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Google Stops Ads For "Cougar" Sites 319

Posted by samzenpus
from the here's-to-you-mrs-robinson dept.
teh31337one writes "Google is refusing to advertise CougarLife, a dating site for mature women looking for younger men. However, they continue to accept sites for mature men seeking young women. According to the New York Times, CougarLife.com had been paying Google $100,000 a month since October. The Mountain View company has now cancelled the contract, saying that the dating site is 'nonfamily safe.'"
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Google Stops Ads For "Cougar" Sites

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  • by sakdoctor (1087155) on Tuesday May 18, 2010 @10:55AM (#32252876) Homepage

    Please drill down into TFA and tell me if this is a slashvertisment for CougarLife, an unrelated violation of googles TOS, or really google being evil so I can be outraged accordingly.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 18, 2010 @11:09AM (#32253076)

      hard to call it a slashvertisement since the article is from NY Times. No mention of a TOS violation, basically Google decided that anything using the word 'cougar' is automatically classified as Adult and thus no eligible for GCN. Main issue raised in the article is that 'sugar daddy' has not been similarly classified despite being a common term for the reverse relationship. Not sure I'd necessarily call it 'Google being evil' and I highly doubt sexism is the real reason here, but it's a bit strange, and I think Google definitely needs to give a real explanation here.

      • by sakdoctor (1087155) on Tuesday May 18, 2010 @11:18AM (#32253212) Homepage

        Outrageous. Won't someone think of the legitimate websites that sell mountain lions.

      • by canajin56 (660655)
        Not true, "Sugar Daddy" is also a forbidden adult term. TFA says that "arrangement" is not banned, when that's code for paying tuition in exchange for sex...their site even lets you fucking list that. A man goes on, lists how rich he is and how much he's willing to spend for sex. Girls advertise what kind of minimum bid they need. Just their rent? Rent and tuition? Also need expenses? Do they expect jewelry? Fuck. Hopefully now that google knows what that site is actually about, they'll ban it, too
    • by Moblaster (521614) on Tuesday May 18, 2010 @11:13AM (#32253130)

      It is none of the above. It is a sneaky coordinated attack on an innocent cat-lover's web site, probably instigated by a vicious cabal of dog people.

      • It is none of the above. It is a sneaky coordinated attack on an innocent cat-lover's web site, probably instigated by a vicious cabal of dog people.

        So right! What's next--LOL Cats?. It's a conspiracy, I'm telling you. Where's my roll of tin foil, I'm feeling the need for a new hat...

    • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Tuesday May 18, 2010 @11:20AM (#32253238) Journal

      Google has simply labelled "cougar" to be an adult term, and adult ads are not allowed on its network. Yet other ads with the same or even stronger adult theme are allowed. The same company has a site for older men seeking younger women, and that one is allowed.

      So it seems Google is being very sexist about it. Probably not a high level decision, just someone who let his/her own personal views put a word on the banned word list. I don't think Google really wants to ban all the adult themed ads, it is a lot of money they would be throwing away. 100k in advertising for one site only. Even Google is going to feel it if its puritans stance is now going to force it to block all the sites aimed at men as well.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by mea37 (1201159)

        A large organization has a subjective policy that defines a keyword list on which they base ad acceptance.

        You think it's more likely that an inconsistency in that list is based on sexist attitudes, than that it's based on a lack of central quality control?

        Don't anthropomorphize bureaucracies. They hate when you do that.

        • The key issue here isn't what's going on in the collective heads of the bureaucracy of the Google AdWords team. I'm sure they're all very fine people who love their mothers and volunteer for the poor, etc. The issue is that the effects of this policy are sexist.

          It's much the same story as for racism. I don't know what people really think about members of minority groups, and I honestly don't particularly care. But I do care about their actions and words. It honestly doesn't make any sense to say to a person

          • by mea37 (1201159) on Tuesday May 18, 2010 @01:17PM (#32254950)

            No, it's not about the effects. Terms that imply bias are about intentions. There's a huge difference between giving a cookie to every male, vs. flipping a coin and giving a cookie every time it comes up heads, even if by random chance it happens that I end up giving each male (and no females) a cookie.

            Drumming up emotions by using terms that imply deliberate bias to situations where there is none is a disservice to everyone involved, most of all those who advocate against true bias.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          Not to nitpik but bureaucracies are made of people. You don't have to anthropomorphize them, they are already emotional response engines. Just with more rules than most individuals use.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Maxo-Texas (864189)

        I bet it boils down to one man who has ego issues about women sleeping with younger men. Perhaps he feels it is "gross" as I've heard some say, perhaps his wife or girlfriend left him for a younger man.

