I received the e-mail from Google about two weeks ago advising me that I had violated the AdSense Terms of Service (TOS) because my site contained adult or mature content. I thought they were referring to content on The Eye Candy Albums until I realized I wasn’t displaying Google ads over there. I was using a different ad provider on those pages.
I wrote back to Google and asked them to please elaborate on my violation of the TOS. I also pleaded with them to reconsider their decision. A couple of days later I received their reply. The "adult content" they were referring to was the Eye Candy Mondays posts as well as an ad I have to my Amazon.com affiliate store. The ad is currently running, but in case you miss it, it displays this image. They also weren’t happy with the ad for David Rich’s "Look Great Naked" Workout DVDs. They told me I would have to remove all that content to even be considered for reinstatement.
I don’t have a problem with Google enforcing the TOS of their AdSense program, however I began to wonder if it was being applied fairly across the board. While yes, some of the images are provocative, none contain full frontal nudity or representations of people having sex. I decided not to take down my content and figured I would use a different ad provider instead. Matter dropped. (On a side note, I don’t need to run ads on my site, but they do help me pay my web-hosting bill and other things. No one has ever complained to me about them.)
After reading Best Gay Blog’s post about also being banned from AdSense, I began to wonder if Google was in fact being fair in enforcing their TOS. Just doing a quick surf through some of the blogs on Blogger (which Google owns) showed me that there were many "straight" blogs with revealing photos of women that also carried Google ads. On a couple of these sites, the women were naked from the back or side and one even showed a woman topless. Now I’m no expert, but if some racy photos of men violated their TOS, shouldn’t these photos of the undressed women also be a violation?
I’m curious if any other gay bloggers out there have been dropped from Google’s AdSense, and if so, for what reason. I’m not ready to call Google homophobic yet, but I would like to find out if they are targeting gay bloggers. If this has happened to your blog, or if you know a blog that it has happened to, please e-mail me and let me know. If you can also help me spread the word so that more people can tell me if they were affected or not, I would appreciate it.
I’ll keep you all updated as to what I find out.
P.S. The worst part for me is that my earnings were at about $95 for the month. If you’re familiar with the AdSense program, Google only pays out once your earnings reach $100 or more for the month, so basically I just lost out on all the money.