Colorado Politics, Blogging, and Ads with Google and Yahoo

Readers of this web page can expect updates about Colorado politics nearly every day.

In my announcement regarding the major reorganization of this web page as a blog, I wrote that will host “commentary mostly about politics, with an emphasis on Colorado.” However, I added, the page “will tend to cover [a broad] range of issues” including “(infrequent) personal” notes.

However, a comment at BlogAds convinced me that I should always lead with Colorado politics:

Blogs without a laser-sharp focus on one topic or community AND an audience of 1000 readers a day usually do not attract advertisers. But some blogs with a sharp focus AND an audience of thousands a day do NOT get advertisers. One test: have more than a handful of companies expressed an interest in advertising on your blog?

I’m still going to post comments about national politics, cultural matters not directly related to politics, and an occasional note about my blog or activities. However, in the interest of sharpening the focus (if not to “laser-sharp” specifications), I decided to make sure that I post something about Colorado politics every day. (My main goal is not to attract possible advertisers, but to create an interesting web page that readers appreciate.) Note that most political issues involving Colorado also have national implications, so I do hope to attract some readers nationally. (Also note that occasionally I’ll take a day off.)

Now to the secondary topic. I was checking out policies for blog ads after noticing the quite bizarre written policies of Google’s AdSense program. Here’s the most objectionable restriction: “Sites displaying Google ads may not include… advocacy against any individual, group, or organization.” I wrote, “I suspect that the large majority of your AdSense users flagrantly violate the policy on a daily basis.”

One reader suggested that I check into Yahoo’s ad program. The policies of Yahoo are even worse. Yahoo’s policies claim, “We will not show results on pages that contain problematic content, including but not limited to… material that advocates against any individual or group.”

The top definition of “advocate” as provided by, is “to speak or write in favor of; support or urge by argument; recommend publicly.” To “advocate against” something, then, is to speak or write against it and encourage others not to support it.

(As I’ve mentioned, I discourage the use of such constructions as “advocate for,” “advocate on,” and “advocate against.”)

According to the explicit policies of the ad services by Google and Yahoo, then, people who run ads from those sources are forbidden from making comments such as the following:

* “The KKK is a horrible, morally evil organization that people should shun.”
* “Don’t vote for Candidate X.”
* “Don’t buy Product X, because it doesn’t work very well.”
* “Douglas Bruce was wrong to kick a photographer.”
* “Store X charges too much for many of its products.”
* “Neo-Nazis are morally despicable.”
* “The ad policies of Google and Yahoo are ridiculous.”
* “Corrupt Politician X should be ejected from office.”
* “Career criminals should not be trusted.”
* “Corporation X is wrong for cooking its books.”
* “Don’t buy season tickets for the Broncos, because they suck.”
* “Tom Cruise is an oddball.”
* “Bar Z’s happy-hour prices and selection suck.”
* “The band Korn plays horrible music.”
* “George W. Bush has expanded state control over our lives.”

All of these statements are examples of “advocating against” an individual, group, or organization. I wonder what fraction of web pages that display ads by Google or Yahoo don’t violate this policy on a regular basis?

Both Google and Yahoo link by association reasonable, peaceable advocacy — i.e., responsible free speech — with the promotion of violence and racism. I am baffled as to how two major internet companies ended up paying somebody to write such idiotic policies (but there I go again, “advocating against” somebody).

However, Yahoo’s policies get even worse. It forbids “Content related to human suffering or death.” In other words, my blogs about Douglas Bruce kicking a photographer, a dumb kid shooting his friend, and the murders at New Life Church are forbidden by Yahoo’s ad program. If a web page discusses “Weaponry, ammunition, fireworks or explosives,” then it cannot display Yahoo ads. In other words, no user can discuss any crime or the Fourth of July. Also forbidden are “Political, religious or charitable organizations, issues or causes.”

What exactly is allowed under Yahoo’s ad policies? I suppose you could talk about kittens. Just don’t “advocate against” the man who allegedly “threw [a kitten] against a wall in his mobile-home trailer,” killing it.