Random Censorship with Google Adwords
Back in the dawn of time (1998) I created a little website called Jokeindex.com. It started because it was fashionable at the time to forward jokes to everyone in your address book -- I created a folder in Outlook called 'Humor' and dragged them in there as I got them.
One day I looked and noticed I had a couple thousand jokes in that email folder. Yeah, a couple thousand… I wanted to learn about database programming on the web, so I dumped the folder to a file, created a little database to categorize and rate them, and, here it is, almost 12 years later and it's still up and running.
I still use the site for the same purpose -- a place to learn about new technologies. I rarely censor anything, just rate it X if I think it's really offensive, although I do have a tendency to exclude things that I just don't think count as jokes (racial jokes usually fall into this category).
Because of this, I get something like 750 unique visitors and 4,000 page views a day mainly from search engine traffic. Pretty much type in anything into Google and Jokeindex.com is going to be somewhere in the results -- maybe on page 50, but somewhere. And a lot of joke searches (like haunaka jokes) come up on the top of the list.
I figured I should try out Google's Adsense -- that's the 'Ads by Google' thing you see all over the web. Not being in it for the money, I made a subtle link at the bottom of the page and get a whopping 25 cents or so a day off the thing.
Now, about the censorship -- and bear in mind, I'm not censoring this blog, so be prepared for naughty words.
From time to time I look at a joke and there's no Google ad. At first I thought I had done something wrong, but then I realized it was usually on jokes with the word 'fucking.' What's odd is that it's not consistent; sometimes 'fuck' is okay, sometimes it needs 'fuck' AND 'fucking' to not get an ad. Certainly the joke about the little boy on the nude beach (with the phrase 'little nude boy') got caught as something Google didn't want to be associated with (it's dirty, but not pedophilia).
Some dirty jokes seem to be just fine, and the very disturbing picture of Bin Laden and Bush having sex just gets links for 'Funny Pics' and 'Freelance Editor,' which makes me wonder what Google's programmers think a Freelance Editor does with their time…
I don't know what it all means, other than Google's policy of non-censorship doesn't apply to their ads, which is probably fine. I don't necessarily want my clients' ads showing up on a porn site, but I wish I really understood the cut-off for what's too dirty and what's just dirty enough.
Come to think of it, I'd like to learn that rule for conversation, too, but so far my own censorship isn't working out to well…