Thursday, May 23, 2013

Much Ado About Nothing
Remember last night how I said that I was going to start putting in ads so I could make a little bit of money off of my blog and attempt to make some sort of career at out of this?

Yeah, forget I ever said that.

Little did I know that one didn't just magically put ads on your blog. No, one had to APPLY to Ad Sense and be approved. Which worried me a little, because I remember someone I follow on Tumblr having to remove a bunch of "suggestive" pictures off of her blog so she could continue to monetize it because AdSense was threatening to pull out if she didn't. She runs a 1950s sort of style blog and the only thing that could cause problems would be some pin-up photos or something. Her blog was pretty "safe for work" and I was astonished that she would have problems.

And so, I started scanning the AdSense Content Guidelines (which can be found here). They will not support blogs that have this sort of content:
  • Pornography, adult or mature content
  • Violent content
  • Content related to racial intolerance or advocacy against any individual, group or organisation
  • Excessive profanity
  • Hacking/cracking content
  • Illicit drugs and drug paraphernalia content
  • Sales of beer or hard alcohol
  • Sales of tobacco or tobacco-related products
  • Sales of prescription drugs
  • Sales of weapons or ammunition (e.g. firearms, firearm components, fighting knives, stun guns)
  • Sales of products that are replicas or imitations of designer or other goods
  • Sales or distribution of coursework or student essays
  • Content regarding programs which compensate users for clicking ads or offers, performing searches, surfing websites or reading emails
  • Any other content that is illegal, promotes illegal activity or infringes on the legal rights of others
I don't have these sorts of things so I figured I would be okay. The excessive profanity had me concerned, but I don't swear that much. Yes I swear - I am human. But I honestly didn't think it would be a problem.

And maybe that wasn't it. But I got an email this morning, less than twelve hours after submitting my application which simply stated:
Thank you for your interest in Google AdSense. Unfortunately, after
reviewing your application, we're unable to accept you into AdSense at
this time.

We did not approve your application for the reasons listed below.

- Adult content
I'm not going to lie; this angered me. Greatly. The email further explained:
Adult content: Currently, only Google ads that we classify as family-safe
are available through the AdSense program. We've found adult content on
your site. This includes text or images that contain sexual, lewd or
provocative content, and sites that require users to be at least 18, or
that may not be safe for work. Therefore, we're unable to display relevant
ads on your site.
To which I can only say:
It's not even the profanity that got me in trouble. It's "sexual, lewd, or provocative content."


Hmm... on second thought, maybe I shouldn't have referred to Google as "evil overlords." More than once. Or maybe there's just too many picture of attractive people on my blog.

But in all seriousness, this has me really concerned. If I can't currently put ads on my blog, how would I have to change it so I could? How would I have to change what I want to create to make money? Who exactly does AdSesne think they're targeting? I understand that they don't want to support pornography blogs or things that could be harmful. But just because I discuss sensitive issues (and not even that sensitive; I refrained from writing about female genital mutilation earlier on - count yourselves lucky), doesn't mean that you should bar me from monetizing because I'm not "family-safe."

By the way, what the hell does "family-safe" really mean? It's as vague as the day is long.
Google, I know you're reading this and storing data and keeping tabs on me and planning to run your "evil checker" on me and making sure I'm not wreaking havoc, at least within your idea of the term (ironically, I was going to tell you to Google search "evil checker" - anyway, search it or read this Huffington Post article and see what Google may have planned for keeping users within their policy guidelines. I'm not paranoid but... I don't like it). Ultimately, I no longer have to feel guilty about having ads on my blog because I CAN'T have ads on my blog. Well played, Google, well played. I guess I can't really be that upset about it. But if they do think my blog adult content... what does that mean if they ever start cracking down on who's doing what?

Word of the wise, Google: don't make an enemy out of me. I may not be important in the blogosphere because I don't get a million views a day, but neither am I utterly irrelevant. I may be little, but I am fierce. Don't decide that you don't want to support a blog like mine or content like mine.
There are far worse things out there. And far better things too. I'd like to think you won't support my blog because I swear and because I don't get enough views for you to think it worth the effort rather than refusing because you find my particular line of thought threatening or you feel uncomfortable supporting me because everyone might not agree with me. Fine. Don't allow ads on my blog. But don't tell me what I can and can't (within reason) do out here.

Especially this:

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