        This is a dumb choice. Especially with a TV show called "cougar town".

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Antisyzygy (1495469)
          I seriously doubt this is the reason. Cougar is something someone searches for when they want mature woman porn. That is probably the just of it.
        • Actually no. (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Chas (5144)

          Cougar Life has run adverts on the radio here in Chicago.

          Their tag line is "Wouldn't you like to **** a cougar too?"

          As such, it's pretty obvious that they're not going to pass the "No Adult Content" caveat in place with Google.

      • I don't understand why men would want to date an old woman. Pot-bellies, non-firm breasts, hugh jass butts. Maybe it's the aspect of gaining access to lots of money.......... hmmmm......... where do I sign up?

        • by xaxa (988988)

          Those sound remarkably similar to the reasons a young woman might want to date an older man, no?

      • Google has simply labelled "cougar" to be an adult term, and adult ads are not allowed on its network.

        Well, its ad network at least. For now, that is.

      • by canajin56 (660655) on Tuesday May 18, 2010 @12:25PM (#32254202)
        It's not sexist. Some posts in this thread are outright lies. "Cougar" is banned for being an adult term. So is Sugar Daddy, contrary to what some claim. Not sexist. There ARE sugar-daddy style sites that have slipped through, by being surreptitious about it. They call it "arrangements" and "friendship deals" and all kinds of other things. Google can look at keywords and decide that a site named for an old woman who prowls bars looking for easy sex, and maybe an ongoing boytoy for when her husband is away, is an "adult site" but they can't look at a picture of an older man holding a young woman that says "Make that special arrangement" is a sex site. Their software just isn't that smart. (There are "cougar" sites that are allowed, too. They don't use the word cougar or sex in their ads like cougarlife does, and that's why they're allowed. They call it "age gap" and so on. The same company also runs a "height gap" sex service, allowed to run in that they don't call it a sex service up front.) At any rate, some cougarlife.com ads were mild, but some were borderline pornographic. Not that it bothers me in GENERAL, I just don't want porn if I'm browsing a tech site in the office, looking for reviews. There ARE ad aggregators that allow porn, and if you want porn banners you deal with them. You don't whine to every newspaper in the entire world about how Sexist google is for banning you.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by drinkypoo (153816)

          It's not sexist. Some posts in this thread are outright lies. "Cougar" is banned for being an adult term. So is Sugar Daddy, contrary to what some claim. Not sexist.

          Did you even RTFA [nytimes.com]? (I think we all know I'm not new here.) The same company that runs CougarLife currently has google ads for another site they run — a Sugar Daddy site:

          When notified by Google of the decision, CougarLife proposed substituting a different ad for the ones that were running, picturing older women and younger men together. Cougarlife said it would use an image of the company's president, Claudia Opdenkelder, 39, without a man in the picture (she lives with her 25-year-old boyfriend).

          But t

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by clone53421 (1310749)

            I don't know how much simpler it can get, but Google outright said that the policy related to the concept of cougar dating as a whole, but they continue to run ads for Sugar Daddy sites.

            They specifically asked if CougarLife would be open to the option of changing their domain name... whereas the mentioned “sugar daddy” sites were called DateAMillionaire.com and ArrangementSeekers.com.

            Google obviously considers the terms “cougar” and “sugar daddy” to be non-family-safe, therefore “CougarLife” is out; the names “DateAMillionaire” and “ArrangementSeekers”, on the other hand, do not contain explicit terms.

            The only other th

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          There ARE sugar-daddy style sites that have slipped through, by being surreptitious about it. They call it "arrangements" and "friendship deals" and all kinds of other things.

          **clickity clickity**
          (Searches for "Sugar Daddy")

          Sponsored links
          Free Sugar Daddy Dating
          "Best Sugar Daddy Fishing Hole" --
          The N.Y. Times. Free for Girls.
          SeekingArrangement.com/Join-Now

          Meet Rich Sugar Daddies
          Gorgeous & Wealthy People for Dates
          Get Spoiled Now! Join 100% Free.
          MutualArrangements.com

          Date a Real Sugar Daddy
          Sexy Sugar Dadd

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by clone53421 (1310749)

            Since I’m at work, can you do the same search for “cougar” and see what comes up?

            Searching for an explicit term (with safe search off) likely un-censors the ads.

