While Google hates sex, you would agree that from time immemorial, sex has been the most expressive way to express love between two human beings.
By Rakesh Raman
July used to be a monsoon month in India’s capital New Delhi where I live. People would relish rains almost every day – and night, of course. But for the past few years, it doesn’t rain much in July and the entire month goes without rain. The same happened this year too, as July was dry.
Scientists would perhaps reason that the changes in weather conditions are because of global warming or something, the concepts that commoners like me fail to fathom.
As I believe in the sayings of Indian scriptures which say humans are now living in Kalyug or Kali Yuga (the Dark Age or the Age of Downfall), my instincts tell me that these negative changes are happening because of Kalyug.
This period descends on mankind when virtually humans eat humans. In other words, Kalyug signifies the period when human atrocities on other human beings reach their extreme.
Kalyug began a little early in India, as Indians have been facing the cruelty of foreign and local rulers. But this year, I had the bitter taste of corporate cruelty when Google hit me hard and virtually threw me out of work. Ostensibly, the reason cited by Google for this cruel act was its extreme hate for anything related to sex – even the word, sex.
When I opened my eyes on a July morning, it was sunny and serene as usual. After a brief workout, I switched on my computer and opened my news website that I have been editing for the past four years.
There was something unusual on the site. What? I couldn’t figure out for a moment. I refreshed the page in my browser. But the effect was still the same. On a closer look, I discovered that the editorial content was intact, but there was a huge white space on my website where actually Google ads would appear.
I used Google AdSense ads on my site. But where have the ads gone? I twirled my eyes gently thinking it could be because of morning nausea. But instead of Google ads, the blank space stared me in the face and with a heavy heart I realized that ads have gone from my entire site.
I waited for a few hours thinking that it could be a temporary glitch on Google’s side. But no. As a dead man never returns from the grave, the Google ads didn’t come back to my site. Although I hardly earned anything from Google ads, I loved them selflessly. Love is supposed to be selfless, I believe.
So, now like a lonely lover I started running helter-skelter to see the ads again. And this scramble brings me to Gmail that I rarely use. I opened my Gmail account where I saw an e-mail dated July 23 from Google AdSense.
The content of the mail was simply shocking. It was a warning, in fact. Here’s what the Google AdSense mail said:
This is a warning message to alert you that there is action required to bring your AdSense account into compliance with our AdSense program policies. We’ve provided additional details below, along with the actions to be taken on your part.
Affected website: ramanmedianetwork.com
Example page where violation occurred: http://www.ramanmedianetwork.com/survey-finds-women-love-and-own-sex-toys/
Action required: Please make changes to your site within 3 business days.
Current account status: Active
Google ads may not be placed on adult or mature content. This includes fetish content as well as sites that promote, sell or discuss sexual aids.
I felt disturbed, depressed, dismayed, and dejected. I never thought I will be penalized for this kind of content because the articles that I carry about sex or relationships on my sites are highly educative and informative. Believe me, this is not a porn site. These are not vulgar articles and I get them as press information from highly reputed sources. [ You can read these articles for yourself. ]
As Google warned, I can’t even remove these articles because I have worked hard to edit and post them. Moreover, the links of these articles are embedded in different related articles on multiple news sites that I manage. It will disturb the user experience if I remove these articles.
And incidentally sex-related articles are extremely popular because people want to get health-related information from these articles. While Google hates sex, you would agree that from time immemorial, sex has been the most expressive way to express love between two human beings – and even animals.
Plus, I have been carrying such articles on sex education and trends for many years along with Google AdSense ads. Earlier, Google used to remove the ads from those pages where these articles appeared. But this time, it removed its ads from my entire site with the warning message stated above.
Now, the story begins. Just a few days before Google removed its ads in July from my site, I had started using ads from another ad network along with Google AdSense, because Google ads are not remunerative. As an online content publisher, it’s my prerogative to put any ads that I like to improve my ad revenues.
But Google would have taken it as a case of promiscuity and in sheer arrogance it removed its ads from my site and sent me the warning message citing some policy terms.
I was not as disturbed by the removal of ads from my site as I was from the fact that Google has done it projecting it as a morally upright company. Most who are familiar with the tech markets know that Google has crossed all limits of corporate immorality.
Here are a few cases that show true colors of Google.
In 2012, Google agreed to pay a record $22.5 million civil penalty to settle Federal Trade Commission (FTC) charges that it misrepresented to users of Apple’s Safari Internet browser that it would not place tracking “cookies” or serve targeted ads to those users, violating an earlier privacy settlement between the company and the FTC. This privacy settlement was stated to be the largest FTC penalty ever for violation of a Commission order.
Last year, environmentalists appealed to Google to remove thousands of ads from its Japanese Shopping site that promote products for sale from endangered whale and elephant species. The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) wrote to Google CEO Larry Page, requesting immediate removal of over 1,400 ads that promote whale products and as many as 10,000 ads that promote elephant ivory products on Google Japan’s Shopping site. Surprisingly, the ads were contrary to Google’s own policies, said EIA.
Just a couple months ago, a new Digital Citizens Alliance investigation found that rogue operators are selling credit cards, bank logins, and social security numbers on popular websites such as YouTube, a Google property. In its report, Digital Citizens Alliance made strong comments on Google’s wrongdoings.
“The sad takeaway from the report is that YouTube continues to be used by rogue operators to conduct criminal acts, and not only does Google allow it to continue, but they profit from it by selling ads,” said Tom Galvin, executive director of Digital Citizens. “We’d expect this on Silk Road or other dark corners of the Internet, but not by Google.”
Surprisingly, a company allegedly involved in all sorts of unscrupulous activities and corporate wrongs decides to harm a tiny entrepreneur like me by removing its ads and sending intimidating warning messages. Isn’t it strange and paradoxical? It’s the height of hypocrisy that Google has demonstrated. Now I am using ads from another network.
While I have not yet recovered from the shock that Google has inflicted upon me, I decided to share my experience with all of you with the hope that it will bring some solace to my hurt feelings in the dark days of Kalyug that Google brings for earthlings.
Since it was a “noreply” mail from Google, I couldn’t present my point of view. Hence, I write this article.
By Rakesh Raman, the managing editor of RMN Company