By: Brent Parrish
One of my favorite blogs that I’ve visited daily for the past few years is Weasel Zippers. The guy who runs WZ is rather prolific in the number of posts he manages to get up each day. Let’s just say his blog is very popular among right-leaning individuals. Weasel Zippers ranked 36th out of the 150 Most Popular Conservative Websites listed by Doug Ross Journal. Just recently I heard a popular local radio host, Greg Garrison, give WZ a shoutout on his radio program.
Apparently Google contacted the owner of WZ to inform him that they were suspending his Google AdSense account, which was his primary source of income for his blog. What really irks me is the absolutely lame (and I mean lame) excuse Google provided for suspending the man’s AdSense account.
Here’s the email exchange between Google reps and WZ posted at Weasel Zippers concerning the sudden suspension:
Stephanie D 1:32 PM
Basically it is against policies to copy the majority of your content from other sites, even if you include a cite of the source
me 1:33 PM
I only excerpt small portions of articles and link back to the source. AP, Retuers, AFP, CNN all encourage me to do this because I drive them traffic
Stephanie D 1:35 PM
According to our reviewers, it is too much And just looking at your home page, every blog post is basically a snippet from another news source with very little original content
me 1:36 PM
It’s a manually done news aggregation site.
Stephanie D 1:36 PM
AdSense policies require that you add a significant amount of rich, original content to your site in order to monetize it.
me 1:38 PM
I see tons of sites that aggregate nothing but news and they almost all use adsense. They don’t even do it manually, I’m adding commentary. Are you guys going to crack down on all news agg sites?
Stephanie D 1:39 PM
Our policies are uniformly enforced across all sites. If you notice another site in violation, I strongly recommend that you report it here: https://support.google.com/adsense/troubleshooter/1190500
me 1:40 PM I’ve been using you guys for years, why is this suddenly an issue?
Stephanie D 1:40 PM
Our reviewers manually review hundreds of thousands of sites per year. It’s not uncommon for policy issues to go unflagged for a period of time. We generally trust our publishers to stay in compliance.
me 1:41 PM
But according to these rules every news site with the exception of the home sites of AP, Reuters etc. are not in compliance. Why am I being singled out?
Stephanie D 1:42 PM
I can assure you that you are not being singled out or targeted.
Did you read that? Google is claiming WZ is merely a news aggregation site and does not produce enough original content. Wow! Does Google know just how many news aggregation sites there are on the internet? I have a file containing hundreds of links to various news agg sites, many of which use Google AdSense; and they do not generate any original content whatsoever. Will these news agg sites have their ad revenue shut off as well?
I take exception to the fact Google claims WZ does not produce any original content. Typically, WZ will take an excerpt from a news story (with a link back to the original source) and add a quip and an image. It is one of the reasons why I have enjoyed WZ so much–WZ comes up with some great one-liners and quips to go along with the daily news.
What Google is claiming and doing is just preposterous. Many, many blogs do news aggregation of some kind. I do quite a bit of news agg on this blog, along with my own articles and custom graphics. Sometimes I will add my own commentary to a news story, sometimes not; it just all depends. But I believe Google’s crackdown on WZ is intended to send a chill through the entire conservative blogosphere. Google has been a big proponent of progressive social causes, often times changing their logo to celebrate progressive figures, special days and events.
Although Google can deny they are singling out Weasel Zippers for their political views until the cows come home, I will not buy their denials until the cows come home. It just doesn’t make sense for Google to take the action they did if there wasn’t a political motive behind the move to shut WZ down. Why would Google suspend ad revenue to a high-traffic site that is generating ad revenue, unless promoting progressive social causes takes precedent over running a business?
This is the big issue I have with Google and some other large corporations like Microsoft who are directly colluding with the federal government in the form of public-private partnerships to push a progressive social agenda. During my research for my recent series on Common Core national education standards, I discovered Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt is a big supporter of Common Core. Folks, that’s called fascism–the collusion of big government and big business; and the serf (a.k.a. private citizen) is forced to pay for it all.
The other really big issue I have with Google is that they practically have a monopoly on online advertising. They’re practically the only game in town. Of course, there are other ways to generate online revenue, but it’s not as easy as AdSense. Google’s AdSense program is by far the most popular and comprehensive of its kind.
There’s another issue here that I doubt Google cares much about. I know the guy that runs WZ has a wife and kid, at least from what he’s posted. Does Google think about that before they cut off someone’s income for such a lame reason? … A reason that is easily shown to be grossly hypocritical, considering the plethora of news agg sites that use Google AdSense? Something tells me it probably makes the folks at Google giddy with glee that they are bringing stress and pressure to their political enemies. That’s no way to run a business. Apparently Google could care less if they anger a large portion of the U.S. population, or hurt their own ad sales.
I’m not the only one vociferously protesting the decision by Google to suspend WZ’s AdSense account. Townhall, Redstate, Truth Revolt, Minority Report, Poor Richard’s, Red Flag News, I Own The World, Free Republic, Grumpy Elder, Before It’s News, and others, have posts up about Google’s decision to suspend WZ’s ad revenue. (Read more here.)
Oh, and, by the way, a couple of years ago Google suspended my AdSense account. I never saw one penny from Google AdSense revenue, despite the fact that I had generated a couple of hundred dollars of worth of click-through profits for Google and their advertisers. The reason I was given for my suspension was “invalid click activity.” I didn’t even know what Google was specifically referring to when they sent me their suspension notice. I certainly wasn’t clicking on the ads or violating their terms of service, but they accused me of it just the same. A friend of mine just recently contacted me to inform me about what happened to Weasel Zippers. He said he never signed up for Google AdSense because of what happened to me.
Wow! Good job, Google! Running off potential customers, alienating a large portion of the U.S. populace … all so Google can push their progressive social agenda. Nothing will convince me otherwise. Pushing progressive social causes and shutting down those who don’t must really be a lucrative venture these days? Google can deny they are singling anyone out all they want. You’ll never convince me of it.
Here’s a Google email contact provided by WZ if you wish to show your support for WZ.
Via Weasel Zippers:
I need everyone to please contact Google, be polite and courteous, and ask them to reverse this decision. If they are coming after me then it’s only a matter of time before other sites are taken down.