Censorship: Why, How and for Whom
Lately many of us have been feeling the boundaries of what we are allowed to write about in different forums. I am a firm believer in freedom of the press, but as a proponent of the free market, I also understand that you actually have to own a press in order to have the freedom to use it. In other words, publish whatever you want at your own expense.
I agreed to abide by the rules at Hubpages, because Hubpages gives me a place to publish free of charge. That seems fair, right?
But the truth was that when I used to look at the list of topics that were forbidden: explicit sex, gambling, promoting internet fraud, I didn't feel any great desire to write on those topics, so I didn't feel in any way hemmed in by the rules.
Lately, both on Hubpages and off, I'm beginning to feel a little more beleaguered, and it seems as if some of my fellow Hubbers have been feeling the squeeze as well.
The Thread About Censorship
- Censorship Why?
Censorship Why? in the HubPages HubPages Knowledge Exchange Forum
Believing myself to be well within the rules and not even remotely pushing the boundaries, I was truly shocked when I received notice that one of my hubs was in violation of TOS. The Google notice read as follows:
While reviewing your account, we noticed that you are currently displaying Google ads in a manner that is not compliant with our policies. For instance, we found violations of AdSense policies on pages such as
http://hubpages.com/hub/The-Secret-to-Making-Money-on-Hubpages. Please note that this URL is an example and that the same violations may exist on other pages of your website.
As stated in our program policies, AdSense publishers are not permitted to place Google ads on sites with content related to programs offering
incentives to cl!ck l!nks or ads, r**d emails, or s^rf other websites.
This would include, for instance, aut0-s^rf s!tes, p*y-to-r**d email
networks, and sites comparing various p*y-t0-cl1ck programs.
As a result, we have disabled ad serving to the site.
Your AdSense account remains active. However, we strongly suggest that you take the time to review our program policies
(https://www.google.com/adsense/policies ) to ensure that all of your remaining pages are in compliance.
Please note that we may disable your account if further violations are found in the future.
The Google AdSense Team
Now that particular hub was an account of how I failed to thrive on Hubpages by making the stupid mistake of not inputting my PIN for Adsense and thereby not getting any revenue during a period when I might have been earning.
I asked around to see what I might have done wrong. I disabled a link to another person's hub that was also not in violation, but might have triggered the Google robots. I waited several months to see if Google would change their mind. I got the opinions of several seasoned hubbers who know what they are doing.The general consensus seems to be that while my hub is not really in violation, that's not what matters. What matters is what the Google robots think, because their opinion is the only one that counts. You can't argue with a robot!
"Is it really worth it to jeopardize your entire account with one hub?" the experts asked.
Well, I guess not. I wouldn't want to miss the chance of earning one hundred and seven dollars every two years! So, I unpublished that hub.
Traffic and Earnings
This is not about money. I recognize that I need Google because they generate the majority of my traffic. If I didn't have ads, I wouldn't have traffic. So I can't afford to earn the ire of the robots. At the same time, as a flesh and blood human being, with feelings and all that, I'm getting a little alienated by what seems like the same sort of behavior that every bureaucracy, governmental or not, ends up spawning.
So what should I do? Seek out the competition. See if some other service provider might allow me to publish the hub that Google found so objectionable. With that end in mind, I republished my hub on Weebly.com under the heading of Google Discards. The address there, (and no, I will not provide a link, because that would be a sin against Google) is discardedbygoogle at weebly.com.
Google is the Only Game in Town
My new site is up there, but it gets no traffic. It hasn't even been indexed, I think. So the next step was to try to find a different network to sign up with, something just like Adsense, only belonging to someone else.
What I've learned so far is that there is no competition. Yahoo has a program that is not open to the general public. Microsoft doesn't even offer anything. If Google is the only real possibility, then isn't it clear why they don't have to consider our opinions at all? Isn't it true that the only way to get respect is to earn it by pushing back as hard as you get pushed?
If there isn't an alternative, shouldn't we all get together and make one?
(c) 2010 Aya Katz
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