It’s a cruel world.

The world is not a just fair place. I’m an adult. I get this. I am fully versed that when deciding to heavily modify yourself, you have to take the challenges and obstacles that come with it. Take Modblog for example. It’s usually not a hard task finding photos to post, after we try and hide some watermarks in there so the sites that steal photos that are submitted to BME can actually be caught but it’s a gentle reminder or a swift kick in the pants how fucked up the world is. I see all of these sites that steal our content and then get linked from other sites and receive hundreds of thousands of hits from stumble upon or Digg. Even though you can’t link to BMEzine.com from those sites. So the BME is blocked but not the sites that steal BME’s submissions and post them on their own all the while displaying advertising, which is generally google ads.

Some of you may have noticed that I no longer have Google ads displayed in any of the galleries on BME. Here is an email that I received the other day:

Hello,

While reviewing your account, we noticed that you are currently displaying
Google ads in a manner that is not compliant with our policies. For
instance, we found violations of AdSense policies on pages such as
http://www.bme.com/ritual/supsus001.html. Please note that this URL is an
example and that the same violations may exist on other pages of your
website.

As stated in our program policies, AdSense publishers are not permitted to
place Google ads on pages with violent content. This includes sites with
content related to breaking bones, getting hit by trains or cars, or
people receiving serious injuries.

Please make any necessary changes to your webpages in the next 72 hours.
We also suggest that you take the time to review our program policies
(https://www.google.com/adsense/policies) to ensure that all of your other
pages are in compliance.

Once you update your site, we will automatically detect the changes and ad
serving will not be affected. If you choose not to make the changes to
your account within the next three days, your account will remain active
but you will no longer be able to display ads on the site. Please note,
however, that we may disable your account if further violations are found
in the future.

Thank you for your cooperation.

Sincerely,

The Google AdSense Team

Uhm, excuse me?? Did google just send me an email comparing the act of suspension to the same content as breaking bones, getting hit by trains or cars, or people receiving serious injuries?? Yeah, they did. When I wrote them back.. oh wait, you can’t write them back because all contact and demands are sent from no-reply email addresses so you can’t even have a rational discussion with a human being. I had a contact email address for a google ad rep so I forwarded them this message asking how they can compare something like suspension, which is a right of passage in ancient cultures and a very personal and spiritual (and I don’t mean in a God kind of way) experience for an individual. I tried to explain to them it’s not the same as some “gross out” type site that films people getting into car accidents or being hit by a train but their only reply was that they also found ads being displayed next to “pornography” which was actually the image I’m posting below.

Oh no! Seriously! If this is the type of thing that’s considered pornography, then I’m in a heap of trouble. Please remember if you see sites stealing photos from BME, please use this url to create a ticket so that we can get the images off of their sites. I’ll be following this post in a second with a ton of suspension photos as a hearty dose of F-U-Google!

21 thoughts on “It’s a cruel world.

  1. censorship sucks. Myspace deleted my suspension pics because “they violated our Terms of Use. Our site is for people as young as 13, so we can’t have certain kinds of pics (nude/sexually explicit, violence)” which is abit silly considering the ammount of smut and extreme prejudice pictures they do alow to be uploaded. I guess they were offended by my man-boobs.

  2. Briggden: Not to nitpick, but I really wouldn’t consider this censorship.
    Even if they are acting like idiots, Google has the right to decide how their company is run, and also has the right to enforce its policies. Its *our* right to not support companies that we feel have unreasonable or prejudice standards.
    I think alot of people get confused about what our rights really are- Google shouldn’t be required to allow this anymore than we should be require to work with them if *we* disagree with what *they* do.
    I do however think that they are jackasses for several reasons: the obvious is because they shouldn’t be so offended by suspension- that’s just closed minded in general. The other is because even if they were, it’s still business and they are only going to loose money by limiting/alienating the market. Businesses screw themselves in this way all the time.

  3. google adsense has just offered – then refused me an account for a u-tube vid of mine after it got a certain amount of hits, for much the same reasons. It’s frustrating ,but I guess their using the literal meaning of violent images themes etc. It’s entirely their loss.

  4. Fuck AdSense
    Fuck censorship

    yes, it is censorship via regulation of content as it suits thier taste…

  5. “I’ll be following this post in a second with a ton of suspension photos as a hearty dose of F-U-Google!”

    best part of the entry.

  6. No, this is not censorship. As a business Google has the absolute right to control its product. I also highly doubt that they’ll be losing any money by “limiting/alienating” the suspension market, which is miniscule by any measure. As for their rationale, images of often bloodied people hanging from hooks forced through their flesh *are* violent, and people unfamiliar with suspension, which is to say a majority of people, can’t be expected to know that what they’re looking at is different from other types of violent images.

  7. I don’t believe this is censorship either. Google Adsense is a business. You make money by placing their ads on your website. While suspension OBVIOUSLY isn’t close to getting hit by a train or breaking bones, they have every right to decide what they do or don’t want their ads being related to.

    As sad as it is, they have every right to request removal, or revoking account privileges. Is it ridiculous that they compared THAT to this? Yes. But as Bob said, a company like Google would be more worried about someone un-educated thinking about content, rather than trying to educate them.

