RightMarch.com Claims Liberal Bias in Google Ad Rejection

RightMarch.com Claims Liberal Bias in Google Ad Rejection

BY Kate Kaye | Tuesday, May 3 2005

Could Google's ad screeners be biased? The world of search engine marketing is fraught with stories of Google rejecting ads submitted to its system for all sorts of reasons, including trademark-infringement. Now RightMarch.com claims that the stringent Google censors were politically partisan in rejecting a text ad that featured the same exact copy as one placed by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

According to Bill Greene, President of RightMarch.com, the conservative organization thought it would be funny to replace the name of Republican House Majority Leader Tom Delay with that of Democratic Senate Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, in a parody of a DCCC Google ad that read, "The Truth about Tom DeLay, Learn about DeLay's many scandals and help us clean up the House!"

As part of its ongoing nationwide pro-DeLay "Expose Democrats' Hypocrisy" print and broadcast campaign, RightMarch placed the anti-Pelosi text ad last week, according to Greene. Although the RightMarch ad did not appear in Google search results for “Tom Delay” today, the DCCC ad, as well as a host of anti-Delay ads from other left-leaning groups, were viewed by this reporter on the search site until early-afternoon today.

“I see this as intrinsic liberal bias at Google,” explains Greene, referring to USA Today findings that 98 percent of the $207,650 Google employees gave federal candidates in the 2004 elections went to Democrats. “They overlooked all of the anti-DeLay ads that violate their stated policies, but didn't overlook our anti-Pelosi ad.”

Google says that both ads were shown on the site once originally submitted by the advertisers, but were taken down following human review. “Both ads were taken down,” asserts Google spokesman Michael Mayzel. “Any assertion to the contrary is false.” Apparently the the fact that the RightMarch ad copy was nearly identical to that of the DCCC ad had nothing to do with the rejection of the RightMarch ad.

Google says it bans defamatory ads that paint a person or organization as corrupt or scandalous. However, a cornucopia of anti-Delay ads resulted from a "Tom Delay" search on Google earlier today, including an ad from the Public Campaign Action Fund that declared plainly, "Tom DeLay Should Resign." Google ads placed by groups advocating against John Bolton's UN nomination have also been prevalent in recent weeks. For instance, a search for “John Bolton” today on Google prompts an ad for Diplomats Against Bolton which states, “Diplomats Oppose Bolton.”

While Google refuses to comment about specific advertisements, Mayzel comments, “We welcome political ads and apply our policies equally regardless of the views of the advertiser.” As noted on the RightMarch site, Google says it pulled the RightMarch ad because its “policy does not permit ad text that advocates against an individual, group or organization."

As stated in Google’s AdWords Content policy, “Stating disagreement with or campaigning against a candidate for public office, a political party or public administration is generally permissible. This standard applies to everyone who wants to advertise on Google, whether we agree with their viewpoint or not.”

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