CYBERSPACE — Google’s recent decision to ban advertising of adult-oriented websites through its AdWords advertising platform has, understandably, shaken the adult industry, as well as open Internet champions beyond the XXX curtain.
Joining the polyphonic skeptics is BaDoink CEO Todd Glider, who penned an open letter to the search engine behemoth today, questioning and criticizing its decision to amend its policy to bar adult companies from advertising via AdWords.
In particular, Glider considers anti-porn group Morality In Media’s (MIM) public announcement of personal victory, citing a meeting between Google and the so-called “family values” group where the latter asked the California-based company to eliminate sexually explicits ads and any linkage to pornographic material, “no matter how benign their advertising.”
Glider writes, “When an organization as visionary, powerful and dominant as Google starts kowtowing to shrewd, faith-based special interest groups with federal lobbyists like Patrick A. Trueman at the helm, it’s a sad day for freedom, and a sad day for IT.”
Further, he highlights a seemingly unassuming addendum tacked on to its Sexually Explicit Content policy that reads, “We don’t allow this content regardless of whether it meets applicable legal restrictions around this kind of content.” Google’s statement restricting “graphic depictions of sexual acts” lurks alongside a slew of illegal content (at least in the U.S.), such as child porn and prostitution, which, read too fast, could be mistaken for an alarming tautology.
Google, as Glider notes, has made a name for itself with the mantra “Don’t Be Evil” and has previously advocated for freedom of expression in nations laden with heavy government repression and censorship, like China. Google's new policy restriction is made more salient and uncomfortable amid its progressive history, Glider suggests.
“Google, I implore you: Take refuge in the law, and resist the urge to pander to zealots,” Glider urges near the end of his letter. “Whatever your decision, nobody is ever going to mistake you for Silk Road. Save yourself from shouts of hypocrisy, and an ancillary rash of youngsters sporting Google is Evil and/or Google Über Alles T-shirts.
“Those of us working in adult entertainment are not saints, but we’re not pretending to be. We’re in the business of entertaining adults, and we don’t expect any petitions for canonization. But then, nor do mortgage lenders, agro giants or even, dare I say, search engine pioneers at the top of the e-commerce food chain.”
BaDoink.com, billed as "a Playboy for the 21st Century," features no nudity (not even a bare nipple!), except behind a member's pay wall. And yet, Glider insists, Google seems to discriminate against the site with an artificially low ranking in search results.
To read Glider's letter in full, click here.