Friday, March 07, 2008

An apology to my readers (or why I've just kissed Google Adsense goodbye)

Update: I've received some very creepy e-mail from slavishly obsessed adherents to Adsense since I posted this entry. Also, two unscrupulous "made for Adsense" garbage website owners have stolen this Creative Commons license-protected content and posted it to their sites. This experience has been unpleasant. I've also been accused of making this up (yeah right - ask the Sasquatch, who sent me the screen capture of some of the ads), of being some sort of anti-Google agent provocateur (oh, puh-leeze!), and of being a pathological professional victim for complaining. Sorry, kids. Not the case. My blog, my rules. I talk about all sorts of stuff here - some of it more appropriate for adults, but regardless of my content (and remember, Google had to approve my site for their ads), Google promised "FAMILY SAFE" ads only. They did not deliver. I can control what I write here. But with Adsense, I couldn't control the influx of inappropriate ads - my readers were getting different ads than I saw, depending on what entry they hit.

If you're some raving Adsenser, you are welcome here, like everyone is, but I'm not going to engage you in any discourse. I honestly do have better things to do, and, having just gone through a cancer scare, I can tell you with no doubt, life is too short to talk to zealots. You're creeping me out, Adsensers! It's as if complaining about Adsense is akin to kicking your puppy or hitting your baby. Jeez. Go forth and make your money with ads and leave your self-righteous crapola at the door. And yeah, just so you know, there's a difference between posting about goofy grown-up stuff and ADVERTISING for sex crime defense attorneys. I'm not shilling for them or adulterous dating websites, thanks.

Original post follows:

Recently, I put Google Adsense ads on my blog. I had hoped it might generate a little extra $ as both my desktop PC and my laptop are dying, and I'm saving my pennies to buy a new computer.

Unfortunately, Google Adsense has not served me well. Despite Adsense claiming their ads will be "family safe", I've had crud show up here with titles like "Cheating Wives Meet!" with a link to a "cheating wives" dating site. Another ad was titled "African Radio" - this would have been fine with me had it featured a link to an African radio website. Instead, the link was for "blackpeoplemeet-dot-whatever" - another dating site. No radio, no how. Look, I have no problem with black people meeting. Or purple people meeting. Or lonely guys and space aliens meeting, for what it's worth. I'm all for all people meeting. But disingenuous crap pisses me off, and I certainly don't want to look like a skeezy tool to you, my regular readers.

Google Adsense has a feature where you can filter out specific URLs. And that's fine, up to a point. But when I look at my webpage, I often don't see the same ads you do. Sometimes, I have no idea what you are seeing, unless someone lets me know. So, most of the time, if there is something tasteless up there, I simply don't know, and therefore, can't take it down.

Tonight, however, the Sasquatch let me know my website featured ads with headlines blaring about incest and sexual abuse. He sent me a screen shot, and I was horrified. One of the ads was a link to a sex crime defense attorney website. Great. I'm advertising to defend sexual criminals. WTF?

Well, that was it, as far as I'm concerned. Do I need to bring in extra money? You bet. Am I going to do it with a company that's going to pop bold headers on my blog with the words "incest" and "sexual abuse" and "cheating wives"? No way in hell.

Here's the e-mail I sent to Google Adsense tonight after I pulled all the code off my page:

"I wish to cancel my account immediately. I have removed all Adsense code from my blog. I was shocked and digusted to have a regular reader contact me with a screen shot of my blog featuring ads with titles about incest and sexual abuse.

From the Adsense blog, I was led to believe that Adsense would feature only "family safe" ads. How ads titled "Incest A Family Tragedy" and "Sexual Abuse Arrest" count as "family safe", I simply cannot fathom. I am disgusted and embarrassed that my regular readers think I am happily advertising defense attorneys for sexual abusers.

I now have to apologize to my readers.

My blog is may not necessarily be family-friendly, but writing as a grown-up doesn't mean I support sexual abusers.


You need to vet your clients better, and you should make efforts to protect the publishers from crass and disgusting un-family-safe ads. I have no idea how many of my regular readers I have offended with your ads. If you want a copy of the page my reader sent to me, I will forward you the screen shot, complete with incest and sexual abuse-titled ads. I don't care about the content of the links, I care about the bold headers my readers see and associate with me.

Close my account now."

So, dear readers, I apologize if any of you have been offended or put off by any of the ads you may have seen on my blog. It certainly was not my intention to put anything crass or distasteful on my page. I noticed a decline in my readership recently, and I can only hope folks will come back to read.

This really upset me to find this out tonight. I may be a flake, I may be a goofball, and I may swear out here now and then, but I don't encourage cheating spouses and I don't help sexual abusers find a handy lawyer. It's upset me enough that I'm still up at 2:10 in the morning, embarrassed and angry.

This sucks.

With sincere apologies to everyone,



Anonymous said...

As much as we agree with you there is not much you can do about Google.

They own the World.

Dot and Dave

Anonymous said...

See now I feel bad for convincing you to try them. :(

They suck. You'd think it would be easy to block out ads that have to do with sex.

Anonymous said...

I've been gone a few days, but (for what it's worth) I didn't see any of those type of ads. I did clickty click on several of the sites (mostly gourmet coffee) to give you a few pennies, if it worked that way.

If you lost any readers, I bet they'll try back as some point.

In the spirit of family friendly, I say Phooey on Google for being such a poopie head!

Merujo said...

Spencer, no worries - I'm just pissed at them that they make this big point about how they will only place "family safe" ads. But constantly, my page was being barraged with tasteless crap. Frankly, I would have been amused by ads for, say, dildos, but infidelity and abuse stuff? Yeesh!

Google needs to fine tune this sucker.

An interesting thing is that I've posted about my disgust on the adsense Google Group, and as a result, I've gotten some hate mail from people who have some sort of freaky, creepy, rabid religious-like love of adsense. Very weird!

Anonymous said...

Hi Merujo,

I read your posts out on the Adsense group. As an Adsense user, I want to apologize for the rudeness and incredibly hostile and personal judgments that have been made about you out there because you stood up and voiced a very serious concern about the content of some Google ads. I am saddened that people decided to just hurl unwarranted abuse at you rather than look at the argument you correctly made. Google has promised these so-called family safe ads, but many are not. Even on Google's own sites I've seen ads for "booty call" websites for people who just want to have sex rather than a relationship. Like you, I'd like to see an explanation from Google about these sleazy junk ads. Again, I am sorry you took such rotten abuse in the group. You did not deserve it.

I'm enjoying going through your archives and reading stories. You really have a gift as a storyteller.



Unknown said...

Ironically, I just found your blog linked from one of Google's Adsense pages describing what proper content of the sites on which their ads appear is. And why was I there in the first place? You may find that amusing. I'm an admin of a website that uses Adsense to make money to help keep the site running, and today we got a prudish email from Google complaining that some of the material on our site violates their policy about "adult or mature" content. We are a wallpaper site that has NO full nudity, and none of the pics we host would be any more explicit than what a person could see on the cover of Maxim magazine or in the SI Swimsuit Issue. Why the double standard by Google? They can't possibly believe that they can enforce such a puritanical standard ON THE INTERNET of all places?!? "Family-safe" my ass...

Anonymous said...

Ditto what James said

Except that we are a humor site with some mature(ish) content. However, we exclude google from those pages.

We don't do porn, so we are trying to locate an advertiser for "R" rated content.

gus said...

I publish results for kids sport. You can't mention age or gender without attracting adult ads. As I keep posting to AdSense "If the ad goes to a site where you have to be 18 or over to enter, what does that tell you!"