Unaware to millions of gun and knife owners, the Google search engine is censoring advertising by reputable businesses even remotely involved in the industry. Neither guns, gun parts, knives or any websites that sell any such products are allowed to advertise with Google.
While Google “reserve the right to not run certain ads, or certain categories of ads”, gun owners, knife owners and gun related business are largely unaware of this fact. Google users, by using the Google service and searching for their favorite products, are supporting an anti-gun business directly censoring gun owners.
Contrary to their claims, Google does not have a stated public policy restricting advertisments and advertisers to “approved” products - or disapproved products for that matter. Their terms and agreements:
adwords.google.com/select/main?cmd=Doc&page=TermsAndConditions.html have nothing to say about the matter.
Yet Google does: “We are able to run your advertisements on Google as long as you are not directly advertising guns and knives.” Although Bowman’s Brigade does not sell guns (only parts), we do have some knives now available.
However, Google goes even further with their “assorted weapons” policy: “At this time, we are not running advertisements for assorted weapons (knives and guns) which are considered unacceptable according to our policy.”
The elusive “policy” alleged by Google does not exist. Apparently some heavy handed censorship is at work, making up the list of “approved” products. What this product list actually is is anybody’s guess.
They do however allow advertisers for sex and pornography websites. I'm unwilling to search any further and find out what else they "approve". I guess gun owners just don't make the grade.
To appease Google, website that have other "approved" products would have to drop their "non-approved" product lines. Such a stance by Google is utterly intolerable.
Please note that the three ads disapproved were as follows:
Best Night Vision Prices!
Night Vision, Weapon Sights, Scopes
Goggles, Binoculars, Infrared www.BowmansBrigade.com
Best Storable Food Price!
Dehydrated, Freeze Dried, over 1500
Items since 1996! www.BowmansBrigade.com
National Match Barrels, Recoil
Reduction Springs, Compensators www.BowmansBrigade.com
Although these ads did run for about 12 hours, they were promptly removed. To any intelligent person, no guns are advertised, nor knives in the ads. While knives are available on the Bowman’s website, guns are not. Only parts. Yet such parts qualify as “firearms” according to Google and are banned, yet other questionable website advertisers are approved.
Clearly, this is censorship and should not be tolerated. No conscientious gun owner should use the Google web search engine for any purpose. Their refusal to advertise a legitimate business and support the politically correct socialist environment today should be vehemently opposed.
Let your voice be heard here: email@example.com
If you use Google, but love guns - give these socialist a piece of your mind.
A few other comments here:assaultweb.net/ubb/Forum1/HTML/222587.html
Gear - Guns - Grub
Preparations for the 21st century
Sent them the following message today..
Just to remind you folks of our second ammendement rights... K-Mart made decisions in reference to selling handgun ammo because "Rosie" got to them.. They were boycotted by most gun owners and NRA members.. There are a bunch of us out there folks.. Til now we have also been Google users.. This too, may change..
I sent them this... just what I could think up and send in a few minutes. Not nearly as fine a work as some of the guys here come up with.
To whom it may concern at Google.com,
What is going on with your Politically Correct advertising criteria? A friend was recently denied the ability to place an ad on your service because he was selling barrels for a firearm. What is that all about? Are these items illegal? Are they regulated by the federal government? Of course not! What is happening here is that you are subjugating law-abiding people for what you think "might" happen if these items are sold over the internet... fact is gun barrels, knives, firearms and other 'bad' things, as you see them, are available anywhere in this country. What you have in this instance is just another retailer looking for an outlet for his product, to reach the millions of people who use the internet to find good deals on all sorts of items and services. Would you deny an ad for baseball bats? Why not, since baseball bats are used every year to commit violence against people? Or what about car parts? Cars, as it is well known, cause more deaths every year than all the lives lost in the entire Vietnam war, on both sides! Why not extend your heightened sense of morality and civic duty to helping abolish the immoral trade of repair and replacement parts for these truly killer machines? Sounds dumb, huh? Thats what your censorship of firearm-related equipment sounds like to us, people who understand and enjoy firearms for what they are; tools. Nothing more, nothing less.
