Ethics 101: Don’t Profit from an idea you oppose. It doesn’t make (ad)sense.

*deep cleansing breath*

The following is a transcript of a google chat Ben and I had this morning. Bimmerforums is a HUGE BMW community visited by thousands of people day.

9:18 AM Benjamin: there are fucking prop8 ads on bimmerforums!
9:19 AM me: For YES?
Benjamin: They’re flash, so can’t link ’em, buf if you sign in, you can probably see ’em
me: Yes on 8?
9:20 AM WOW, I can’t believe that people are not raising hell.
9:23 AM Benjamin: you should logon, and look at the footer graphics
9:24 AM what really gets me going…
is that most of their footer graphics are tiny
like 120×60
and the prop8 images are huge
like 500×100
even taller?
9:27 AM me: I can’t believe there isn’t a thread started abuot that.
9:28 AM Or that a forum would actually support for OR against such a heavily debated topic.
They should stay neutral.

Having worked for or owned forums in the past I know that as an admin (and this is ESPECIALLY true of you have advertisers, of which Bimmerforums has MANY) that you have to stay neutral in debates as heated as Prop 8. For OR against. Period. And since BF has a pretty ‘healthy’ debate forum I was surprised not to see a thread started about the ad but I was busy and didn’t have a lot of time to research so figured I’d put it off till later. Then as I was browsing my google reader feeds I came across a TechCrunch article talking about the mass spam of Yes on 8 all across the internet.

11:41 AM me: That’s a google adsense ad on Bimmerforums.
11:42 AM They didn’t put it there, Google did, but STILL. They have the ability to remove that BS
12:47 PM Benjamin: on the footer?
these are static ads
12:48 PM me: the bottom ones are. The prop 8 one is a google ad
Generaged by an ad script
Benjamin: it doesn’t change
me: I know that.
Benjamin: does that mean that google supports yes on 8?
me: Because right now, Prop 8 is paying them a butt ton of money to have it there
12:49 PM No, it means that google is giving the ad more play because they gave google more money
12:50 PM Saw this article: link
Then checked bimmerforums code and that ad is being generated by the google javascript ad software.
12:51 PM Look at my site right now!
YES ON 8! from the google ad!
That’s the end of google ads on my site forever.
12:52 PM Benjamin: so,…. is it google?
me: yeah, that’s what I was saying
12:56 PM I thought google ads were supposed to be relevent to what was ON THE SITE.
It was Yes on 8 on too and that has NEVER have a SINGLE political post. eVER
12:57 PM Fuck google.

I immediately pulled google ads off all three of the sites I was currently running them on. And the thing is, I never actually thought I’d make any money off those ads. Who ACTUALLY clicks google ads anymore anyway? I had them as more of a wink and a nod to google. I use a lot of their software. Search, gmail, Google Reader, Goolge chat, Google calendar, Google maps, Google Analytics, Google Docs to share documents with Ben… Holy shit I just realized that I’m Google’s BITCH!

Ummm, where was I?

So as kind of a show of support, I had the google ads there. Like, HEY LOOK! I like Google enough to allow them to SPAM all of you! But not anymore. When I changed my facebook status in protest Kris pointed out:

Prop 8 is about equality. Google accepted the Yes on 8 ads indiscriminately. Sergey Brin & Larry Page have donated $140,000 to the No on 8 campaign.

I kind of glossed over the “Prop 8 is about equality” because; NO! And I do understand that Google will say they were acting without prejudice to EITHER side when they agreed to allow the ad, but the last statement is what got me. My answer was:

And Eric Schmidt publicly stated he’s against prop 8, I get it. But *I*, as a site owner, don’t have to be equal. Also, I’ve never, in all my geekly web scouring, been shown the SAME ad on EVERY SINGLE site I go to with adsense enabled. EVER. It’s great they’ve donated all that money to No on 8… Wonder how much google MADE by spamming the ad all over the internet?

I’d be really interested in knowing just how much Google made off an ad that was on EVERY SINGLE SITE I VISITED WITH ADSENSE ENABLED. I have a feeling it’s somewhere North of $140,000 which I understand is money to the COMPANY, not the PEOPLE, but still! To me, the fact that you allowed yourself to PROFIT from the Yes campaign while being so AGAINST it is weak. WEAK. Stand up and take a stance! MAKE a difference! If you believe something so strongly that you are willing to shell out $140,000 towards the campaign, go the extra mile and actually BE A PART OF THE CHANGE. Don’t PROFIT from the opposing view!

