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       Tuesday, January 24, 2006

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Blogger News Network Discontinues Google Ads

In response to the decision of Google to gain access to the Chinese market by censoring its search content, Blogger News Network has reached the difficult decision to discontinue running Google's ads on our service. As a news organization with aspirations to earning public trust, BNN must act ethically in its financial dealings. Accepting money from a company which is putting profit above its ethical obligations to stakeholders would represent a lapse in that ethical stance.

BNN would like nothing more than to resume running Google's AdSense advertisements. On the day when Google announces that it will make its services available in China only in conformance with democratic and freedom-oriented values, we will happily resume our business relationship with Google. Until that time, however, we cannot be fiscally associated with a company that does business in this manner.

Other bloggers must, of course, reach their own ethical decisions concerning how they wish to structure their advertising. BNN does invite journalists, magazines, blogs, and any other entity with a commitment to values of democracy, freedom of speech, and truth, to discontinue running Google's advertising. A list of blogs and other entities which discontinue their Google ads in response to Google's tacit endorsement of the Chinese government's anti-democratic policies will be maintained here. Submit your blog's name here.

Blogs Discontinuing Google Ads

Blogger News Network
The Argument Clinic
Baseball Musings
DrAmor's Blog
Alabama Improper
Ramblings of a Reaganite



Blogger News Network is advertiser-supported, and your visits to our advertisers help BNN to meet its expenses. Help keep us afloat!

posted by Robert at 8:35 PM  

35 Comments:

John said...

Okay what would you like, not give the Chinese access to Google? The Chinese government won't care and the people won't know. At least access to Google in some form (note that Google will mention when results are censored) will promote a more open society than what it's now.

Also this restriction of the Chinese government only applies to the Google server run in CHina. So the Chinese people can still get past the restriction by accessing the Google.com server in the US.

11:33 PM  
Robert said...

John, you're arguing in the alternative. ("I've never seen that dead girl in my life, and it was self-defense!")

If the Chinese people can avoid the censorship by using the US-based Google.com, then how would Google continuing that status quo be "not giv[ing] the Chinese access to Google"?

I would like for Google to stand up for democratic and truth-seeking values - as their corporate philosophy espouse - and decline to do business with countries that behave as China does.

11:52 PM  
Kate said...

I don't run Google ads on my blog -- but if I did, I wouldn't.

To be fair, though, China isn't the only country in the world who censors their citizens' internet access in some way (for instance: try looking up something about Nazis on any German server sometime).

1:05 AM  
Robert said...

Kate - I don't really agree with the German policy, either, but it's an attempt on their part to prevent Nazi activity among the German population. Which, I can understand.

If the Chinese come out and say that the reason they're censoring the existence of the Tiananmen Square massacre is that they wish to check an unfortunate tendency on the part of the Chinese government to slaughter its subjects, I'll consider reversing the policy.

1:18 AM  
Lonnie said...

Yahoo!, Cisco, MSN and now Google are part of a very dangerous movement here: Profit over principles.
Everyone is smelling money in what will be the world's largest Internet marketplace.

Kudos to you Robert for standing up for what is right. I cannot access dozens of blog hosting companies because of censorship provided by U.S. companies to the Chinese government.

John, There are more than 33,000,000 bloggers here in China and you can bet your butt they will know. Word travels fast these days even in China.

And you are wrong about the Google server in the US: We, in China, cannot see MOST of what is there that is relevant to China,Taiwan, freedom, democracy and a host of others-Cisco sees to that with its NANNY program.

Sites like Wikipedia are censored in part or whole by US based technology. I am stunned that Google is now in on the action.

I am with Robert: I will not support Google until their policy changes. That includes bringing SEO clients to them to spend adsense and adwords dollars.

3:58 AM  
Darnell Clayton said...

Although Blogger News can run whatever ads they choose, I disagree with their decision.

Google, Yahoo and MSN all had their results censored anyways--and they removed the links because users were getting frustrated over clicking "dead ends."

RConversation does a good analysis of the Google Censorship, and compares how Google is at least not censoring its blogosphere like Microsoft or collaborating with the Chinese government like Yahoo.

