Thursday, February 09, 2017

Clean Up Time


I'm working on a new post, but in the meantime needed to vent a bit. Tonight I got an email from an ad network I work with, that also works in conjunction with Google. Someone at Google came across an old post I did on here seven years ago and said it was in violation of their ad policies. Of course, I promptly removed it, being grateful that I received a warning and a kind email asking me to take it down (I've heard horror stories about Google removing AdSense from blogs without so much as a warning.)

The blog post in question showed three vintage ads (it was part of the "Three Ads Too Good Not To Share" series that I did for a while) and one of them was an '80s ad for a phone shaped like a naked woman. I assume it came from Playboy decades ago. I don't remember what the other two ads were, but I immediately deleted the post.

I'll be honest; I only skimmed through Google's ad policies a few years ago because I always considered this site to be "clean", especially in comparison to another retro themed site that got into trouble for posting a lot of images on a regular basis that contained blatant nudity. I also stumbled upon a strange Blogger site once that had the word "crafts" in the title but contained anything BUT how-to crafts. Let's just say the author was violating all kinds of adult content rules. But because they weren't running any advertising on the blog, they were allowed to publish it.

But after getting this email from my ad network, I'm now a little bit paranoid. I removed a few posts I did last year on sexy women promoting automobile parts (too much cleavage could be a trigger...I'll work on a new post at some point that's more covered up) and a very old, brief post I did about an adult drinking game from the '60s with a suggestive name. However, even after reading Google's adult content policy and watching the accompanying video on it, there still seems to be some grey areas.

For example, I could find nothing in Google's policy about vintage ads and songs that may contain double meaning headlines, imagery, and lyrics that one could take to be sexually suggestive. A lot of blues songs from the '20s and '30s, for example, fall into this category. And yet, if a child were to hear them they probably wouldn't get the meaning. ("Sam the Hot Dog Man", for all intent and purposes, is a song about a man selling hotdogs, after all.) I'm sure we've also all seen the old Chiquita advertisement where a little boy is feeding a banana to a little girl. Would I not be allowed to show this ad on Go Retro? It's kind of hard to prove there's anything sinister behind it for real; it's for Chiquita, after all!

What about clips from The Benny Hill Show? What about sitcoms that tackled controversial adult topics, such as the infamous abortion episode of Maude?

Tonight I deleted the album cover that Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass did with the woman strategically covered in whipped cream from an old post on the band. According to Google's adult content policies, even nudity that is strategically covered is a no-no. They already flagged me a year or two ago for the pantyhose post I did about 7 years ago. It was because one of the images I used showed a topless woman that was covering herself up by crossing her arms in front of her.

I get that Google wants its publishers to be squeaky clean for its advertisers. I have no problem with that. But I think some rules may be just a tad strict. The irony is any kid can go on Google of all places and within three seconds, instantly find images of nudity, pornography, and other adult content. The chances of someone finding anything even remotely close to that on Go Retro is pretty slim.

All this to say, if you go looking through Go Retro and can't find a post that the "you may also like" widget is recommending to you...well, this is the reason why. And I'm also in the process of scrubbing anything that might raise another red flag. I've written the contact person from the ad network and asked them questions about the gray areas. In the meantime, at least Facebook doesn't have these same policies...yet. So images that might get me into trouble here are OK for me to share there.

I think I'll start by digging up that old Chiquita ad...

12 comments:

  1. That's crazy. How do they check these things?

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    1. I was wondering the same thing. The post they flagged was sooooo old, I barely remember writing it! My guess is they use a parental advisory triggering software or something.

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  2. It has to be. Unless they have a room full of Nuns reading blogs all day. Maybe that is what they do.

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  3. Pam, its none of my business of course but does Adsense bring in enough to warrant "Big Brother" hanging over your site? Your stuff has always been fun, I've been a fan of your page since 2009 and dont recall ever seeing anything deemed offensive. I think I'm going to turn my dinky blog-page into a porn site!!

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    1. To me, all money has value...no matter how small the amount. The revenue has actually increased steadily through the years since I first implemented it, partly due to increased readership/page views, I'm sure. Where I am currently bringing in self employed income, I'm very grateful for what I do earn through advertising. It's not the end of the world, but I do need to know where they stand on songs and ads that have what could be interpreted as a suggestive meaning. I just remembered I have to remove a YouTube video on the piece I did last year about Mouth & MacNeal...MacNeal is braless is one of the music videos. I can't take any chances...

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  4. Here's another gray area: "images of men or women posing and/or undressing in a seductive manner" are prohibited on a Blogger site.

    Well geez! What in their minds constitutes "a seductive manner"? A woman standing there in go-go boots and a mini? Just about any woman seen in an ad from the '60s or '70s fits this definition. I think they need to get more clear on some of these rules.

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    1. Correction...prohibited on sites running AdSense ads.

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  5. Of course a phone in the shape of a naked woman is absolutely the WORST thing that one can find on the internet. Really?!? Pam, that is one of the reasons that I don't have ads on my site. I thought about it, but decided that it wasn't worth the hassle.

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    1. LOL...I know, right? Mapster, I've been on your site enough times to know there's absolutely nothing on it that should trigger an "adult content" alert with Google. As long as you're not posting catalog scans that contain sheer/see through clothing, you should be totally fine if you did want to give it a go.

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    2. You're right! However, I have had to doctor some of those pics with a little bit of extra color in strategic places (especially on some of the white blouses.) Not so much for Google, but because I don't want to embarrass any of the models (now that they're older.)

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  6. Update...the ad network contact told me they didn't think there would be a problem with content that contains sexual innuendos and that Google would take such posts on a case by case basis. However, better safe than sorry...the good news is Facebook and Pinterest do not have these restrictions.

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