We've put a huge hunk of our intellectual and economic capital under the control of a marketing company. I really, really like Google, but I don't see this situation as being stable over a period of decades. Maybe 5-10 more years or so, but not a lot longer.
These kinds of decisions, where we pick economic winners and losers, are political decisions, no matter who makes them. (Personally I abhor making them, but that doesn't change what they are). These knife guys have representatives. Indeed, every small business Google has run over has democratic representation. Each year Google continues to make these decisions the political hue and cry will increase. This can't go on forever like this. "Don't be evil" was a great slogan, but its days are numbered. Perhaps over.
Side note: one of the ways I can tell Google's power has grown too large is the elliptical way many commenters have of criticizing it. They're unhappy with its actions, perhaps even livid, but it's always a tone of "Golly! This is really unfortunate and I'm sure nobody at Google really meant to do this, but...."
This is the same way you'd criticize a king, somebody you are beholden to. "Golly! I know you, the king, are not at fault, but some of these advisers of yours must have accidentally goofed up somewhere..."
Whereas if Dell, the electric company, or the garage down the street screws up in your eyes? Different tone entirely.
I don't buy it. People don't criticize a king at all. You don't criticize the communist party in Stalinist Russia, tactfully or otherwise. Doing that gets you sent to the gulag.
The reason people say that it was a probably a mistake is that it was probably a mistake. There is no apparent malicious objective for Google to stop taking this company's money.
There are really only two plausible causes for this. The first is some bureaucratic red tape within Google, where some employee made a poor decision and no one has corrected it yet. The second is that this isn't Google at all, it's the government putting pressure on Google to stop doing business with certain types of companies, and then it's Google being beholden to the government and having to do its bidding.
And I have to say the second one is a lot more plausible. Google has every incentive to take an advertiser's money. They're a publicly traded company. They have an obligation to the shareholders. Turning down paying customers because of some moral objection to pointy objects is a little bit crazy. Turning down paying customers because otherwise the government is going to start harassing you is a lot more rational.
Of course, it could actually be both. Congress is fond of passing laws against doing business with "criminals" or "terrorist organizations" or whoever may be found wearing an Anti-Flag shirt, and lawyers are fond of the phrase "out of an abundance of caution." Put the two together and you get a de jure ban on certain things and a de facto ban on anything that might be sold in the same showcase as those things. And if you don't like that then you might want to stop voting for Congress critters who support the Patriot Act.
I don't buy it. People don't criticize a king at all. You don't criticize the
communist party in Stalinist Russia, tactfully or otherwise. Doing that gets you
sent to the gulag
That's exactly what I'm seeing here. Small businesses are afraid of Google. They're afraid to directly criticize the general principles behind Google AdWords program. But they can highlight individual failures of the Google AdWords program, and, as long as they emphasize that they're talking about this specific business or that specific account, they can obliquely criticize the general principles.
There was no place for criticism of the entire system. Doing that would get you a very brief visit from the local KGB department, followed by your swift disappearance, and seeing your family again was not-guaranteed beyond that point.
And yes, you could criticise individual members of the government, and you could point out corruption. But there were two problems with this approach - everybody(and I mean everybody) were corrupt one way or another, you had to bribe officials to get anything done, and it wasn't frowned upon, it was just how things were. And the other problem was, that that particular person whom you are reporting for corruption might be a close friend of a local communist party member, in which case, it's you who is going to Siberia, not them.
So yes, theoretically you could criticise. But it was very unsafe to do so. Authors especially had to find new ways to write books which contained symbolic criticism of the government,but not too obvious, so it would go through the censorship.
Happens all the time. For example, Groupon recently dropped all firearms-related deals on the wave of the craziness that is going on. I, personally, cancelled my account with them the next day and would never buy from them anymore. I am completely certain them and the shareholders don't care too much. Same Google - losing couple of ad dollars from some independent shop is nothing to them. If their deals with Amazon would be under threat that'd probably be different business. And the government probably has absolutely nothing to do with it - if it were government-enforced, it would apply to Amazon too.
