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Wednesday, September 22, 2004
Google Finally Does Something About Ad Controversies
Danny Sullivan blames Google's secretive editorial policies for all the controversy we've seen the last few months, and he's absolutely right. The only reason Google is being sued by Geico and Rescuecom, why it has had to fend off lawsuits in Germany, why it has been the subject of confusion and criticism over liqour ads, gun ads, hate ads, protest ads, and others; the only reason is Google's own fault for not laying out an editorial policy.
My newspaper has run into trouble over not being clear enough in our editorial policy, so we fixed it. But at least we had one, so we had something to fix. Google's so-called editorial guidelines spend more time on the proper use of exclamation points and question marks, and virtually no time making sure Google doesn't get sued. It is becoming clear that the flip side of Google's "Don't Be Evil" is "Don't Say A Word", and that needs to change. "Don't Say A Word" is costing them money, and its costing them the trust of the online community, the courts, and other businesses.
Well, Google seems to finally be doing something about it. Danny says they plan to greatly expand the policies they publish online, so as to curb all the confusion.
"We're in the editing phase of what that page will look like," said Sheryl Sandberg, vice president of global online sales and operations for Google. "It won't be up in the next few days, but if we're not done within a few months, I'll be disappointed."

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