I know it’s very easy for me to sit here on my glass pedestal (and isn’t it pretty?!) but after watching exhausting coverage of this election year, donating my money, sporting the t-shirts, blogging my views, I’d just like to see SOMEBODY stand up and make a REALLY bold move.

In conclusion: VOTE TOMORROW IF YOU HAVEN’T ALREADY! Vote for whoever you think is the best candidate for YOU and the way YOU believe gay marriage should go (if that applies to your state), JUST MAKE SURE YOU VOTE! PLEASE!

16 thoughts on “Ethics 101: Don’t Profit from an idea you oppose. It doesn’t make (ad)sense.

  1. Sara, so far as I can tell at this point, they only seem to be showing up for people with California IP’s. It’s targeting based on location which is lame because the POINT of adsense is to show ads relevant to the site’s content. At Aflux that might have flown because obviously I post a lot of political stuff here but my review site,, has NEVER had any kind of political post or anything even close to it.

  2. Anna, I swear, (I need to vent, sorries!!), if McCain wins this.. I’m going to die. Just DIE. I’m also suffering from insomnia right now so you know, anything that flows out these finger tips could really be deemed nonsensical and Oooh I just got an email.

    Oh yes, back to Mr. Potato Head. No wait, nevermind that bastard.


  3. ^Agreeing with Klumsi. I already told Branden that if he wins, we’re seeking sanctuary in Canada.

    Props to you for kicking adsense to the curb.

  4. Wow, I’m glad you removed them when you realized. I didn’t notice either. I guess the good thing is that most internet savvy people don’t pay attention to ads at all. I know I don’t.

  5. I don’t typically pay attention to those ads, but I occassionally look over at them, maybe it’s just boredom (shrug).

    (Caity) Hopefully I’m not losing my Internet Savvy-ness (heh)


    But, that is a very good point (That most people don’t pay attention to them)

  6. Some “Yes on 8” lobbyists bought tons upon tons of adspace with Adsense. I saw the ads all over my forums, too.

    The problem with blocking the ads via Adsense’s control panel is that it takes about 24-48 hours for the changes to take effect, and I have never figured out a good way to block Flash ads (you can’t just right click and copy the URL or click the URL at the bottom of the ad). This is one of the biggest weaknesses of Adsense.

    A bigger concern (IMO) were the “Yes on 8” signs plastered all over the polling area near my house, near school sidewalks and public land. But if someone’s convinced to vote for such a moral issue simply by reading a sign, they probably would’ve voted for it anyway (or it’s a coin-toss at best).

    BTW Hi Anna.

  7. What really irks me is that even in this economy almost $100 million was wasted on fricking ad campaigns. I didn’t realize we were so “flush” right now in California? Perhaps we could use some of that $100 million on umm.. I don’t know, shelter for the guys sleeping on the streets? What the heck are they so afraid of or so interested in marriage for anyway? If two people choose to be together let them do as the please…. unless they are 15 year old kids (from different aunts) Eastern Kentucky, why shouldn’t they be allowed the same legal rights (health care, insurance etc…).

  8. You know whats funny, Is my neighbors are out of town in Hawaii, (they absentee voted) They are No on Prop 8 supporters, Well the Chick they have watching thier house. Let the Yes on 8 Campaign put a huge sign in thier front yard! oh they will be pissed. my dad removed it and the chick put it back up, my dad told her they dont support it and she should respect thier house. she was like well im here right now arent I. Oh that pissed my dad off, it will certainly piss my neighbors off.

  9. Anna This was posted on another forum I am on I thought you and ben might like the read. It actually brought tears to my eyes.


    To all the straight dudes like me out there:

    It’s the day before the election.

    By the end of tomorrow, my best friend will know whether or not he can be legally married in the state of California. And as the polls stand right now, it looks like he won’t be able to do that. And that bums me out, brother.

    If you told me when I was growing up that my best friend would be gay I’d have laughed in your face, maybe even punched you in it. I grew up in a rural area of Maryland filled with mullets, acid wash jeans and the good ole boys that wore them both. Hell, I was one of ‘em… part of me still is. I went to Catholic school, a private university and didn’t know an openly gay person until I moved to Los Angeles.

