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T-shirt Company Denied Google AdWords Campaign

Staff Writer
Published: 2004-04-29

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Y-Que, a T-shirt company located in Southern California, has had its AdWords campaign cancelled by Google because of the keywords the company selected to use. Y-Que believes that the basis of Google's cancellation is a move to stifle free speech.

The company sells what would be considered "politically incorrect" shirts. A few of the t-shirts in question included, according to ClickZ.com,

"Recall Bush - White T-shirt (with radio control on head);
Dumb and Dumber White T-shirt - Bush and Blair: The Movie;
You're Fired - George W. Bush White T-shirt;
Dump Cheney White T-shirt - "Halliburton" tattooed across head; Miserable Failure T-shirt - George W. Bush;
Kerry sucks (too) - T-shirt."

Bill Wyatt, owner of Y-Que, believes Google's cancellation is akin to Google acting as big brother. As a counter to Google's decision to disallow his keyword usage for AdWords purposes, Wyatt has added a page to Y-Que called "Gagged By Google".

Wyatt posted a letter that Google sent him when it suspended his AdWords ads. "The following merchandise found on your website constitutes a list of items that must be removed from your site, ads and keywords in order to continue advertising with Google AdWords:…" The letter went on to list the T-shirts above.

The following is statement from a letter that Wyatt posted on the GBG page as a response to Google's move:

"Google is becoming the modern version of Big Brother, as if we didn't have enough Big Brothers already, and unless the current trends against Free-Speech are reversed there will be no place left to promote uncensored ideas or products. I may not be the same after this website goes through De-Googlification, but I we will not go away. It will just be a little harder to find us, hidden in the corner of the web where all of the banned on Google sites are. That's all I have to say and if you don't hear from me again, well, it's been fun."

Wyatt understands that Google has policies in its AdWords selection process, but calls the entire push towards "decency" into question. "I am glad that Google put their objections into words, but the painful part about this is that there isn't anyplace left to advertise products. It is becoming harder and harder to here is no way to run a business that isn't selling generic "branded" Disney-type merchandise and therefore it is getting harder and harder to promote idease [sic] that aren't sanitized."

This is not the first time Google has pulled ads for what it considers "questionable content". In February, the company pulled environmentalist group Oceana's ads. Oceana had called for people to stop supporting Royal Caribbean cruises because of the way their ships disposed of sewage. Google said Oceana's ads were using "language that advocates against Royal Caribbean."

In the future, Wyatt plans on keeping his controversial items on his other site, Free-Speech.org.

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