Google has even provided a disclaimer at the bottom letting users know the results are censored.

Google is not a government, and it would be more effective contacting your congressman than censoring Ad Sense.

PS

I won't mention it here, but Google has left open a "back door" (indirectly I suppose) for users to access information. Those in restricted nations can still get access to their info, although I won't mention it here because I would like this feature to continue operating underground and not share the fate of Google's Web Accelerator.

9:55 AM  
Philipp said...

A brave move.

11:26 AM  
Brad Williams said...

BRAVO!

1:26 PM  
Dave said...

I'm glad someone still understands the concept of ethics! Shame on those who put business above ethical responsibility.

2:05 PM  
Nate Koechley said...

I'm happy to see these issues discussed. The tension between global companies and local laws is one of the most interesting and important discussions of the day.

I commend you, and everyone, for taking a stand. This issue is important, but I think it's great when anybody takes a stand against or for anything. The world has too many passive people.

I'm not sure I 100% agree with your decision, or Google's or Yahoo's or anybody's, but I'm glad there is discussion and growing awareness.

At risk of being "that guy", I can't help but point out that you're publishing on a Google platform. Sure, they don't put cash in your pocket like AdSense might, but it's a financial stake none the less. (It's saving you money you'd spend hosting your own, or publishing on Typepad or Wordpress.)

Again though, I don't want to overly take away from my support of people taking ANY stand.

2:19 PM  
Robert said...

Nate, I'm not going to hide my sites from their search engine or stop using Google.com, either. I'm just not going to take their money.

2:24 PM  
Nate Koechley said...

Thanks for the reply Robert,

I still contend there is a difference. Choosing to establish a business relationship with a software offering, in a field where not all choices are free, is saving yourself the money you'd be spending on comparable products from different firms (or from doing it yourself). There are many free and for-fee services out there directly comparable to Blogger. And beyond money, your business is inseparably and directly tied to Google, Inc.

In contrast, using their free, public and anonymous search engine introduces no standing relationship and establishes no financial tie.

Again, I'm not saying you should, I'm just pointing out that you still have a "business relationship" with them, in my personal opinion. Less so then selling their ads, sure, but I believe the "business" relationship still exists.

Nitpicks aside, I look forward to the day when larger numbers of people like ourselves can exert greater influence in these global issues. Nice job taking a first step.

Thank you,
Nate

2:42 PM  
Nate Koechley said...

Sorry for the multitude of comments. In thinkings further, I guess I was expressing a frustration with the interconnectedness of all issues.

Even if you were to host your site on a handmade computer in your closet using your own blogging software, you'd still be sending your data over wires owned by less-than-inspiring companies, powered by less-than-inspiring energy sources.

Perhaps one of the reasons we don't see more change is that people are paralyzed by this layering. Sometimes it feels nearly futile to take a small stand while realizing that you're still "contributing to bad" in other areas.

Hmmmm. I suppose it's true that every journey begins with a single step.

OK, that's enough from me. Have a nice day.

2:51 PM  
Mark Finnern said...

Censoring happens even in the US.
Try to put the word Hacker or Hack into the name of a Yahoo Group. See: http://www.oreillynet.com/pub/wlg/4493

Sad but true, Mark.

6:41 PM  
BloggingPoet said...

I commend you on your decision to drop Adsence in protest of Google's China policy.

Reality is: In order to compete in a global economy, China needs quality search engines worse than search engines need China. Google should join forces with Yahoo, MSN, AOL, and other search engines in saying NO to Chinese censorship. Instead, all the major search engines just cut each other's throats for their slice of the pie. United, the search engines could beat China at its own game.

7:57 PM  
faeriebell said...

BloggingPoet -- Yahoo and MSN are already censoring content delivered to the Chinese. Google's just another mark on the wall of shame.

I comment you for removing adsense from your site, this capitulation on Google's part had me fuming today.

8:24 PM  
BB said...

I applaud your efforts. Unfortunately unless everyone else jumps on the band wagon you won't make a dent. We destroyed the Soviets economically. It worked then, why not now?

