Posted July 1, 2013 3:28 pm by with 2 comments

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censoredIn an attempt to please more of the people some of the time, Blogger and Facebook are taking steps to curb potentially offensive advertising.

Blogger decided to ban all adult advertising while still allowing adult content. They sent an email out last week telling account holders that they had to remove their adult ads by June 30 or risk having their blog deleted. The email doesn’t specify what qualifies as “adult.” Links to X-rated photo and video sites are obvious but what about links to erotic booksellers or other adult goodies? I don’t think Blogger is out to crack down on erotic books but this email gives them the power to ban those sites if they please.

Blogger’s Terms of Service always warned against using their site to “make money on adult content.”

For example, don’t create blogs where a significant percentage of the content is ads or links to commercial porn sites.

The important word there is “significant.” Now, from the sound of the new email, they’re going from “significant” to “any.”

As you can imagine, there are people who are upset about the change but honestly, we all saw this coming. Anyone who depends on the income from a blog on a free service is asking for trouble.

In a related note, Facebook declared their intention to remove all advertising from controversial Pages and Groups. In the past, ad buyers were upset when they found their ads running on pages that promoted violent or sexual content. Rather than ban the content, Facebook decided it made more sense to pass on the potential page views and run an empty sidebar.

We know that marketers work hard to promote their brands, and we take their objectives seriously. While we already have rigorous review and removal policies for content against our terms, we recognize we need to do more to prevent situations where ads are displayed alongside controversial Pages and Groups. So we are taking action.

Beginning on Monday, we will implement a new review process for determining which Pages and Groups should feature ads alongside their content. This process will expand the scope of Pages and Groups that should be ad-restricted. By the end of the week, we will remove ads from all Pages and Groups that fall into this new, more expansive restricted list.

For example, we will now seek to restrict ads from appearing next to Pages and Groups that contain any violent, graphic or sexual content (content that does not violate our community standards). Prior to this change, a Page selling adult products was eligible to have ads appear on its right-hand side; now there will not be ads displayed next to this type of content.

It’s interesting that Facebook uses an adult product site as their example. Certainly there are more “controversial” pages on the network. The blog post also uses the word “questionable content” and they admit that there is no hard and fast rule about what falls into this category and what doesn’t.

What do you think? Are both companies making moves in the right direction or are they over-reacting to a “not really a problem’ problem?