Google bans essay writing ads

18 comments
Quote:
From next month, Google will no longer take adverts from companies which sell essays and dissertations - and the internet company has written to advertisers to tell them about the policy.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/education/6680457.stm

Comments

Shadow of a Threat

Google, commenting on the change, says its advertising policies are "developed and evaluated based on multiple factors, including legal and cultural considerations plus user and customer experience".

It is natural for any company's policies to be steered partly by 'legal and cultural considerations'. It is inevitable. Where that becomes dangerous, however, to an open society, is when the company making a moral choice, such as choosing to prohibit these essays, has the power and influence to control the market by such a decision. That is too much power for anyone or any company. Google need not be faulted for this, it is just setting policy like everybody else, but because of its enormity, the shadow of a real and perhaps nearing threat is starting to become visible. Again, the market needs some balance. We can not hand Google or any company a club that it can use to beat us with later.

Whats next...

So what’s next......contraception, abortion etc. etc.
Since when was Google the arbiter of morals and who makes those final decisions?

...

Thats how it starts... Censoring just one or two 'bad' things...

Then it escalates to censoring just a 'few' other things that are annoying...

Then it moves on to censoring anything that upsets the rulers and the powerful...

I seen this movie before and it does not end well... :-(

Let's just hope...

They don't try to teach the borg morals.

this movie

You guys ever feel like Dr. Alfred Lanning in I, Robot? :)

hand Google or any company a club that it can use to beat us with later.

Unless of course their is an affiliate commission on clubs. We're all helping to craft that club on a daily basis with our queries, conversion data, and every other piece of minute data that gets assimilated to the master DB.

I'm off now to do some more work (and carve a bit more of the club) with the most brilliant economic predictive tool of our generation built one piece of paid click data at a time.

So in the Google world

So in the Google world drinking is bad - not allowed, buying porn is fine - wank away, but buying essays.... very bad.

You couldn't make this up..

>>Since when was Google the arbiter of morals

Since when was Google the arbiter of morals and who makes those final decisions?

When they decided they wouldn't advertise firearms and few complained.

And now it becomes apparent

And now the problem of too much power starts to become apparent to the small percentage of people actually paying attention.

There is no slippery slope here - Google has a right to do whatever it wants whenever it wants and we can only hope that they choose to continue doing the right thing moving forward.

The problem with a public for-profit company wielding so much power to begin with is that there will always be a push for bigger profits. It is far too easy for an executive to fall into the trap of pandering to interest groups in order to expand their profits or protect existing ones.

The only thing there is to protect the interests of the public at large is a free market - and that means more than 3 major players in the industry. Google got to where they are because they've almost always been ethical in the eyes of the world. There's nothing in stone that says they have to stay that way now that they have become the big boy in the neighborhood. You don't win shareholder support by being the good guy - you win shareholder support by being the guy that increases revenues and crushes competition at all costs.

Organic Results

Guess these companies are going to be reliant on good organic rankings now.

..

Quote:
Guess these companies are going to be reliant on good organic rankings now.

Well, I guess that is good news for some SEOs...

Politicians hire speech

Politicians hire speech writers. Is there much of a difference? Perhaps Google should ban the majority of Presidential speeches from search.

Moral decisions

Quote:
Where that becomes dangerous, however, to an open society, is when the company making a moral choice, such as choosing to prohibit these essays, has the power and influence to control the market by such a decision.

Keep in mind that to continue allowing them to be advertised would also be a moral decision.

> Keep in mind that to

>> Keep in mind that to continue allowing them to be advertised would also be a moral decision.

I disagree. Not making any decision is no choice at all. After all, Google "continue to allow" advertising by escort services, for granny pr0n, not to mention seemingly endless casual sex. Are we to understand by their continued acceptance of those ad budgets that they actively approve of all of those things? Or that they simply haven't considered them?

>> So in the Google world drinking is bad - not allowed, buying porn is fine - wank away, but buying essays.... very bad.

Yer - guns, drink and essay writing : the Google "axis of Evil"...

I think it's interesting, because it displays a very academic-focussed attitude. Preserving the integrtiy of the academic system seems to be a priority, although simply banning paid ads for such a service seems a weak response. The organic results return over 95m matches, many of which relate to the trading of essays. Watcha gonna do about them?

I'm going to say I agree

I'm going to say I agree with Google's stance on this issue.

Trying to extrapolate it to a wider business argument I think doesn't wash. Essay services have the sole intention of undermining education systems, which puts them in a unique position of abuse.

Google are trying to play fair on an issue they disgree with - something I increasingly respect them for across their dealings - so while Google will still allow determined searchers to find matter on this subject, they've simply taken the decision not to profit directly from it.

Hardly censorship.

2c.

I was asked to SEO a site

I was asked to SEO a site that dealt exclusively with "essays for sale". I just couldn't in my heart do it.

Censor

Quote:
Censor -
1. An official who examines books, plays, news reports, motion pictures, radio and television programs, letters, cablegrams, etc., for the purpose of suppressing parts deemed objectionable on moral, political, military, or other grounds.

2. Any person who supervises the manners or morality of others.

source:http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/censor
I added the highlighting.

Don't get me wrong, I am NOT, in favor of paid essays being used in schools.

However, censorship is supervising other peoples morals no matter how you want to justify it.

It is the students decision if they want to use a paid service to to do their work or not. (of course what ever decision the student makes the Student should be held accountable for the decision and should suffer or benefit from any consequences of this decision.)

It should be up to the Schools to decide whether a student is following their academic rules or not.

It should be up to the Parents to teach their children morals.

my 2p

If Google were to block

If Google were to block essay sites in the SERPs, then that's obviously a matter of censorship, with it's own arguments.

But that's not what's happening - they're stating they won't take payments to promote a certain service. It's a business decision.

2c.

...

Isn't every decision google makes a business decision, even a decision to censor? After all they are a business first and search engine second.

BTW - google does not have to 'ban' sites they want to censor in the $ERP, all they do is add a few penalty points to the sites overall score and no one ever sees the site again in any common related search... But the site in question is not banned and can still be found in the index...

really mixed feelings

I hate to see the plex become the ethical arbitrar, but at the same time essay writing is both wrong and illegal (the academics are allowed to do their own policing, but it is academic law). Like warez sites or underage pornography or anything else which is out and out illegal, Google has given them the boot.

On the other hand, men and women are free to buy and advertise the sale of handguns in the United States. Strangely enough while checking searches for handgun, guns and gun store - no AdWords on worldwide Google and very limited AdWords within the United States.

The next dilemma is truly what to do with the organic searches. There are people profiting from both mayhem and law-breaking and harming others directly out of organic search. When does big brother intervene there?

Famously the first round was over the results for the word jew and any other words relating to jewishness. In the face of stiff AJC and Israeli lobbying, Google didn't bend (in spite of the Jewish origins of the founders).

A morality play worth watching.

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