Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Why I Hate Google Ads

Yesterday, I wrote a piece disparaging Power Line blog for hosting an ad for a site called BetonIraq.com. This site is promoting a particularly dubious investment in Iraqi Dinars, an investment scheme that has been called a scam by XE.com, a major currency exchange site, and CNN.com amongst others.

I then proceeded, as I often do with posts that may appeal to a larger audience, to submit the article to Blogcritics.org, a group blog of which I am a member. Now, Blogcritics has those insidious Google ads at the top which are automatically populated with messages based on the text of your article. So, say, you write a post about how Paris Hilton is a skanky ho, you're bound to get ads for her special home video. It's the same concept behind those extraordinarily unappetizing Spam recipe ads that appear whenever you're checking your Gmail spam box. (I just got one for Spam Hashbrown Bake. Serves 8!)

Lo and behold, my article denouncing the dinar scam, as it appears on Blogcritics, has some damned dinar ads at the top of it. Here's how it looks from a recent screenshot:



The gentlemen at Power Line noticed and wrote a little piece making fun of me and Blogcritics. Understandably, of course, because I look like a terrific hypocrite. That's why I hate Google Ads. That's why I don't now and never will have them on my blog.

That said, I still stand behind my article. Website owners are ultimately responsible for what's on their sites, unless they're hacked or something like that. That goes for Power Line, and it goes for Blogcritics as well. As for the Power Line ad, it's not an automatically generated Google Ad that the site owners have no control over. It's a big, honking graphic ad on the sidebar. According to John Hinderaker's post, they have the ability to accept or reject these ads.
As we've said before, we do not censor Blogads based on content. We accept any ad that is not offensive on its face. Once, we even accepted an ad by the Democratic National Committee. We do not endorse the products or services that advertise on our site.
By logic, if they can accept ads that are "not offensive", they can also reject them. I understand that they don't "endorse" their advertisers, but they are responsible for having this ad up there. If, in fact, the ad is promoting a scam, they can't just hide behind the "we have no control" argument. They do have control, and they choose to keep it up there. It's their right to do so. And it's my right to point that out if I want to.

As for Blogcritics, I wish they didn't have those ads and it truly is out of my control. I didn't know they would appear, but now that I do, well, that just plain sucks. It's not the first time I've come off looking like a moron and I can promise it won't be the last.
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