancel culture was a new thing, but it's been going on for years.