11:35 PM  
Spicy Cauldron said...

An absolutely brilliant idea, here's hoping we can spread this meme around the net fast. We can make a difference. If we can't change the government in China, we can damn well make sure companies that act without conscience are named, shamed and hit where it hurts - right in the stocks, right in the pockets. x

1:06 AM  
Jack said...

I was just pondering how you can stand to use a Blogger blog when it is owned by Google???

6:35 AM  
vivpuri said...

Even if some search strings are banned in US, it's 'cause there is some reason behind it. Banning strings just so that they can kill people is not acceptable. I am also getting rid of adsense from my website. Anyway i was not earning much from it.

8:30 AM  
kirsten said...

Good Golly. I declared war on Google Ads back in June 2004. Nobody listens to women. Come on, folks. Keep up with me....wink-wink:

http://reinventioninc.blogspot.com/archives/2004_06_01_reinventioninc_archive.html#108629106997906294

kindly,
kirsten

11:04 AM  
kirsten said...

p.s. i was hereby informed by Carrie, Google Rep, back in 2004 that I was banned from Google Ads FOR LIFE.

kindly,
kirsten

11:05 AM  
SEO Jim said...

I compliment you on your stand, and have referenced your article on my blog, http://armyofblogs.com/google-the-evil-empire

11:04 PM  
Uncle Pavian said...

So, it's okay (or at least understandable) for the Germans to censor Nazi-related search results because they want to prevent a resurgence of fascism. So, it follows that censorship is okay (or at least understandable) if it advances your specific ideas about a perfect world. At least you're being honest about that much.
What I want to know is, if Google were to censor search results for everybody, how would we be able to tell?

2:32 PM  
Charity Shill said...

Someone will provide search to the Chinese. Any international company has to adhere to the laws of the country in which they operate.

We are not talking life and death here, we are talking about access to information.

China is slowly becoming more free. The USA is quickly becoming less free.

Working with a country headed in the right direction is a reasonable thing to do.

3:24 PM  
gemmak said...

Bravo on the decision but I too am interested in your reasons for continuing to use Blogger, which is owned by google.

11:16 AM  
Wadard said...

I don't think it is as serious as, say the Bush Administration attempting to censor the findings of NASA climate scientists, as in the case of James E. Hansen who directs NASA's Goddard Institute of Space Studies.

Here you have a case of your taxpayer funded government trying to muzzel the controversial climate findings of your finest taxpayer funded scientific body. Apart from the fiscal inefficiency, what right does your government have to assume the role of a filter between new scientific knowledge that can help you, and you?

At least with Google they are making a commercial decision as is their right (from their perspective - the Chinese govt's would be making a political decision) with THEIR own money, not your tax.

I really wouldn't fret, regardless of The US or Chinese governments efforts at censorship, information wants to be free!

5:06 AM  
mb said...

Add two more blogs to the list -- blogs that have historically been generally pro-Google:

www.BuyGoogle.com
www.DontBeEvil.com

It's not too late for Google to take a stand and reverse course. And the media coverage of such an action might shame other collaborators into getting a little backbone as well.

If you're interested in additional ideas for communicating your displeasure over Google's actions, see http://ProtestGoogle.blogspot.com

2:07 PM  
The Cavalier said...

Damn hippies.

We're running extra Goggle ads to make up for you goofs.

6:27 PM  
Hsin-Yi said...

I am thrilled to hear this conscience decision from BNN! While I was getting frustrated hearing again and again about giant internet servers such as Yahoo! Isco, MSN, and skype, putting profits ahead of ethics and being blinded by the made-up economic power of the communist regime, BNN is a clean fresh voice comes out with just and true moral value that is needed in this society. I want to see more of this righteous move from other companies and wish BNN a bright future.

11:46 AM  
ddubb said...

Google is a little full of themselves with this issue, is anyone surprised? If Google doesn't provide the Chinese people a state censored search engine...