I've enjoyed using your site and search engine to this point, but unless this policy changes quickly, I will not only find another outlet to use, I will also encourage everyone I know, on the internet and in person, to do the same.
Another business ignorant to the fact that guns and knives do not kill people, people kill people. Laws regarding gun ownership will typically have no effect on a criminal, because the criminal doesn't care if he breaks the law! The only person that is going to suffer from this ignorant anti-gun garbage is the law abiding citizen, the firearms enthusiast and/or collector. What this country needs is some restructure of our Justice System and stiffer penalties for criminals, not restriction on firearm ownership. Sorry to rant, but this topic really fires me up.
I have never used Google, and guess what, I never will. While Ebay also took an early stance not to sell firearms, they spelled it out clearly in policy for all to see, and this was quite acceptable. Google should take some lessons from others before they shoot themselves in the ass (no pun intended)!
Thanks guys. Damned sad state of affairs a business owner can't make a go of it because of censorship. I'll have to find some other place to advertise.
You know - a list of gun friendly businesses of all types would be really cool. Plus a list of anti-gun business, although I suspect these exist (or should) someplace. Anybody know?
You can always check the Handgun Control Inc. site for their list of HCI friendly businesses. Several of those have been approached recently about their being included and have back-peddled quickly and apparently asked HCI to remove their name.
Here's what I sent:
I am disappointed to learn of your rabid anti-gun position.
Self-defense is a basic human right ( www.a-human-right.com). The ability to use modern tools for self-defense is perhaps even more beneficial to women than men. Predators often see women as easy prey. Women are probably likely to spend more time alone with children, whom they ought to protect.
Unfortunately, people cannot rely on the police to protect them. 911 response times are measured in minutes, not seconds. Unfortunately, 911 calls often do not change the outcome of a crime.
A man or woman's right to defend him or herself does not end at their front door. People need protection outside of their homes, as well.
Since we are all on our own in an emergency, we should be able to use the most effective tools available: firearms.
And to see your company refuse advertising from companies that are gun-related, but not even selling guns or ammunition is highly objectionable! Perhaps you should take a lesson from Smith&Wesson or Kmart on incurring the wrath of America's gun culture.
Or just look to other successful companies that have dodged the bullet. Dell Computer Corporation was recently faced with charges of having policies discriminatory toward gun-related businesses. While it turns out that their policies really weren't that bad, they just gave the appearance that they were and many, many gun-owners were ready to pounce. Read Dell's statement and find out how you, too, can come away from this situation unscathed:
What is a good alternative site for web searches?
Ted Kennedy's car has killed more people than my gun! F**ck google... let them know it and lets hope they follow K mart and Rosie into the grave soon.
Anything but google!
Their liars too. Do a Google search on "hunting knives" or "hunting". Apparently the DO allow a few advertisers. I wonder why the inconsistencies?
Watch out for search engines that use other search engines (i.e. Google) to obtain their search results.
I usually use Metacrawler and Lycos or Altavista-- I wonder if they also use Google?
Anyone know? I haven't had a chance to look it up...
both guns and knives?
atleast they're consistant...
I have only used them a couple of times, I prefer yahoo
Good work, Aimless. Well-written.
Do you know how Google is affiliated with Yahoo? What's the connection?
Here's the latest thing I sent:
Thank you for taking my comments into consideration. However, until this policy changes, I will not direct my browser to Google.com. I will also avoid search engines that hit Google. And, I will advise all the gun owners on the net and the gun owners that I know personally to do the same. I will go out of my way to hurt your business and help your competitors.
However, if this policy does in fact change, please make that decision public so I may continue to use your service.
Date: Sat, 09 Mar 2002 01:16:45 -0000
Subject: Re: company policy [#172016]
> Thank you for your email. At this time, Google does not permit
> advertisement of guns or gun parts on AdWords. We do appreciate
> your feedback concerning self-defense, and we will take your
> opinion into consideration during our policy review. We understand your
> views, and we do hope that you continue to use Google in the future.
