Feeds

Google murders second Anonymous AdSense account

Pro-Scientology ads decorating anti-Scientology sites. Wah?

A new approach to endpoint data protection

Exclusive Google has shutdown the AdSense account of another anti-Scientology site.

Three months after cutting off all ads served to Enturbulation, a site dedicated to promoting activism against the Church of Scientology and all its related organizations, Google has done the same with a similar site known as Epic Anonymous.

Earlier this week, administrators at Epic Anonymous received the same email that turned up at Enturbulation back in May. "While going through our records recently, we found that your AdSense account has posed a significant risk to our AdWords advertisers," the email said. "Since keeping your account in our publisher network may financially damage our advertisers in the future, we've decided to disable your account."

Google has not responded to our requests for comment. But it would appear that the company has shutdown the account because it suspects click fraud - i.e. its automated system caught too many people repeatedly clicking on the site's ads.

Alexander Vanino, who owns Epic Anonymous, insists that he and others running the site have not attempted to rig the AdSense system. But he says that much like Enturbulation, Epic Anonymous was littered with ads paid for by the Church of Scientology. That's right, Google was serving countless pro-Scientology ads to an anti-Scientology site.

"I've been doing my best to filter these out through Google's [AdSense] interface," Vanino tells us. "But there were so many of them, from so many different domains, it was really hard to keep up with blocking them. It felt like I was going in every other day and blocking more and more sites."

Though it made no attempt to block them, Enturbulation was also served a regular stream of pro-Scientology ads and a site administrator has admitted its users were repeatedly clicking on the ads. "Google said that it wasn't a complaint from Scientology (or any other organization) that got Enturbulation.org's AdSense account shut down," the admin told us. "It was an unfortunate case of click fraud.

"Some members of the forum wrongly believed that by clicking the ads repeatedly that Scientology would be forced to fund the Enturbulation website when all it did was alert the automated system of possible fraud."

This may be what happened with Epic Anonymous. Or it may have been someone else clicking on the ads. But it begs the question: Why are so many Scientology ads turning up on these sites run by the now famous Anonymous movement, which launched an epic online Scientology protest back in January. Either Google's ad serving algorithms are dreadful or Scientologists are intentionally buying keywords that put their ads onto Anonymous sites. Or both.

In any event, pro-Scientology ads have repeatedly turned up on two anti-Scientology sites. And in both cases, Google has shutdown the sites' AdSense accounts, claiming they "may financially damage" advertisers.

Vanino and Matthew Danziger, another Epic Anonymous admin, believe that Scientology is somehow manipulating Google's system. "Google isn't doing a good job of looking out for its [AdSense] customers. They aren't saying 'We shouldn't be showing these sorts of ads on these sorts of sites," Vanino told us. "And then, from where I'm sitting, Scientology is taking advantage of this, telling Google that by serving ads onto our site, it's causing financial damage.

"So Google goes and shuts us down. In my opinion, they're putting a Band-Aid on a much bigger problem."

It's worth noting that Google's new AdSense policies say that partner sites may not include "advocacy against any individual, group, or organization." But it's unclear how often Google actually enforces this.

It's also worth noting that Google's official rules do not permit advertising "for the promotion of religious content." ®

7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration

More from The Register

next story
PEAK LANDFILL: Why tablet gloom is good news for Windows users
Sinofsky's hybrid strategy looks dafter than ever
Leaked Windows Phone 8.1 Update specs tease details of Nokia's next mobes
New screen sizes, dual SIMs, voice over LTE, and more
Call off the firing squad: HP grants stay of execution to OpenVMS
Startup to take over support for today's Itaniums and beyond
POW! Apple smites Macbook Air EFI firmware update borkage
Fruity firm provides digital balm for furious fanbois
Fiendishly complex password app extension ships for iOS 8
Just slip it in, won't hurt a bit, 1Password makers urge devs
Mozilla keeps its Beard, hopes anti-gay marriage troubles are now over
Plenty on new CEO's todo list – starting with Firefox's slipping grasp
Apple: We'll unleash OS X Yosemite beta on the MASSES on 24 July
Starting today, regular fanbois will be guinea pigs, it tells Reg
Another day, another Firefox: Version 31 is upon us ALREADY
Web devs, Mozilla really wants you to like this one
prev story

Whitepapers

7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
A new approach to endpoint data protection
What is the best way to ensure comprehensive visibility, management, and control of information on both company-owned and employee-owned devices?