    I played “smear the queer”, called my friends “faggots” and if someone did something silly or stupid, I’d call him “gay”. I simply had no frame of reference. Perhaps if you are reading this, you don’t either and I can appeal to you in these final hours…

    I know every single one of you (whether you are man enough to admit it or not) hopes to find your perfect partner… dare I say soulmate? Personally, I have visions of finding “love at first sight”, going through the first stages of love where I can’t get enough of this beautiful woman, falling madly in love with her, marrying and living happily ever after where we both die peacefully in our sleep holding hands.

    Guess what? We aren’t the only ones that have those feelings. Gay men and women have the exact same dreams that we do, because that is what PEOPLE do… dream. We dream of what we want to be when we grow up, the kind of house we want to live in, where we are going to vacation and what our perfect relationship looks like. And just like all of us straight guys where we prefer blondes over brunettes over redheads, there are some people that prefer others of the same sex. That’s really all there is to it. Believe it or not, they aren’t doing it to spite you.

    I know that some of you who oppose same sex marriage want to make this into a huge deal where the door will be open for people to marry rabbits and aliens and anything else you can imagine, but the simple fact of the matter is, that argument doesn’t work.

    My gay best friend doesn’t want to marry a rabbit any more than I do. Or an alien for that matter. (Although I would have sex with that hot alien chick on the new Battlestar Gallactica.)

    I am in the entertainment industry and since moving to L.A., I have met hundreds of gay guys and I have to tell you all a secret… “Shhhh… they are people EXACTLY like you and me except they happen to like other dudes.” I know that seems weird to you. It did to me too when I first moved out here, but since then I have observed them and taken notes and this is what I have found:


    1) They have feelings just like you and me. They experience love, hate, jealousy, disappointment and elation.
    2) Some of them actually have more successful relationships than we do. Imagine that. Two people in a relationship that actually works. What would you give for that? I’ve looked up to the sky and offered God ANYTHING for a successful relationship. I’m still waiting and I envy ANYONE that can make that work.
    3) Gays are PEOPLE. They are entitled to the same things all other people are: the right to vote, the right to free speech and should be afforded the right to marry one another. It’s simply a matter of equality.
    4) Gays are generally clean. This has nothing to do with anything, but I wanted to share ALL of the data with you.

    My best friend is an amazing singer and one late night, we were hanging out with a few friends and he sang, “Loch Lomond” (look it up). When he was finished, without even thinking about it, I said, “One day, I want you to sing that at my wedding.” He was honored.

    And then I started thinking about what honor I could bestow upon him to reciprocate. And it hit me that I may never be able to do something like that for him if Prop 8 passes tomorrow.

    I’ve seen him these last two weeks in the throws of a budding relationship and it has been a real education for me. I’m not used to being this tight with a buddy who also happens to be gay and I have to say there are still things that open my eyes.

    He’s in that beautiful, romantic phase of a new relationship where they want to spend every moment together. I’ve never seen him so happy. So inspired. And that makes me happy. Although it is still hard for me to understand how he can be physically attracted to another guy (we’re loud, sweaty and not that smart), what I do understand and appreciate are the feelings. And it is absolutely amazing to witness.

    I hope he falls madly in love with this guy, they move in together and if they so choose, are allowed to marry one another in the eyes of the law and all of their “fabulous” party guests. If that happens, I’m sure I’ll cry. (I’m a sucker for weddings).

    And in the meantime, I’m going to remain positive and think about what I can do for him at his wedding. It’s only fair. As it looks between the two of them now, I better start taking guitar lessons tonight.

    So from one bro to another, I’d like to ask this favor: Please vote No on Prop 8.

    Even if you don’t want to do it for the gay guys because you don’t know them, do it for me… a straight dude.

    Because I really can’t stand having to owe anyone anything!

    Thank you for reading this.

    NO ON 8!

    By: Stirling Gardner

  10. Erin, I don’t know about Joe Biden but I know that Obama has publicly stated that he’s against Prop 8 and some of the banners had him on them too with the heading “What’s the one thing Obama and McCain both agree on?” which is a blatant lie.

    Dan, I really hope that people aren’t convinced by a sign to vote on Prop 8 a ceratin way either. Sadly, I think that a lot of the time people vote for things like Props and Measures, they just go by what they’ve seen on billboards and signs. They don’t actually take the time to understand what each one is about before they go in to vote.

    The girls here at work I questions know the Presidential candidates and Prop 8 and none of the dozen or so other causes they have to vote for today. It’s scary.

  11. Great… so from the same people that brought you “It’s ok to marry 6-7 women at the same time” comes 75million worth of adverts telling people that gays can’t be married… Nice:(

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