> Please note that the decisions we make concerning advertising in no way
> affect the search results we deliver. We will continue to show search
> results for guns, gun parts, and related products.
> The Google AdWords Team
Oh for christ's sake.. another boycott?
Here's the short answer: Google is THE BEST SEARCH ENGINE there is, PERIOD. That's why I use it.
Contrary to the ultra-right-wing rhetoric so prevalent around here, I don't make EVERY choice in my life based on a private company's 2A stance.
BTW, don't bother castigating me in this thread.. I'm not going to be checking it. Save your vitriol for some other hapless cause.
Right on, again.
PHASE II: seek out the sponsors.
Can anyone help compile a list of contacts of Google advertisers?
An AR15.com Army of One
Sorry, hit-and-runs are not allowed.
If you are too lazy to lift a finger, that's fine. But DO NOT criticise the people who actually TRY TO DO SOMETHING.
Google: "Sorry, gun money is no good here."
Yeah, this is hapless alright.
Could someone make a web page that will organize all of the anti-gun companies out there? there are so many to try and keep up with...
Include company information (location, phone, contact, presence on the web, url, etc.) and their last known public statement? Also keep a history of everything (emails, contacts, etc.), which users could possibly update and add more companies, listing their experiences and comments from the companies. Maybe also list the tpo 10, and group with its affiliates, etc...
Sent them an email.
Aerrin, Wouldn't think of castigating, or even vilifying you.
But we both know you'll just have to sneak a peek.
Crookshanks: OK, you got me. I owe you a beer :)
Maddog: no sir, I'm not lazy at all.. I just don't believe that me using Google contributes anything to the anti-gun cause, unlike buying Levis or shopping at Kmart, two businesses actively CONTRIBUTING to anti-gun activities.
I'd much rather aid the Second Amendment by converting new shooters and being a good example to those around me, rather than shadowboxing some faceless internet company. If they TRULY don't want to hear from gunowners, a simple "SELECT ALL -> DELETE" makes every single one of your angry emails meaningless.
I think it is important to understand my other ads for night vision and dehydrated food were deleted precisely because Bowman's also sells pistol barrels.
Google's claim that they don't run gun ads is their business - but they DO run ads for night vision and dehydrated food (I checked).
So why were my night vision and dehydrated food ads banned? Simply because Google is taking the politically correct road and censoring the websites they are willing to advertise.
It's not an issue of Google saying "gun ads not allowed", which they have the right to do as a private enterprise. If only that were true, my night vision ads and food ads would be running now.
Google, by refusing to advertise websites that have even a hint of firearms or knives is practicing censorship to gun owners everwhere. The reason why we should avoid using this company ever again is precisely because of that.
It's very simple - everyone that uses Google supports this censorship. This issue is far bigger then a website seeking advertisement. It's about the Second Ammendment not being infringed.
Infringing on gun owners, web surfers and gun related businesses is prohibited by the Constitution. While such battles rage all around us, this is one we can easily win if we band together.
This is an excellent idea.... This is the sort of thing I hoped to achieve with a RKBA/Activism/Politics forum here, but you can' t beat a web site with complete info.
I'm glad that we agree on some things. I guess we differ when it comes to defining what constitues "CONTRIBUTING" to anti-gun activities. I would say that Google's activities ARE anti-gun.
I hope you don't think that this is an excuse to blow off steam by flaming low-level support personnel. There is a larger purpose to this. Some of us do start with the end goals in mind. My second email was rather heated because they had the audacity to suggest that I continue using their site after they confirmed that they do in fact discriminate against gun-related advertisers. I wanted to make sure they knew where I stand.
First, we can email the company directly. Sometimes this is all it takes. Consider the recent example at Dell where Michael Dell came out with a statement before it hit the press.
However, if this alone will not do it, we go for the throat. As the Romans used to say, "Pecunia loquitur" (Money talks). This may be as simple as doing our purchasing elsewhere. It can include encouraging others to do the same. We can also go after sponsors, advertisers, etc. When a company starts hearing negative things from their bread and butter, they will think twice. Most of these companies are not in the "policy" business and it is not worth rocking the boat to take a stand on an issue unrelated to their core business.