  • And now what? (Score:4, Informative)

    by courteaudotbiz (1191083) on Tuesday May 18, 2010 @10:56AM (#32252888) Homepage
    If the site still exists, and am looking for an older woman to have some fun at night, I'm sure that Googling "Cougar dating" should give me satisfaction, instead of having an ad displayed from time to time making me think that I like to be a toy boy...
  • by elewton (1743958)
    I've seen a lot of spam for these kinds of site, so there may be a valid reason for closely examining them, but if this is an editorial decision, it's repulsive.
  • by Kabada (1436459) on Tuesday May 18, 2010 @10:57AM (#32252910)

    Well, cougar do pose a greater risk to family safety than most daddies.

  • by notommy (1793412) on Tuesday May 18, 2010 @11:00AM (#32252938)

    Once again, another story that has NO impact on the readers of /. Neither "hot older women" nor "cute young men" can be found here. Thanks for reminding us you jerk!

    If would be a different story however, if google had banned a site for women seeking basement dwelling fat people.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 18, 2010 @11:00AM (#32252950)

    For their new Cougar Life, the first cereal to stay completely dry in milk.

  • why (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 18, 2010 @11:06AM (#32253038)

    why do we always need to self-censor? Who said the web needs to be "family safe"? Why are companies voluntarily following 1950's morality codes that the FCC imposes on broadcasters?
    and what's offensive about women looking for some love'n?
    It seems like in this country love is the biggest taboo of all

    • Who said the web needs to be "family safe"?

      The Web is just following the Golden Rule: Those with the Gold, make the Rules.

      And Moms and Dads with small children have more money to spend on ads and media than teens and 20-something hipsters.

      • by tsm_sf (545316)
        And Moms and Dads with small children have more money to spend on ads and media than teens and 20-something hipsters.

        No they don't. Where would you get an idea like that?
    • Re:why (Score:5, Insightful)

      why do we always need to self-censor? Who said the web needs to be "family safe"? Why are companies voluntarily following 1950's morality codes that the FCC imposes on broadcasters?

      Why do many neighborhood grocery stores not stock porn magazines? Who says grocery stores should be "family safe"? Why do the owners voluntarily follow 1950s morality codes?

      Because it's their damn store, and they don't want to. They don't like it, they don't want to see it, and they don't want to deal with the people who supply it.

      Freedom includes the freedom to sell what you want, not just buy what you want.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Because it's their damn store, and they don't want to. They don't like it, they don't want to see it, and they don't want to deal with the people who supply it.

        And what happens when they're the only store in town, or when all the stores adopt the same policy?

        Freedom includes the freedom to sell what you want, not just buy what you want.

        In that case, the only thing standing between freedom and tyranny is a handful of managers personal opinions. And that is exactly what has happened here. These "cougars" have

        • Re:why (Score:4, Informative)

          by Terwin (412356) on Tuesday May 18, 2010 @01:12PM (#32254856)

          And what happens when they're the only store in town, or when all the stores adopt the same policy?

          Then you open up your own store and cater to the neglected demand.

          Simple as that.

          No one can force me to sell anything in my store I do not want to sell.

          I can't stop you from setting up a store down the street to sell it, but I can keep it off my shelves.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Hurricane78 (562437)

      Well, with most of your population infected with religious schizophrenia, and a giant industry exploiting it, it’s no surprise that this is still strong. (You know that the reason sex became a taboo, is that literally every human by definition likes it, and so everybody becomes a “sinner”. Which is very useful, because if you then paint some horror scenarios of how “sinners” will be punished, you got a nice way to command your servants, by telling them how to “free themse

    • Re:why (Score:4, Insightful)

      by CannonballHead (842625) on Tuesday May 18, 2010 @12:39PM (#32254404)

      Love != sex. Sex != love.

  • by damn_registrars (1103043) <damn.registrars@gmail.com> on Tuesday May 18, 2010 @11:09AM (#32253082) Homepage Journal
    The problem is that the two are not often compatible. The site for older men trolling for younger women likely intentionally does some obfuscation to hide what they are after. The cougar site, however, is relatively unambiguous by name. In the same light we seldom see political advertising that pushes facts, most political ads (the ones on slashdot being excellent examples) instead push rumors, half-truths, and outright lies.
    • by Exitar (809068)

      The cougar site, however, is relatively unambiguous by name.

      Could not be the opposite for young people? I assume that for a 8 years old child, the name "CougarLife" would seem related to big cats habits.

      • by Bakkster (1529253)

        The cougar site, however, is relatively unambiguous by name.

        Could not be the opposite for young people? I assume that for a 8 years old child, the name "CougarLife" would seem related to big cats habits.