  8. seriously?? you’re kidding right?
    You’re actually complaining because you violated their terms of service?? This is all on you guys at BME and not on google at all. Next time i suggest reading the terms instead of just checking the box.
    Im sorry, but just how else is a person suppose to react to people hanging from hooks, and sawing through tounges, and cutting off fingers and piercing themselves (which is pretty much shoving needles through flesh).
    Im actually shocked that this didn’t come about sooner.
    and #3, it’s very close minded to think that someone obviously shouldn’t be offended because you aren’t.
    let’s be honest here, this site is full of offending material. I mean, the majority of it is 18+. there is a reason only adults can look at certain things and that’s pretty much the same reason google decided to pull out.

    and i defiantly can see who someone would see a suspension as a serious injury. because basically that is what it is. just because you are being spiritual about it doesn’t mean it hurts anyless and is any less dangerous.

  9. @11 While I agree with the majority of your statement, the fact of the matter is that Google only cares what is displayed next to the ads themselves. It does not apply to the entirety of the site. This is specifically why you will find no AdSense ads in the genital modifications area or some of the other “heavier” content portals. So its not a blatant ToS violation, but rather a specific gripe. If I recall this is one of the reasons why BMEInk was created as a separate content portal was to avoid issues like this.

    Ultimately, this comes down to a discrepancy over the term “violent” and “pornography.” Google is taking a very literal understanding of the terms, while many of us here at BME are filtering the term through our sub-culture conditioned minds. As a business, Google has a right to determine its policies so long as they are not discriminatory to a degree that it becomes a legal issue. If you don’t like it, find another search engine and don’t click the ads. In the mean time, research the policies of other companies that you do business with and if you disagree with them, let them know and don’t continue until the policies change. That is the right of the consumer and little more.

    Personally, on an issue such as this, I think Google handled the situation appropriately. They notified the client and gave time to fix the problem. Their preferred solution could have been a bit more specific, but it was adequate. My biggest issue here would be the response issued after Rachel responded, but seeing as we don’t have the original text, I’m not going to condemn them of poor customer service.

  10. Correction: Regarding my statements on Google’s Adsense ToS, this is given a brief viewing of the actual policies when I was trying to set up a site earlier in the year. I’m sure there are all kinds of gray areas, loop holes and exceptions that may alter the specific nature of a violation, therefore my statements should be taken given a non-legal and limited reading.

  11. How is google not wanting to be associated with that sort of content any different to modblog taking down pictures with supposedly racist images. fucking hypocrite much.

  12. I don’t like the comparison of suspension to violence images you’d find on rotten or entensity.net, but it is violent and disgusting to those who don’t understand it. Most of my friends think I’m insane for enjoying suspension. But it is very very hypocritical for you to take down-ahem, CENSOR- a racist image and then complain about google doing what they do as a business. Anyway, I’m surprised no one has mentioned this: the tattoo posted is crap. Awful, horrible, ugly crap. The head is cocked in a very awkward uncomfortable pose-and over all deformed, the shoulder is unrealistically wide and pointy, she has no neck whatsoever, and her hands are like little nubs. Modblog and bmezine has gone to shit since Rachel took over.

  13. Hiro: Did you even read my post at all?

    The reason that no one commented on the “crap, awful, horrible, ugly crap” tattoo as you put it is because GOOGLE sent me a link to the pin up tattoo that I posted here and said that image was pornography and therefor BME couldn’t show google ads anymore. That’s why I put up a post “complaining” because it was a ridiculous accusation, much like yours.

    Try rereading it with your head out of your rear and you’ll see that.

    And as far as calling me a hypocrite, a racist tattoo was unknowingly posted to Modblog. Removing something that I didn’t mean to post here isn’t censorship. Once you figure out the real meaning of it, you can join the adults in this discussion: http://news.bme.com/2009/12/22/the-politics-of-body-modification/

  14. I’ve been a Google publisher for many years, and I’m gonna go ahead and say Google is right in this scenario. Suspension may not be gross to you, but google has a responsibility to it’s advertisers to keep all content family-friendly. I think the bottom picture is more offensive to a child than the top picture. If you want to advertise with google, you need to follow their rules. All of this is in their TOS (and more easily explained on their blog) which you read when you signed up. I’ve received that same email for some of my sites. It’s annoying but they were right, my content was not family friendly. It wasn’t pornography, but their advertisers didn’t like it. Google answers to them; Google has to make them happy.

    That being said, Google is smart about ROI and profit. I’ve talked with their reps multiple times, and on websites with user submissions they are more lenient, especially if they are making a nice profit. If your site generates alot of fake or invalid clicks, they’ll be more picky. If they were really losing money, they probably wouldn’t care about some silly pictures.

    -Noemi

  15. I feel for you, the same thing happened to my body mod site. The funny thing is that my site contains just text describing the various genital piercings, and the google e-mail said;

    “[i]As stated in our program policies, AdSense publishers are not permitted to
    place Google ads on pages with pornographic content. This includes photos
    or videos which contain full nudity or sexual activities[/i].”

    Well, there is no “pornographic content,” and certainly no videos or images (apart from the styled text logo). The best I can figure of this is that a badly coded bot decided my site was pornographic because it by necessity mention the genital region (in polite terms).

    However, I have searched Google for the exact phrasings in my e-mail and of the few cases that showed up, none were targeted against text only sites. And the e-mail header suggests it is legitimate.

    Oh well.

    Anyone got a tip for how to monetize a genital piercing site?

  16. Update: I added a line about what Google did on my site, and no more than 8 hours later this came in the e-mail: “… the notification was sent in error. We have now re-enabled ad serving to your site. …”

    My site is tiny and insignificant but the conspiracist in me can’t help but wonder. :) However, I don’t know if I want to put them back on now as the site rejection made me start plans to get (sketch-style) images up. I’m not sure if their turn-about is on the understanding that I don’t have images.

    Sorry for taking up two posts of room on this but hopefully it contains some insight as to how Google sees body modification. Best of luck with your site, Rachel.

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