That's something else entirely. There is an argument to be made that doing things like that could actually be good for the shareholders, if you assume that a majority of customers are pro- gun control and doing that could get you accolades from them instead of boycotts. Maybe the opposite is true in reality, but at least there is a plausible argument to be made that it could be profitable to take a stance on a political issue.
That doesn't seem to apply in this case. There is no huge anti-knife lobby to pander to. Refusing to sell knives or to associate with knife sellers doesn't get your company published in the liberal press in a positive way. It just gets everybody dumping on you for being an imperfect bureaucracy.
>And the government probably has absolutely nothing to do with it - if it were government-enforced, it would apply to Amazon too.
If the mortgage crisis has taught us anything it's that big companies can get a pass for things that smaller companies wouldn't.
Apparently, Google disagrees - otherwise why would they have restrictions on it? It is as political as the gun case.
>>>> If the mortgage crisis has taught us anything it's that big companies can get a pass for things that smaller companies wouldn't.
Bailing out a failing bank because it is (supposedly) better for the economy is not exactly the same as suspending advertisement rules or any other trade regulations.
They almost certainly are.
Uh, yes they did. Kingdoms of the beforetime were not all Stalinist Russias. Kings had to gather and maintain support; some of them did this through shutting down dissenters hard, but many of them never did, or did so with the full support of "the people".
And when mine oratory grew to an end
I bid them that did love their country's good
Cry 'God save Richard, England's royal king!'
Ah! and did they so?
No, so God help me, they spake not a word;
But, like dumb statues or breathing stones,
Gazed each on other, and look'd deadly pale.
If the king has to do what the subjects and lesser lords want or he'll be overthrown, he's really serving at the consent of the people. That pretty well breaks the analogy: If the only sort of king people can criticize is the sort who doesn't actually have unchecked power then using "people are polite when criticizing" as a heuristic for unchecked power has the relationship inverted.
If the king has to do what the subjects and lesser lords want or he'll be
overthrown, he's really serving at the consent of the people.
It's wonderfully circular logic that highlights the flaw in your argument. By your logic, every government that manages to survive is serving with the "consent of the governed". By your logic, even Kim Jong-Un is serving with the "consent" of his people, simply because they have not risen up and cast him down.
Nope, only the ones whose people could in practice overthrow the government but choose not to. Governments with loyal soldiers and modern military hardware, or even just a local monopoly on WWII-era military hardware, are not going to be seriously threatened by citizens who are prohibited from owning weapons. No surprise that those are the ones that oppress their people the most.
And before you bring up insurgencies, let me remind you that successful insurgencies are marked by two features: 1. the occupying army does not speak the same language as the locals, so intimidating translators is an easy and effective way to deny the occupier situational awareness. 2. There is a bordering country willing to support the insurgency with either arms, safe haven, or both. Neither point applies to the US homeland.
Arguably, the last time an insurgency tried to take on the US Army was during the Civil War. Even though both sides had similar quality armament (and the South had higher quality leadership), the North won, thanks to its much stronger industrial base and better developed logistical system (i.e. railroads). The situation is even worse today. The average homeowner does not have easy access to any armament substantially note powerful than an AR-15, and the chances of any branch of the federal military defecting to support a civilian revolution are vanishingly small. In addition, the military speaks the same English that we do, and I'm pretty sure that neither Canada nor Mexico is willing to furnish you with arms and/or IEDs. So, with all that in mind, would you care to explain how, exactly, the Second Amendment protects me from the US government becoming a tyranny?
This would only work if the revs were in response to a truly tyrannical act, say if a president were to declare a state of emergency and indefinitely suspend elections. Think of the Arab Spring, Waco Texas, or the negative response to police brutality on the OWS protestors. Think of the imagery (and it would of course be filmed) of a hardy group of patriots facing off against tanks and bombers. These are powerful political images and could bring in diplomatic pressure, outside military aid, etc.
