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Censorship Google Idle Your Rights Online

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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  • 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

  • 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.
  • 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.

  • Re:Well... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by magarity (164372) on Tuesday May 18, 2010 @11:18AM (#32253206)

    Except on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, Sundays, after 4pm, if it makes us lots of money or if we just cant be bothered with our fake holier than thou image
     
    Wow, you didn't even bother to the summary or even the headline before you gratuitously bashed Google. This is about turning down ad revenue because of some holier than thou impulse, not making more money no matter what.

  • Re:why (Score:3, Insightful)

    by 2obvious4u (871996) on Tuesday May 18, 2010 @11:23AM (#32253274)
    It is a shame that a vocal minority can spoil something for another silent minority. Hell it sucks that a 60/40 split can dictate to a large minority.
  • by qoncept (599709) on Tuesday May 18, 2010 @11:38AM (#32253476) Homepage
    If you can't laugh at yourself...
  • 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.

  • by mea37 (1201159) on Tuesday May 18, 2010 @12:03PM (#32253868)

    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.

  • Re:why (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Hurricane78 (562437) <deleted@s l a s h dot.org> on Tuesday May 18, 2010 @12:05PM (#32253898)

    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 themselves from their sins”.)

  • 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:Well... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by brainboyz (114458) on Tuesday May 18, 2010 @12:29PM (#32254244) Homepage

    As much as guys complain about the drama, they really should look at Cougars. Sure, they have drama, but orders of magnitude less than the young models. They're single, have their own life, and don't need you mucking it up; do your thing and then she doesn't care until next week.

  • Re:why (Score:4, Insightful)

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

    Love != sex. Sex != love.

  • by Antisyzygy (1495469) on Tuesday May 18, 2010 @12:39PM (#32254420)
    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.
  • Re:why (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 offended the sensibilities of one or more people in powerful positions at Google and guess what; 65% of searchers will not be exposed to the concept of "cougars" anymore, exactly what minority intended. "Cougars" are being ostracised and pushed underground because they offend the one of the great "powers that be" of today; Google.

    "Cougars" are not the start of this either. Google recently forced dozens of manga sites to remove their adult content or else Google would stop supplying them with AdSense revenue. Google were not advertising these sites--the sites were financing themselves using Google AdSense and were forced to purge their "adult" content in order to retain it. In short, this "cougar" purge is part of a wider change in attitude at Google, which is finally beginning to use its muscle to mould the web in its preferred image. That preferred image is probably something more akin to 1950s America. Google's next target after "Cougars" will probably be something like "interracial" dating sites, or whatever else the current AdSense execs disapprove of.

    Power corrupts. Google is run by human beings and they will attempt to use their power to force their opinions on others. Expect this corruption to spread across the entire company, if it hasn't already.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 18, 2010 @01:11PM (#32254822)

    Right on - I'm sure Google doesn't care that you want to hook up with an older man/woman. They're not even banning the ads per se (they're still available on google.com - search for "cougar"), but given A) the connotations of cougar (on the prowl, looking for sex - see also urbandictionary) and B) the ads I've seen/heard from them are of the form "you could be banging a hot divorcee tonight!" - well, if I were making the call, I'd call it "Not-family-safe" as well - and that takes them off the content network.

    So, why would they do that? They don't allow adult content, because there are plenty of advertisers who wouldn't want it on their site. Google takes a conservative approach and says "not going to chance it" - when the alternative is a cougarlife ad eventually popping up on something like: http://www.ccu.edu/athletics/ - can't imagine it would go over well.

  • Re:Actually... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MBGMorden (803437) on Tuesday May 18, 2010 @01:25PM (#32255074)

    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.

  • Right about that (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mathmathrevolution (813581) on Tuesday May 18, 2010 @01:26PM (#32255096)

    I've seen this again and again. Too many young women are just bad at life. They might be attractive, fit, and successful at their jobs, but outside of that there is isolation and void and fear. And much like their cars and their computers, they want to dump their unhappiness on Mr. Man for him to fix it. I don't mind reinstalling Windows every now and then, but I am not a spiritual healer and if my loving doesn't take away the pain, I don't know what will.

  • by clone53421 (1310749) on Tuesday May 18, 2010 @02:15PM (#32255758) Journal

    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.

  • Re:Well... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by spazdor (902907) on Tuesday May 18, 2010 @03:43PM (#32257004)

    It's evil to use your advertising clout to promote a version of 'family friendliness' which is couched in outmoded and sexist ideas about age differences in relationships.

  • by foxylad (950520) on Tuesday May 18, 2010 @09:36PM (#32260032) Homepage
    I love how everyone is equating the political suppression of a billion people with refusing to advertise a sex site. They are very different things, on many levels.

"A mind is a terrible thing to have leaking out your ears." -- The League of Sadistic Telepaths

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