Google Employs Racists. Who would have thought it???

03Jan09

 Who would have thought it?  From the company that claims its mantra is “Do no evil” , its Ad-Sense filters perpertrates a vicious stereotype that left me amazed.

I’ve started on a new blogging site and the site uses Ad-Sense as one of the tools to put ‘relevant’ ads on the page.  So far so normal..

I wrote a quick post about travel.  The title was in response to a question asked by another blogger.  That question was What dangers should a first-time world traveler be aware of, and how can he try to ensure a safe stay and return home?”

So, while gritting my teeth at the lack of inclusiveness in the original question, I posted my response here .  Again, straightforward stuff.

Then around an hour after I posted it I went back to check it and my jaw dropped. 

The supposedly context/keyword sensitive Google Ad-Sense had decided that the most appropriate ad to place there was for a site called singlemuslim.com

The offending ad

The offending ad

Up until then it had just shown things like ‘buildyourownwebsite.com’.

Now, Ads-Sense picks keywords and presents ads in keeping with the context of the keywords it has identified..  This post of mine has no mention of the Middle East, Muslims or any muslim country, nor being single or dating or anything that would remotely give a piece of software the idea that the ad would be appropriate.

What it does have though is a last paragraph that has the throw away line “oh and if you really want to get home safely, don’t make cracks about bombs in bags when you’re going through the airport.”

Theres the offending paragraph word

The offending paragraph it must have used

So, putting 2 and 2 together I assume Ad-Sense chose ‘dangers‘ from the heading and ‘bomb’ from that paragraph and decided that the most appropriate ad for the posts target audience was singlemuslim.com.

I’m offended that Google could make me complicit in its bigoted attitude.  The ads have changed now and are about travel insurance, travel thailand etc but for at least an hour or so it used my page to propogate a racist stereotype and I’m seriously not happy.

Call me overly sensitive?  Perhaps I am, but there’s enough discord and fear in the world without compounding it.  So to me this is unforgivable. 

I’m still trying to find the way to complain to Ad-Sense.  Someone needs their knuckles rapped over this one.

edited to add..

and it looks like this isn’t an isolated case: 

 http://blogmeridian.blogspot.com/2008/10/adios-ad-sense.html

http://adviking.wordpress.com/2008/12/01/problems-with-google-adsense/

obviously Google has forgotten it’s mantra, obviously blinded by those dollar signs..

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