March 26 2006
Anti Gay organisations are becoming far more sophisticated in their promotion and advertising and are now using Google Adsense to ambush market gay and lesbian websites.
A couple of weeks ago I was doing a review of my site http://www.superdrewby.com, and I came across a Google Adsense with the term “Reach Out to Homosexuals”, right below an ad for Same Sex Marriage Rings.
Curious about the message that the website ‘BuildingChurchLeaders.com’ was promoting, I visited the site. Imagine my horror when I was redirected to a right wing Christian site promoting discredited and dangerous gay reparation therapy. To put this in better perspective, Superdrewby promotes a positive role model for gays and lesbians, and is certainly not a place to promote discredited religious propaganda.
Google Adsense is an online advertising program used by hundreds of thousands of websites to provide targeted advertising on their websites. The website gets a small income from displaying the ads! Without getting too technical it works by matching the content of a page to the targeted advertisement. If the content of the page is about DVDs then it is likely that the ads will be about DVDs too.
Now I am certainly not blaming Google for this, after all it’s not their responsibility to check the content of every one of their advertisers. No this is far more about the sophistication of the anti-gay groups and their attempts at ambush marketing.
From my point of view as a webmaster, I have thousands of pages of content on my website, and I can’t go through every page looking at the ads and seeing whether they are anti-gay. Through my Google Adsense login I can stop specific ads from being displayed, and I have restricted this particular advertisement.
As a webmaster of a gay and lesbian site, I need to be constantly on my feet and see what’s happening on the site. I regularly get hate email from people who tell me that I am disgusting (mind you I always wonder what these people are doing searching for gay websites) and I have to monitor the message boards to make sure there is no anti gay slurs as well.
This sophisticated ambush marketing whilst perfectly legal is a worrying trend especially for websites like mine. I suppose I could turn around and threaten to sue to the groups for something. Like the Exodus foundation has threatened to sue a gay webmaster for his great spoof on the ex-gay billboard!
He Changed the wording from ‘Gay & Unhappy? – exodus.org’ to ‘Straight and Unhappy? – Gay.com’. For his troubles he has been threatened with a lawsuit for breaching copyright! Below is his great parody mirrored directly from his website!
So bottom line is, we need to be mindful that the religous right wing are becoming more sophisticated in their attack on us! Let's Keep our eyes and ears open!