        I expect this is the bigger issue: advertising adult sites with 'generic' keywords. When you search for cougars or bears, the advertisements should be for animals, not older women dating young men or hairy gay men respectively.

    • I think the Sugar Daddy site is WORSE than Cougar Life. The former is explicitly about young girls hooking up with old guys in exchange for money. It's barely camouflaged prostitution. Cougar Life, at least, isn't explicitly about money changing hands.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by MBGMorden (803437)

        What the hell is so evil about money being involved? Aside from an outdated puritanical moral code, sex is (illogically) about the only thing that's legal to give away but not to sell. If you're going to argue about the merits of monogamy and how prostitution can spread STD's then I can assure you - a casual "hookup" site is on just as shakey of ground there compared to outright prostitution. Afterall - it's not the money that causes STD's - it's sex with casual or unfamiliar partners.

  • because of the pervasive censorship, and announces a strong anti-censorship stance, even in engaging in a hopeful (although a little hamstrung) effort to show themselves as friends of transparency:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2010/apr/20/google-google-street-view [guardian.co.uk]

    but on the other hand it engages in a strange, fossil pre-'The Graduate' sort of hysterical moral panic that doesn't even exist (as a compelling widely believed opinion) in western countries anymore:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Graduate [wikipedia.org]

    even if you are so cynical as to say google has no real allegiance to transparency and truly fights censorship, that it's just a pr campaign, the contrast here is so galling as to nullify even the pr campaign on a surface level

    therefore, this has to be a case of google losing some coherence in internal corporate guidelines. there's going to be some meetings, some people are going to get a stern email, and this decision will be reversed by higher ups

    as to say this decision is hypocritical of google is putting it mildly

  • by Atmchicago (555403) on Tuesday May 18, 2010 @11:18AM (#32253196) Homepage

    Considering I had never heard of them before, I'd say that by cancelling the contract Google has done the service the biggest favor yet! I imagine most people out there hadn't heard of it, either.

    • by canajin56 (660655)
      Ha, if you ever read cracked.com articles, you'd know that their filters are in a never-ending war of escalation against cougarlife.com spambots who pop in to every comment section to brag about the hot milf they're fucking, who they found on cougerlife.com ;) Bizarrely, the other dating site locked in this war is some site that goes after tall women who like short men...
  • It's probably just me, but the phrase "nonfamily safe" doesn't seem to parse all that well. Personally, I read that as "safe for non-families". So, if I wanted to go to that site with some friends, so long as I am not related to them, it would be acceptable. However, once my wife enters the room, it becomes non-safe.

    On second thought, that's probably an accurate interpretation.

    • by vlm (69642)

      However, once my wife enters the room, it becomes non-safe.

      On second thought, that's probably an accurate interpretation.

      Oh that's awkward alright, but its even worse when Mom walks into the room, given the purpose of the site. Now, that's "nonfamily safe".

    • It's probably just me, but the phrase "nonfamily safe" doesn't seem to parse all that well. Personally, I read that as "safe for non-families".

      This is called a bracketing paradox [wikipedia.org], and it's commonplace in natural languages. The classic textbook example is nuclear physicist, which doesn't mean "a physicist who's nuclear," but rather "an expert on nuclear physics."

  • You know if other parts of the world it's called MountainLionLife.com, Puma.com, or even PantherLife.com
  • by N0Man74 (1620447) on Tuesday May 18, 2010 @11:29AM (#32253354)

    A coupling of an older man with a younger woman has a greater chance of bearing children than that of an older woman and a younger man.

    It seems to me that the Cougar scenario contains more safety from creating a Family than the other

    • by canajin56 (660655)
      Cougar Life advertises to WOMEN as "Look for a caring young man to love" with a picture of a man and women holding hands and smiling. Nice and family safe, I'd agree, except for the accepted definition of a "cougar" being an older woman on the prowl at the bar for a quickie. But the ads targeting at Men (i.e. on tech sites) are pictures of naked women covering their breasts with their hands. And they're not advertising "love and a steady relationship" they're advertising "hot women who need you BAD". Th
  • by tverbeek (457094) on Tuesday May 18, 2010 @11:32AM (#32253396) Homepage

    This is just a tactical move in Google's spat with Apple. They're banning the term "Cougar" before Apple can use it as the name of its next OS X release.

  • Actually searching for Cougar still brings up ads for Cougarlife.

    It also brought up a Google ad for "cougarfling". I wonder if Cougarlife has done something to annoy Google, or if Google is legitimately trying to be family safe -- if so, they should be refusing to display any ad of this sort.

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