And then we can go to the press. On the recent Dell issue, there were articles on Wired.com, the Austin-American Statesman, and many other mainstream publications. PR people have nightmares about that sort of thing.
Energizer is right on the money. We need to be better organized. We need to identify our enemies, and focus on them one at a time. We need to be active. Think of the impact we could make if 1/10 of the registered users here would send one email per month.
I'm not going to let that earlier "right-wing" potshot slip past me, either. RKBA is bigger than left/right, black/white, male/female, urban/rural, straight/gay, etc. Any person brave enough to fight for RKBA can drink from my canteen any day. Including you.
Some news for you guys: Anybody here a member of JPFO (Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership)?
They've got a link to Google on their home page under "Top Rated Search Engine" - I've contacted the webmaster but he doesn't seem to get it so far. Some of you guys might want to send him a reminder - I'm sure they can promote a gun friendly search engine.
The Citizens Committee for the Right To Keep and Bear Arms (CCRBKA) has also run a short news link on this issue.
I've created a update on this issue, much of what some of you have already read, but it does contain all of Google's emails to me and their pity responses: www.bowmansbrigade.com/google1.htm
Momenentum is key as we all know. Keeping this on top and pushing forward will bring to bear the public pressure needed to reverse this policy.
Google's response to all of you and to me has been rather poor in my view. A much wider audience is needed to expose this anti-gun bias of Googles. You guys who are members of other organizations and bulletin boards might consider posting a link to this site.
I'm still waiting on a response to my email...
as I posted here www.ar15.com/forums/topic.html?id=99279
I don't go to a search page for ads
google has one of the best search algorithms out there, and one of the largest databases
when I want a gun pic to post in one of the many forums I post at, I use google. I find stuff everytime. Their image search is great.
When I've wanted some history on guns such as AR's or AK's I went to google. Found tons of stuff
just searched for "ar15" top 2 results were for www.ar15.com
I think you are missing the boat, here.
Sure, Google has been a great search engine - it's just that none of us knew that they were discriminating against gun owners before. At least I didn't know. I think it's pretty obvious by now Google has made a policy stance here - and it is most definitely NOT in our favor as gun owners. If we hope to change this, we're going to have to say something about it to these guys. They'll probably fix it, if not, then as so many others have already said, they can go bye bye just like Kmart. Write them here firstname.lastname@example.org (it's working) and keep up-to-date here: www.bowmansbrigade.com/google1.htm.
Actually... go to www.google.com and type in "Bowman's Brigade".
Look at the "Sponsored Link" section (basically an advertisement) and you'll see TAPCO prominently listed along with the fact that they sell gun parts to military weapons.
Bowman's Brigade may have an argument for poor customer service or wishy-washing ad policy. It could be that Google just didn't like the ad and doesn't have the spine to say why; but I haven't seen any convincing evidence that they are anti-Second Amendment yet.
So far they've denied the Bowman's Brigade ads while accepting similar links with TAPCO. That seems to suggest this issue isn't as black and white as it sounds.
Last but not least, I'm puzzled why so many people are willing to devote time and effort harassing people using an affiliate program (used by both HCI and pro-gun groups) or emailing Google in support of a disputed ad program; but ask them to write their congressman and zip, zero, nothing.
I've now seen this subject and heated discussions on it on most of the firearms boards and frequent and even on non-firearms boards. Yet, when KeepAndBearArms ran this story (www.keepandbeararms.com/newsarchives/XcNewsPlus.asp?cmd=view&articleid=1321) showing how your tax dollars are used to buy and spread outright falsehoods about gun ownership in our public education system, nobody even bothered to yawn.
I'm all for pro-2nd grassroots activism; but one of the first things we need to learn to do is prioritize and pick our battles smartly.
Yes, they did accept ads from other night vision suppliers and food companies. It was their reason for denying our ads that is what matters here. This issue is NOT about Bowman's Brigade or the wording of the ads. The issue is their policy.
They've made it pretty clear that they do not allow advertising from gun related businesses - yet why their oversight and discrepency with outfits like Tapco, I do not know.
