Freedom of advertising AUG 29 2002
Daryl Westfall, the creator of the thank you for financing global terror stickers writes in to say that his ad got pulled by Google. The ad in question reads:
A Full Tank Of Terrorism?
Controversial sticker educates them while they're standing at the pump!
Here's an excerpt from the letter he received from Google:
"At this time, Google policy does not permit the advertisement of 'Hate/anti' on our website. We also do not permit sites that sell these products to advertise on Google. As noted in our advertising terms and conditions, we reserve the right to exercise editorial discretion when it comes to the advertising we accept on our site."
Others have called Google's rejection of ads "censorship", hoping to cash in on that term's Constitutional connotation, but Google has the right to reject whatever ad they want. It's just advertising and Google isn't the U.S. Government.
Because of Google's position as a nearly essential Web tool, it's unfortunate that they won't run this particular ad as is and I wish they'd change their mind, but they've got legal liability to worry about. Not running certain types of ads, even though some legitimate ads might get pulled unfairly, limits their liability. Hopefully Daryl can rephrase his ad and get it back on the site.
If you want to point fingers, point them instead at America's lawsuit-happy citizenry and corporations. The duels of yesteryear are outdated; there's plenty of satisfaction to be had in the courtroom and everyone from insurance companies to the families of tragedy victims to goofy Hollywood-backed cults to computer manufacturers to people too stupid to know that coffee is hot is glove-slapping the faces of anyone unlucky enough to get in the way.