I'm not saying a revolt is likely likely to succeed, I'm just saying it more complicated than a cut and dry, "they have bigger guns, so the revolutionaries lose."
Maybe there is something to the cognitive dissonance argument, but that's a very different dynamic. Resigning yourself to having to deal with someone in the future and then convincing yourself that you like them because they're the option you've chosen for yourself is not at all the same thing as that party having some kind of sovereign power over you. Look at what people do with their local sports teams -- people love the local team because it's "their team," that doesn't prove anything about whether the Mets have any excess of economic power over the citizens of New York.
Wearing an Anti-Flag shirt is kinda 2002, and Congress is certainly not passing laws against it.
Some people feel that the free market ensures fair behavior in spite of being shown the opposite again and again. Free market gives rise to monopolies or non-monopolies with too much power, and those companies don't have to operate by the same rules anymore. This is where the invisible hand hypothesis fails: To the powerful players, a dollar is not the same as a dollar to you because they have enough power to change the market. Set the rules of the game, if you like.
That's why I'll always take government red tape over corporate red tape. That's why I'll take government corruption over corporate corruption. True, even in a democracy money buys influence, but at least the players are often required to give a good explanation. But a corporation, as long as it's very profitable, can behave like a dictator -- benevolent or otherwise.
I can't actually think of any reason that passes a basic sanity check that Google would have an issue with them at all. This situation seems a little bizarre.
Are you suggesting the US government asked google to stop runnings ads for knives?
In the same country where I can pick up a semi automatic assault rifle at WalMart?
That said, though, I find the distinction between "assault" and "regular" rifles to be quite silly. In practice, "assault" tends to mean "it has a rail for attachments and looks scary", just like "sniper rifle" tends to mean "rifle with a scope". In both cases, the essential portion of the definition is does not have anything to do with the gun, but more to do with the person carrying it. A sniper rifle is a rifle carried by a sniper. Even a relatively weak .22LR can be a sniper rifle in sufficiently skilled hands. Similarly, an assault rifle is a rifle carried by someone with assault training.
Anyways, none of this impacts the fact that the term "assault rifle", as introduced with the German Sturmgewehrs and now subverted by the U.S. media to mean "scary looking gun", has a specific military meaning that distinguishes it from other small arms like the battle rifle. Let's use Wikipedia's definition: An assault rifle is a selective fire ... rifle that uses an intermediate cartridge and a detachable magazine.
The distinguishing features of the assault rifle, compared to the contemporary battle rifles at the time it was popularized (like the M1 Garand), is that it is chambered for a lower powered non-pistol cartridge (which translates into lighter weight), has a detachable magazine and is capable of burst or fully automatic fire.
I'm not aware of any military or paramilitary organization that uses a definition substantially different from this, or anything like the one you've suggested.
Drawing a line between civilian and military use suitability is difficult, but that doesn't mean there is no difference. That's why there is no assault rifle law in the US, but rather some features of weapons have been banned from private use.
A few states do outlaw or ban some specific NFA weapons however - for instance 5 states outlaw individuals from possesing machine guns.
The gist was that I don't believe the government bothers with banning knife-ads while semi-automatic rifles (under whichever label) are sold freely.
You missed his point: you praise the King and leader by saying that certain underlings that do the bad acts are giving the wonderful King /Stalin a bad name. You might have missed the show trials where someone was always being blamed for x and y. People have complaints about life, someone has to be responsible. At Google someone is doing bad things but it can't be the wonderful and "open and free" loving founders, just some bad apples. They money is going to Google's bank, of course.
-- They're a publicly traded company. They have an obligation to the shareholders. Turning down paying customers because of some moral objection to pointy objects is a little bit crazy.
The obligation is not like you seem to put it. They have an obligation to make money over the course of years, not this quarter. If I wanted to spend $1 mil on "Abort your baby just for the hell of it" Google, even if 'it' agreed with the message might see this as alienating their other customers and decline. Likewise, using search to drum up Adwords business, in addition to being possibly illegal (not disclosed to users) can make Google lose credibility and that's all they have /had.
