Google went behind our backs and really hurt us, squeal upset porn kingpins
'As the pornographer here, the moral turpitude should be mine'
The porn industry has hit back at Google after its decision to ban smutty sites from using its main advertising platform.
The search engine's new policy on porn came into force last week and effectively bans any grumble movie makers from promoting their sites using Adwords, a service which puts paid-for advertising next to search results.
Mountain View made its decision to boot porn off the Adwords network after pressure from a wide-ranging coalition of prudes, parents and pastors.
Todd Glider, CEO of a famous porn brand called BaDoink, has penned an open letter to Google in which he attacked Mountain View for kowtowing to the religious lobby. He is one of several prominent pervs who have contacted the Reg to say that Google "stabbed them in the back".
"When an organization as visionary, powerful and dominant as Google starts kowtowing to shrewd, faith-based special interest groups... it’s a sad day for freedom, and a sad day for IT," Glider wrote.
"It just doesn’t make sense. This is the same Google that stood up to the Chinese government in 2010, right? The Google that sacrificed a revenue windfall of the highest order to take the higher ground, refusing to censor results in mainland China?
"And while the magnitude's smaller, your decision to drop porn from Ad Words demonstrates your willingness to sacrifice revenue for a cause, as well. But why this cause?
"I’m baffled as to why you’d elect to take so moral a tack, which is, in and of itself, morally suspect. As the pornographer in this conversation, I should be the one surrounded by an air of moral turpitude."
"Our SEO lead threw his hands in the air and said: 'I’ve really never seen anything like this. It would appear that someone at Google has some kind of vendetta against BaDoink'.”
Porn sites used Adwords to send pervs to sites they might be interested in. Once upon a time, anyone searching for, say, German dogging videos would be shown links to other sorts of similar smut.
Christian Thorn is founder and CEO of Pinsex, which is a bit like Pinterest, but for porn. He told us that Adwords was a source of revenue.
"For companies that buy Adwords, it has definitely stabbed them in the back. Google is the most popular search engine and has a hand in basically everyone’s online purchasing process, so this is a huge dagger straight through the heart of the adult industry.
"The real issue here is not about banning adult companies from AdWords. The concern is that this is the first step towards total censorship. What’s next, you will no longer be able to search for porn at all?
"What are the other legal industries that Google decides do not meet their moral standards? How about gambling? or betting? Will they start banning them too?"
Google made its decision after coming under pressure from a faith-based, rudeness-repudiating group called Morality in Media.
Jerry Barnett, a free speech campaigner who blogs at Sex and Censorship, questioned whether Google's "blatant act of censorship" had come under pressure from more powerful forces than just happy clappy religious groups.
"This was clearly done to appease anti-sex morality groups, and we wonder whether pressure from pro-censorship governments was also responsible," he told us. "We note that Google has made vast amounts of advertising income from adult AdWords over the past decade. Adult industry revenues have declined steeply in recent years, due to the rise of free streaming sites, and a cynical observer might suspect that Google's revenues from the industry have declined to a point where this move has little effect on their bottom line.
"This is just one of many attacks on online sexual expression that are currently underway, and contributes to a climate where censorship is becoming increasingly acceptable. It is hugely disappointing that Google, whose motto is "Don't Be Evil" seems to think that sexual expression is more "evil" than censorship.
Morality in Media runs a website called Porn Harms, on which it crowed about the success of its porn campaign but called for even stricter rules to keep grumble movies away from impressionable eyes.
It wrote: "We are grateful that Google are realizing that their profits from porn are not worth the devastation to children and families.
"We applaud Google for these important strides forward, but continue to call on them to improve their policies and actions, especially on Google Search, Google Images, YouTube and Safe Search." ®