"(Google) (e)xecutives have grudgingly accepted that this is the ethical price they have to pay to base servers in mainland China, which will improve the speed - and attractiveness - of their service in a country where they face strong competition from the leading mandarin search engine, Baidu." full article http://technology.guardian.co.uk/news/story/0,,1694294,00.html

Reminds me of what my dad used to say to me when I tried to defend hooking up my friends with weed. I said, "If I don't do it, someone else will." He made it very clear that this is no excuse to be the one to commit the act.

Google has to know that their voluntary participation in this censorship as a condition of doing lucrative business there will lend legitimacy to the propaganda efforts of a tyranical regime. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) uses associations with non-Chinese institutions to "prove" to Chinese people around the world that the CCP is accepted and respected.

" On October 26, 2005, Chen Weiyuan, an editor for a government department, the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs, wrote an article titled "What the 'Chinese-French Cultural Year' Brought to Us." That article says in part, "The success of the Chinese-French Cultural Year is quite an inspiration for our overseas propaganda work. Taking the approach of cultural exchange in overseas propaganda will have a far-reaching and lasting effect and will be well received by the audience…

"Culture is a 'soft' component of our nation's power. Cultural diplomacy is a 'soft' dissemination of our nation's will. Compared with economic diplomacy and political diplomacy, cultural diplomacy is able to have our target audience unknowingly accept our propaganda. Such cultural infiltration through subtle influence cannot be underestimated."

The Chinese-French Cultural Exchange year is just one of several instances in which the Chinese regime has recently adopted a more sophisticated approach to propaganda." full article http://www.theepochtimes.com/news/6-1-14/36959.html

Google has chosen sides. They've decided that potential revenues from the Chinese markets is worth propping up the image of the CCP to Chinese in China and around the world. On the same token, Google's presence in China doesn't add one whit to the fight for human rights inside of China. Chalk it up as a net gain for the torturers.

The CCP is now heavily involved in dissmenating their propaganda in the US and "progressive" Toronto. Productions of a show with the theme built on a tool of torture, a song called "The Same Song", were performed around North America as a show of strength and legitimacy for the CCP.

From the same Epoch Times - Chicago article linked above: "While 'The Same Song' variety show may be viewed as part of a more sophisticated propaganda strategy, it is at the same time undeniably crude. The Falun Dafa Information Center in a statement on its website quotes victims of the CCP's persecution of Falun Gong. Their view: a variety show named 'The Same Song' –much less the performing of this song—is seen as a 'flaunting of power' and akin to "burning crosses by the KKK.'"

So now Fox News, Michelle Malkin and Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International are all on the same page, while "Do No Evil" becomes "Hear No Evil, See No Evil".

Meanwhile, Chinese oppression increases outside of China, including in the US.

http://english.epochtimes.com/news/6-1-1/36402.html

http://www.faluninfo.net/displayAnArticle.asp?ID=9349

5:50 AM  
Jerry said...

It's sad with the political control over china. But nonetheless, wish you luck with your blogads :). Do you mind to spare me an invite of Blogads?

8:04 AM  
Patrick Townson said...

This is all very well and good; I have been a Google Ad Sense account for over a year. Unfortunatly I **cannot afford** to do without them. Between the various places where I use Google Ads, I make about $200 (two hundred dollars) per month on it. It is purely an economic decision with me. If I do not run Google Ads (there appears to be no viable replacement for them which pays anywhere close) then many days I do not eat dinner that night; that simple.

Since I am disabled and rely on my Social Security Disability income the relatively small amount ($150-200 per month if you call it that) which Google brings me makes a life or death difference for me. What should I do? And will the end result make an iota of difference in the long run?

Your stance is quite admirable, I only wish some of us could afford to go the same way. And by the way, BNN, let's talk figures here: how much revenue did *you* sacrifice by your posture? If you were only looking at 20-30 dollars per month, then it was more symbolic, IMO.

Patrick Townson
URL: ptownson.blogspot.com

12:49 PM  
Alabama said...

OK, I'm taking mine down too.

6:06 PM  
LePetitPrince said...

Uh... Google owns Blogger.com
Click on that logo on the top left corner and then on "about" to confirm it.

7:26 PM  

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