The firearms blogosphere is buzzing with the news that Google, the mega-Internet corporation, has decided to censor all guns, ammunition and gun accessories from its webstore, ‘Google Shopping.’
Formerly known as Froggle, ‘Google Shopping’ is a price comparison service that, to a gun owner, made it a helluva lot easier to find the best deals on guns and gun-related products.
News of the “change in policy” came by way of an email sent to Google’s adword customers. HamLund Tactical was one of the recipients. Upon receiving the unfortunate news, Hamland Tactical posted it on 68forums.com:
We’re writing to let you know about some upcoming changes to the product listings you submit to Google. As we recently announced, we are starting to transition our shopping experience to a commercial model that builds on Product Listing Ads. This new shopping experience is called Google Shopping. As part of this transition, we’ll begin to enforce a set of new policies for Google Shopping in the coming weeks. A new list of the allowed, restricted, and prohibited products on Google Shopping is available on our new policy page – https://www.google.com/appserve/mkt/ApI7UWRj6OCZpd.
Based on a review of the products you’re currently submitting, it appears that some of the content in your Merchant Center account, HamLund Tactical, will be affected by these policy changes. In particular we found that your products may violate the following policies:
When we make this change, Google will disapprove all of the products identified as being in violation of policies. We ask that you make any necessary changes to your feeds and/or site to comply, so that your products can continue to appear on
To help you through this new set of policies and how to comply with them, we would like to give you some specific suggestions regarding the changes needed to keep your offers running on Google Shopping.
As highlighted on our new policy page https://www.google.com/appserve/mkt/ApI7UWRj6OCZpd, in order to comply with the Google Shopping policies you need to comply first with the AdWords policies https://www.google.com/appserve/mkt/StQ08jAzM4fVtG. We do not allow the promotion or sale of weapons and any related products such as ammunitions or accessory kits on Google Shopping. In order to comply with our new policies, please remove any weapon-related products from your data feed and then re-submit your feed in the Merchant Center. For more information on this policy please visit https://www.google.com/appserve/mkt/GbBNIGHOribLzf.
We’re constantly reviewing our policies, and updating them when necessary, to ensure we’re offering the best experience possible to our users. We’ve identified a set of policy principles to govern our policy efforts on Google Shopping in the U.S. These principles are:
1) Google Shopping should provide a positive experience to users. Showing users the right products at the right time can truly enhance a user’s experience. When people trust us to deliver them to a destination that’s relevant, original, and easy to navigate this creates a positive online experience to the benefit of both users and merchants.
2 ) Google Shopping should be safe for all users. User safety is everyone’s business, and we can’t do business with those who don’t agree. Scams, phishing, viruses, and other malicious activities on the Internet damage the value of the Internet for everyone. Trying to get around policies or “game the system” is unfair to our users, and we can’t allow that.
3) Google Shopping should comply with local laws and regulations. Many products and services are regulated by law, which can vary from country to country. All advertising, as well as the products and services being advertised, must clearly comply with all applicable laws and regulations. For the most part, our policies aren’t designed to describe every law in every country. All advertisers bear their own responsibility for understanding the laws applicable to their business. Our policies are often more restrictive than the law, because we need to be sure we can offer services that are legal and safe for all users.
4) Google Shopping should be compatible with Google’s brand decisions. Google Shopping must be compatible with company brand decisions. Our company has a strong culture and values, and we’ve chosen not to allow ads that promote products and services that are incompatible with these values. In addition, like all companies, Google sometimes makes decisions based on technical limitations, resource constraints, or requirements from our business partners. Our policies reflect these realities.
We’ve given much thought to our stance on this content, as well as the potential effect our policy decision could have on our Merchants, and we apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you.
The reasons for the censorship aren’t explicitly clear, but what one can infer from this decision is that the top brass over at the Googleplex compound in Mountain View, CA, are definitely not 2nd Amendment advocates.
Normally with these Silicon Valley types, it’s all about the money (although, they may wish to make it appear otherwise). Politics, social agendas, civic responsibility take a back seat to the pursuit of the almighty dollar. At the end of the day, it’s the tried and true motto, “If it don’t make dollars, it don’t make sense.”
But clearly, censoring the products of a legitimate and thriving industry is leaving money on the table. Therefore, one has to assume it wasn’t a financial decision; it was a political decision.
Thankfully, the good thing about the Internet is that it’s, for the most part, an unregulated and unrestricted free market. That is to say, there are plenty of other places to conveniently shop online.
Maybe it’s time for the gun community to take a good long look at other webstores, Internet search engines, webmail providers, etc.
What do you think?
(Pictures courtesy of The Firearms Blog)
The Ruger M77 Hawkeye bolt-action rifle is a robust and budget-friendly hunting companion that will last you a lifetime. From deer and elk to smaller game, this reliable gun offers performance even in harsh conditions.