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Censorship Google Idle Your Rights Online

Google Stops Ads For "Cougar" Sites 319

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, 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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  • 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 ) on Tuesday May 18, 2010 @11:00AM (#32252948)
    I just searched for some sweet cougar action, and google was happy to advertise appropriately., however, comes up a fair amount in spam, and isn't advertised.
  • 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.

  • Re:why (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 18, 2010 @11:19AM (#32253226)

    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

    Because people have complained loudly enough that it became Google's (and others) best interest to self censor.

  • Bracketing paradoxes (Score:2, Informative)

    by Estanislao Martínez ( 203477 ) on Tuesday May 18, 2010 @12:02PM (#32253854) Homepage

    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 [], 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."

  • Re:We do not care :( (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 18, 2010 @12:30PM (#32254258)
    It could be both!
  • by Antisyzygy ( 1495469 ) on Tuesday May 18, 2010 @12:40PM (#32254428)
    Quite a few older women are attractive and dont have large asses or saggy breasts.
  • 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 []? (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 the advertising department was told in an e-mail message from its Google representative that "the policy is focused particularly around the concept of 'cougar dating' as a whole," and asked if the company would be open to changing "the 'cougar' theme/language specifically (including the domain if necessary)." CougarLife forwarded the e-mail messages to The New York Times. Google would not comment on the messages but did confirm that they were consistent with the new policy on cougar sites.

    "It's just wrong all around," Ms. Opdenkelder said. "It's age and gender discrimination. It's just about older, successful, independent, strong women who enjoy someone that's younger. Some of the men sites, they are borderline prostitution, and Google has no problem having them advertise." CougarLife said it was considering filing a discrimination complaint with a Canadian agency that oversees equality issues between private parties, and was looking into possible legal recourse in the United States. is owned by Avid Life Media, which also owns, which describes itself as "the original Sugar Daddy service catering to ambitious and attractive girls seeking successful and generous benefactors to fulfill their lifestyle needs!"

    Avid Life Media executives said that while some specific advertisements for the ArrangementSeekers site had been rejected, the ads were evaluated on a case-by-case basis and the site was still advertising with Google.

    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. And the proof is right in TFA. It could not be any clearer a case of sexism!

  • 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.

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

    Date a Real Sugar Daddy
    Sexy Sugar Daddies Want You!
    Elite Upscale Dating At Its Best.

    Sugar Baby - Sugar Daddy
    Meet Beautiful Women
    and Successful Men

    Sugar Daddy Online Dating
    Date Rich & Beautiful People
    Find that special someone for FREE

    Surreptitious. Riiight.

  • by jluzwick ( 1465485 ) on Tuesday May 18, 2010 @01:10PM (#32254816)
    Cougar Life advertises themselves as a sex-finding network for Older ladies. On XM, they routinely play cougar life advertisements on the Comedy Raw Dog channel and these advertisements bluntly state, "Don't you wanna f**k a cougar" REPEATEDLY. I know these specific advertisements containing overt references to sex just started, maybe Google just noticed these and changed the status of the site from casual dating to a sex-finding site and therefore labeled the adverts as adult links.


  • 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:Well... (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 18, 2010 @02:08PM (#32255678)


  • by clone53421 ( 1310749 ) on Tuesday May 18, 2010 @02:13PM (#32255738) Journal

    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 and

    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 thing that I’d wonder (and I don’t want to investigate it while I’m at work, obviously) is whether the websites themselves, and the ads they were running, were similarly explicit for CougarLife vs. the other two sites. If so then yeah, there’s some indication of a double standard, but IMHO more suggestive (ha!) of the probability that the other sites fell through the cracks whereas CougarLife got flagged immediately because of its explicit domain name. TFA indicates that the DateAMillionare website does use the words “sugar baby” to promote itself, though it wasn’t clear whether or not they used that language in the ads or only on the website itself.

  • by Rarzipace ( 1055746 ) on Tuesday May 18, 2010 @11:22PM (#32260672)

    If you'd read the article, you'd know that sponsored ads are excluded from the ban; the cougar ads will not show up in the content network ads--e.g. in advertising space on other sites, such as (but not limited to), YouTube, or MySpace. Apparently the policies for ads appearing on the so-called content network and for those appearing next to search results are separate.

    That being said, even after CougarLife suggested changing the ad to use one that didn't show an older woman with a younger man (instead showing only a (presumably attractive) older woman), Google declined, asking whether 'the company would be open to changing “the ‘cougar’ theme/language specifically (including the domain if necessary)”' (from the NYT article).

    Not clear whether they wanted this merely from the ad or from the whole site, however. If the former, it's fair to say the 'sugar daddy' sites are getting by via being surreptitious about language. If the latter, it's harder to defend them disallowing a cougar site but allowing the suggar daddy or 'arrangements' sites.

    Not really familiar with the content network ads for the sugar daddy or 'arrangements' sites, but if GP is correct that 'sugar daddy' is not allowed but 'arrangements' is then it seems most likely that this is a matter of disallowing ads using the word 'cougar' in a sexual conquest sense rather than the concept of a cougar dating site.

  • Re:why (Score:3, Informative)

    by TapeCutter ( 624760 ) * on Tuesday May 18, 2010 @11:51PM (#32260836) Journal
    As another poster said, words have meanings. Tyranny is what you get from a tyrant, in politics it's a violent and oppressive dictatorship such as Stalin's regime. Mandated health insurance by a democratically elected body is in no way tyrany, calling it as such simply dilutes the meaning of the word tyranny to "some rule I don't like" which in turn trivialises the true horrors suffered by people living under a tyrant.

    A couple of definitions for Tyranny:
    1. Dictatorship: a form of government in which the ruler is an absolute dictator (not restricted by a constitution or laws or opposition etc.)
    2. A government in which a single ruler (a tyrant) has absolute power; The office or jurisdiction of an absolute ruler; Absolute power, or its use; Extreme severity or rigour

The only possible interpretation of any research whatever in the `social sciences' is: some do, some don't. -- Ernest Rutherford