Sabotage by Google

There's a certain danger to making use of the "Ads by Google" feature that is available to users of Blogger and other similar services. Take for example the case of Philokalia Republic, a fine blog run by Kevin Jones who is perfectly sound, as far as I can see, in matters of faith and morals, and yet today his blog sported an ad for Illinois abortion clinics--generated at random simply by virtue of Kevin's many attacks on the morality of abortion.

Last year I noted a similar phenomenon occurring with use of the CafePress thingamajigg, which sometimes displays Catholic, sometimes anti-Catholic merchandise in its little window when used on a Catholic blog. I think that one has since been fixed, but using "Ads by Google" is clearly playing with fire.

Comments

Christopher said…
I believe Google provides a way to censor certain ads, specifying which parties you don't want to advertise. But yeah, if you aren't careful it can happen.
Kevin Jones said…
Crud. When I look under my blog's abortion-labeled posts, I only get a public service announcement so I can't look for offending ads. Besides, ads are often location-targeted.

The censorship feature is substandard, to say the least. It's very hard to blacklist a whole industry, and I can block each individual website only if a viewer relays to me the offending address.

I'm trying to nurse my ad account over $100. I'm already considering restricting adspace only to my language site at semi-fluent.com, where offensive ads are much less likely.
Mike L said…
Scott:

I'm getting so fed up with Google for a number of reasons that I'm thinking of switching my blog to Wordpress and replacing the Google Ads. The only obstacle is that I haven't had time to research and work out the technical issues involved.

Best,
Mike

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