The nixed ads are posted on my website for anyone who wants to see it. But I think you're missing the point here. Google made the statement (three times) that they will not run the ads because there are gun related products on my website. If that's not discrimination, I don't know what is.
It wasn't the ads, or the wording of the ads in question. It was the fact that Google picks and chooses who they allow to run ads - apparently based on what's for sale on your website.
I'm just a little guy who got mad because I'd finally found some affordable advertising - and got nixed because I sell pistol barrels. I find this highly troubling.
Why would you knock activism against this issue? Doesn't make sense to me. Gun owners need to be aware of ALL the issues - we each pick and choose which ones we can and will fight. This one has generated a huge amount of interest for several reasons. We're running on the heels of Dell's defeat. Gun owners are fed up with the demonization they seem to endure on every front.
While this issue is not as important as many of the gun issues that we are fighting, it IS an issue which should be resolved and can be resolved relatively easily - public pressure on Google.
Jack Weigand of Dell computer fame warned me that there would be individuals within the gun community itself that would attack this debate - and me as they did him. Although I don't feel that your comments are an attack, they do seem to be an attempt to mislead the charge here.
Bartholomew - I just checked. Tapco is NOT listed under sponsered links. In fact, they don't have an ad running at all. Either you have been misinformed, or you are misinforming us. Which is it?
Well, I'm glad that you don't feel that my comments aren't an attack - since they weren't; but the great thing about the Internet is that it allows us to share information.
I don't agree that sharing information is "an attempt to mislead the charge" and I think the fact that Google is letting TAPCO use adwords in direct contrast to what they told you is information that both you and other readers would appreciate.
Where did I knock activism on this issue? I said we need to prioritize and pick our battles better.
What do we win here? Google will take your money to advertise your product? I question why you would want to give money to people who you don't believe support the Second Amendment to begin with? Why don't we boycott television and radio since many of them don't accept such ads either? If we're going to be consistent, we should at least look at that issue as well.
I think this is a battle that:
A) You'll lose - Google faces far more liability from accepting paid advertising from sites that sell guns or gun parts thanks to legal harassment from groups like HCI than they would ever gain in ad revenue.
B) Even if you do win, the only thing pro-rights people have won is the right to give our money to a company that was timid about taking it.
In my opinion this makes your particular issue a questionable battle and a low-priority one. I can see why you would have a different opinion; but there you go.
WTF? I went to www.google.com and typed in "gun parts" (in quotes) and got 29,500 entries, many of them advertisers and gun parts companies, gunsmiths and vendors.
'Splain it to me, Lucy.
I looked on www.Google.com, and found something very interesting...
Here is ONE category, out of several categories. I picked the one most-likely to have shooting accessories and knives...
Guns and Accessories
This lists several places that carry firearms, parts, knives, self defense items, etc...
Here are just a few names on the list, LISTED IN THE GOOGLE DIRECTORY!
Pepper Power - http://www.udap.com/
Offering a pepper spray defense system against bear attacks and personal survival attacks. Offers online ordering and testimonials.
Gamaliel Shooting Supply - http://www.gamaliel.com/
Offering supplies for hunting, reloading, and targets.
Bright Sights - http://www.brightsights.com/
Offers high visibility coating applications to improve pistol and gun sights for sports shooting and hunting, also offers an online shopping.
J & M Hunting Supply - http://www.shootnhunt.com/
Offering over 12,000 online hunting and shooting products.
Pop Guns - http://www.popguns.com
Pop Guns is a gun accessory and tactical knife and equipment supersite. Law enforcement supplier for various Indiana agencies.
Ammo Bank - http://www.ammobank.com/index.html
Offering gun ammunition for sale for rifles, pistols, shotguns and more.
Outdooredge Knives - http://www.outdooredge.com.au
We offer Spyderco knives, Gerber, Buck, Cold Steel, Leatherman, Surefire, Columbia River, Kabar, Smith & Wesson , swords, torches, sharpeners for knife collectors/users at discount prices.
