Last week, CougarLife.com, which was paying Google $100,000 a month to manage its advertising and place it on content pages, was notified by the company that its ads, which had been appearing since October, would no longer be accepted.
Google confirmed that “cougar” would now automatically place a site into the adult category, but would not say which other words would do that.
“We can’t comment on specific advertisers, but our policy is that adult dating ads are classified as nonfamily-safe, meaning that they will not show on the Google Content Network,” the company said in an e-mail message.
Google continues to allow similar advertising for the many sites that match older men and younger women, like DateAMillionaire.com, which assures its clients they can meet “sugar babies.”
We have a policy that has been inconsistently applied. From this should we assume that:
a) The inconsistency implies some political/social stance of the controller.
b) Policies aren’t applied consistently across large companies.
c) Who cares, whatever makes the story more sensational wins.
To elaborate, the front page of cougarlife.comhas a picture of two people having sex on it, along with a fake screenshot of some gigolo-type fake personal ads (as compared to the quite normal ones on the other site). It doesn’t seem like such a stretch to call it an “adult dating site,” and it’s pretty obviously not “family-safe.”
Also, while I’m well acquainted with the concept of cougars, this is the first time I’ve heard the term “cub.” Does anyone else think that’s just really creepy?
The truth is probably somewhere between A & B: the way that policies are inconsistently applied across large companies is often indicative of the dominant corporate culture within the company. Sometimes it’s an interesting comment about commonly held values within our society that we didn’t realize were still prevalent.
However, to believe C is both lazy & irresponsible. The linked article isn’t an example of sensational yet empty journalism. It discusses something that’s actually newsworthy.
It is obviously a gray area in the world of dating sites between is the site focused on helping people find a relationship or simply a sex partner. Google has to draw a line somewhere, and website devoted to helping men find a sexy young Russian/Latin/Asian woman is a least somewhat more likely aimed a marriage, than a cougar site.
When I worked at Intel my (female) boss was in charge of the Intel Inside program, which reimbursed computer manufacturer for advertising expenses as long as the ad displayed the Intel inside logo. I remember she was pretty upset when a major computer manufacturer wanted reimbursement for ads they ran in Playboy. She drew the line at Playboy, and Playgilr but decided that Penthouse (as well Hustler, High Society and gay magazines) were out. Is there that much difference between sexual content of Penthouse and Playboy? not really, is the perception different? absolutely.
As I long time Playboy subscriber, I guarantee I can find pictorials in Playboy (especially the Special Editions) that are as explicit as the typical Penthouse pictorial. I can also find pictorials and model that are in Penthouse which would be fine in Playboy. The perception of course is that Penthouse is porn, and Playboy isn’t porn and the ad world perception= reality. This is same situation Google faces with Cougar vs DateAMillionaire, one is perceived as sex the other as match making. Reality is unimportant which I don’t think the author grasped.
Doesn’t Penthouse show penetration and urination in many of its pictorials? It’s not about the overlap, where some of the pics are as tame as Playboy’s, it’s that many of them overlap more with Hustler.
Exactly (and I have not bought a Penthouse in ages but have seen them) but the perception is Penthouse has toys, lots of girl girl, beaver shots etc, and Playboy has none of that. The reality is different according to friends who subscribe to both.
Anyway I wasn’t trying to threadjack this into a Playboy vs Penthouse discussion. Simply pointing out that Google decisions to classify Cougar ads as adult and others as family friendly was most likely not gender discrimination. It was based on public perception.
When I think of CougarLife I think of sex, when I think of Dateamillionaire I think of a relationship (albeit based primarily on sex.) I suspect (and I bet Google may actually know) that CougarLife would generate more complaints to the website administrators.
Put it this way if every member of Big Brothers quit tomorrow and joined NAMBLA and every member of of NAMBLA quit and joined Big Brothers, I suspect it would be a decade before NAMBLA ads were allowed on family website. You could argue tell you were blue in your face that both organization help older men connect with young boys and even if Google, and the advertisers knew that NAMBLA no longer had pedophiles it simply wouldn’t matters, because public perceptions change slowly.
I think the problem is probably that porn sites have adopted the word “cougar” as a marketing term for any porn starlet over, say, 28, resulting in a dependable flood of adult-site hits when the term is searched.