Thursday, August 13, 2009

Sorry for the Scientology Google Ads

I have just spent today trying to get out of my blog. I noticed it a while back and I am sorry if any readers clicked on the deceptive ads only to find themselves on the scientology website. The ads advertise themselves using "Love" and other warm, fuzzy, words to attract readers. If you click on the flash ads they will take you to

I tried to block the ads following Google's instructions on banning ads. The instructions are far from clear (read the section "Finding the Ad URL" which caters only to IE or Netscape users). And what is worse, nowhere on this page is there this warning (which I found only on another page): "Please do not click on your own ads to determine the destination URL, as this is a violation of our program policies. To determine the URL to filter, please review our Competitive Ad Filter Guide."

How stupid is that? Instinctively that is what users would do to try to find the ad URL. That is what I did - not that it helped at all. In the end this was what I did in case you want to do the same: Go to your adsense account, click on adsense setup, then type in the URL you don't want - in my case

Hopefully it will work but not according to this Computerworld writer who wrote a month ago Why is Google adsense doing the bidding of Scientology?":
"My Google AdSense seems to be infested with Scientology ads. I am not sure why but I can't get Google to remove them from my site. It's not a random ad, either. It seems like every single time an ad comes to my site from Google, it is Scientology.

I am not necessarily anti-Scientology...But this is outrageous. Scientology is every ad block 24 hours/day for over a week now. My readers have rightfully started complaining and I'd really like Google to stop. If they are paying Google an exorbitant amount to advertise, I am not seeing any difference in my CPM rates. So, I've tried just about everything in my power to get them removed.

Google being Google, they haven't made removing specific ads very easy. I've done the requisite posting on AdSense forums with strangely no answer. I've also researched competitive ad filters and put every Scientology URL in the filter. To no avail. The Scientology ads keep coming...I've also tried to call someone at Google. If you have ever tried this, you know that is a joke. I can't even get past reception. Way to serve the 99% of your revenue base!?!?

I don't want to get into conspiracy theories but Google also removed the Anonymous AdSense account. Anonymous was the group that was exposing some internal Scientology stuff (I don't follow this stuff too closely). Google also killed a Youtube account of an anti-Scientology crusader who was about to publish an expose on Scientology. They also removed, another anti-Scientology website's links.

I don't think Google is doing the work of Scientologists. I just think they are getting a lot of cash from them and don't want to deal with their litigation tactics.

But, you'd think that Google would be more friendly with their publishing partners. I may only serve up 3 million pageviews a month but they are practically begging/forcing me to go to one of their competitors.

And honestly, I don't care if there is an odd Scientology ad on my site. But this is ridiculous. What am I supposed to do?"
Well, unlike the writer, I do have something against scientology, which is on trial in Paris where it is accused of organised fraud.

You can read this expose of the sect by the St Petersburg Times here and this Aug 2 report More Church of Scientology defectors come forward with accounts of abuse. One woman wrote about her experience on the Cult Help website. She says Quentin Hubbard, son of scientology founder Ron Hubbard, committed suicide at age 22 because he could see no way out of the trap he was in.

Google should take a page from Wikipedia and limit scientology's use of the company's technology to push the church's agenda. In May, Wiki banned the church from making edits because they were pushing their agenda too much, thus closing the longest-running court case in Wiki's history. Because honestly, like the Computerworld writer, I will dump Blogger, owned by Google, for one of their competitors (hello, wordpress) if this continues.

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