J.T. Knives - http://www.jtknives.com
We carry custom and production knives, Navy SEAL watches, night vision, and much more.
Tapco - http://www.tapco.com/store/departments.asp?dept=18&d_name=FAL+Items
Offers shooting accessories for all types of guns.
High Desert Ammunition - http://hometown.aol.com/highdesertammo/index.html
Handloaded ammunition for sale.
Actually, its the option you didn't list. I was correctly informed but it has changed since. I learned of the information from another board this morning and as of 9:00AM CST, TAPCO was listed as a special "Sponsored Link". I verified it myself with my own two eyes before posting to this thread. Apparently Google has changed this.
I understand that you have a personal stake in this and I don't so you don't consider it in the same light I do and that affects your tone on this issue; but I would like to point out that I didn't offer the TAPCO information and say "Either you are misinformed or you are misinforming us. Which is it?".
Commentary like that fragments groups and keeps them divided and weak. Fighting amongst each other instead of reminding them of what they have in common - in this case a strong belief in the Second Amendment. If nothing else, let's remember that even though we may have strong opinions about the best way to pursue that goal; we both share the same goal to some degree. Please accept that I can think that this is not the best use of time or resources and yet still share many of the same goals as you.
I appreciate your comments Bartholemew. Your news that Tapco WAS listed as a sponsored advertiser is quite revealing. I will take your word for it that they were indeed once listed. I don't know if anybody here knew that, nor did I.
I really did think you were misleading us here, since I couldn't find their ad - but I stand corrected. You said they were - I found out they were not. That's all it was.
Interesting that Google or somebody (Tapco?) pulled their advertisement already. Soemthing is obviously going on here.
What I feel we can win here is fair treatment for gun owners. Pure and simple. Public awareness that our $$ are supporting a search engine that is biased and restrictive upon gun owners and gun businesses cannot possibly hurt our cause.
I agree that we should not give our business to businesses that are anti-gun / anti-Second Ammendment - but why should we ignore this particular battle?
As for not winning, you're not privy to the onslaught of email I've received or the national support that is building. It's rather tremendous already. Organizations around the country have agreed to support this. Maybe we won't win, but we can sure try. Even if we lose, we can also simply ignore Google and use somebody gun friendly. Bringing this issue to light cannot possibly hurt us. It can also serve to rally the troops so to speak and make us, the gun owners aware of how we are being discriminated against.
As a side note, tt's possible that this issue is a violation of Title 15 under "Restrictive Trade" and under "Discriminatory Trade Practices". Brighter minds then mind would know.
To the rest of you guys who seem to think that search listing are advertisements - they are not, they are simply ranked search placements. Anybody can get placed there. Even Bowman's is found there.
It's getting difficult to keep repeating this, but our ads were deleted according to their prejudice - while other similiar companies were not - only because we sell pistol parts. How many people are they doing this to? Google's stated reason was that they will not allow gun related advertisers to advertise. This is not about one gun related website being denied advertising space. It's about a major search engine company that has an unstated policy descriminating against gun owners and gun businesses.
If you've not read this, please do: www.bowmansbrigade.com/google1.htm
Well, I sincerely hope you prove me wrong - although I also sincerely wish that level of attention was directed at issues where I think it would do more good for the cause.
Having said that, I'd definitely contact TAPCO. My guess is that Google pulled their link once they became aware of the contradiction (Here's a further confirmation of the link from a non-firearm, lefty-oriented site - www.plastic.com/article.pl?sid=02/03/10/2219253&from=rdf).
If TAPCO paid money and Google accepted it and ran the link and then backed out, then you've got more material for both legal action and seizing the moral highground.
Since it just happened today, TAPCO may not even yet be aware that they are paying for something they aren't receiving.
Google's AdWords (most common way to advertise) is charged on a hit by hit basis...so they probably aren't paying for something they aren't getting. IE, twelve searches had keywords that tapco was looking for, then they only got charged for 12 hits.
I wrote google to see if I could get a copy of their advertising policy. Their spider just ran across my webpage this weekend, too.
Dogpile.com is supposed to be another fine search engine, I haven't used it much till now.