Violent Content On KillTheCan.org?

Google LogoAs you may have noticed, we run Google ads at the bottom of our pages on KillTheCan.org and on this blog.  Believe me, this isn’t to get rich.  It’s merely to offset some of the costs of running the site, forums, live chat, etc.  We’ve had several offers to become official site “sponsors” but we’ve always turned them down because we feel that our objectivity is part of what makes us such a powerful force when it comes to quitting dip.  If a product is great we’ll tell you it’s great.  If it sucks, we’ll tell you it sucks.  As we’ve said time and time again, KillTheCan.org is a free resource and always will be. 

But I digress…

I received an email this AM from the fine folks at Google letting me know there was an issue with my account.  I get emails from them on a semi-regular basis but the subject line of this one got me: “You have 3 working days to make changes to your site.”  Hmm… Houston, we may have a problem.

Here’s the content of the email (slightly edited to keep my account details secure):

During a recent review of your account we found that you are currently
displaying Google ads in a manner that is not compliant with our program
policies:

EXAMPLE PAGE: http://www.killthecan.org/pics/

VIOLATION(S) FOUND:

VIOLENCE/GORE: As stated in our program policies, AdSense publishers are
not permitted to place Google ads on pages with violent or disturbing
content, including sites with gory text or images.  More information about
this policy can be found in our help center.

REQUESTED ACTION: Please make all necessary changes in the next 72 hours.

I love the fact that Google actually looks at the content of the pages they’re serving ads on.  In some small way, it restores my faith in the Internet.  I have absolutely no problem adhering to Google’s policies.  In fact, I’ve made the suggested changes even before I put up this post.  What got me wondering is the specific content that they find objectionable.  Doing some digging, I found this definition on Google’s site:

Violent content
Our program policies don’t allow Google ads to be placed on content that contains graphic or gory images such as bloodshed, fight scenes, and gruesome or freak accidents. Publishers are responsible for every page on which their ad code appears and for screening any text, images, videos, or other media which will appear on a page with Google ads.

The images in question are on our Cancer Pictures page.  I won’t post them here, as I don’t want to be in violation of Google’s policy.  If you’d like to see them you can click on the link and check them out.  In fact, if you’re a quitter or a potential quitter I’d URGE you to check them out.  That’s why they’re there.

I’m not upset that Google has deemed these photos as “violent”.  I’m not looking for them to change their policy for me, nor am I looking for them to re-evaluate our images.  The images in question certainly are graphic and in some sense gory.  There’s certainly bloodshed and they are in fact gruesome.

My point?  These pictures are real.  They can happen.

There are folks out there in the world (on the Internet) that will try to tell you that dipping isn’t dangerous.  They’ll try to tell you that it’s a “safer” alternative to smoking.  They’ll try to tell you that there have been no cases linking smokeless tobacco to oral cancer.  They’ll throw around terms like “harm reduction”.  I respond with words like “violent”, “graphic”, “gory”, “bloodshed” and “gruesome”.

Violent content?  You be the judge.

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4 Comments

  1. @vimax – the KillTheCan.org online support forum has over 10,000 members and growing. It can be found at http://forum.killthecan.org/

  2. Great blog you have here but I was wondering if you knew of any community forums that cover the same topics talked about in this article? Id really love to be a part of group where I can get feedback from other knowledgeable people that share the same interest. If you have any recommendations, please let me know. Appreciate it!

  3. Just to make it clear: the culprit is the tobacco company. It is an interresting policy especially because so many people use Google to find all kinds of gory, violent stuff. It is an interresting world and so much better because KTC is here.

  4. Of course they’re gory…duh. That’s the point. Those images (along with Tom Kern’s story) were the things that jump-started my quit on day-one. One would hope that the folks at Google could make a common sense exception in this case.

    …theo

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