If a big institution screws you over but has found a clever way of perpetually evading or delegating away vocal blame for that... they're still responsible, unless they're fixing the system in the very-near term. If the resources aren't there to fix the system, that's because they've consciously chosen not to allocate those resources.
Plus, it has a certain panache to it, don't you think? And vividly conjures a real phenomenon, despite eliding real principal agent problems.
Google won't tell Amazon/Target/Walmart, to stop selling a product or get banned from AdWords.
But a small retailer who wants to circumvent the rules could capture PPC traffic for a similar (but legitimate) product, and then funnel people to the 'banned' product page.
Rather than Google policing the landing page's CTAs & on-page intent, they find it easier to just say "you can't sell that thing."
Here's what I would do if I were Google: simply not show any PPC units (paid or product listings) on the SERPs for 'Assisted Opening Knives'. Suddenly the whole issue goes away, and Google doesn't look hypocritical - since they're then not making money off a product class that they claim to find objectionable.
Pissing off some little knife company means exactly nothing to google.
It didn't mean anything. You said it yourself: Google is a marketing company. And that slogan served exactly that purpose.
We have a name for it in politics. We call it "rhetoric."
They're trying not to burn bridges, which is good business. But it's true Google has a monopoly on online ads, which should not be allowed to continue unchallenged. Don't like Dell? Buy Lenovo. Don't like AdWords? Die.
On the other hand, the strategy of the OP is questionable. Google asked them to stop advertising for one category of products. It's admirable to have chosen the high route of stopping to do business with Google altogether, but it wasn't the only option. They could have continued to advertise for all their other products on AdWords, and then cross/up-sell customers to the forbidden fruits once these users got to their site.
I think that's the parent's point: that you cannot afford to burn bridges with Google, even when they are wrong. Speaks to their power.
> Google asked them to stop advertising for one category of products.
I read it as Google asking them to stop advertising through Adwords as long as their site carried the products in question, even if the ads weren't for those specific products. If your interpretation is correct, however, I would agree with your conclusion.
Perhaps the OP can clarify.
If this is true, it's completely crazy. How does Google think they can tell people what products to sell on their own shops??
Then I would completely agree with what the OP did, of course. In fact, there really was no other way.
“I am still waiting on an answer to my reply where I asked for a universal enforcement of the policy OR we allow knife depot back online. I replied and said, I refuse to tell knife-depot they need to remove a product category that 7 other competitors are advertising & selling the same products.” I then named each domain, called out the double standard, and requested that they state the clear differences that allows these competitors to serve & knife depot to be suspended. Still waiting on this reply.“
That email was sent over a month ago.
They don't. They tell you that if you want to advertise with them then you can't sell that stuff. Big difference.
The problem is that Google is heading into monopoly territory - the same as MS back in the 90s, same as all the old telecomms companies, etc. At some point in the near future they'll be hit with anti-monopoly legislation, not sure whether it'll be the EU or US that does it first, but I don't think it's far off.
Or because you really like the company. I think you've misinterpreted the thoughts involved here..
Google is one I have pretty positive feelings about, not just because their applications are usually the best as far as web-based SaaS offerings go, they're free, usually painless (for most people), but also because they just plain make cool stuff. (Glass? Driverless cars?)
I'd count their presence and activities, even with the warts, as a huge net benefit for technology and even humanity as a whole.
Possibly irrational fanboying aside, the electric or phone company or cable company the other hand are things that people love to hate. Off the top of my head..
* Arbitrary and large rate hikes or base prices
* Take it or leave it attitude
It makes a consumer feel somewhat hunted, as in they tolerate the existence of and do business with these companies because they have no other choice.
Or because you really like the company.
I'd be inclined to disagree...
That doesn't mean they are a closed company today, but I believe they've turned the corner. Just like Facebook has a lot of OSS projects but isn't an "open company", I think Google has shifted the balance away from openness, even though they have a lot of OSS projects. I see them as qualitatively the same, but significantly different in degree. I wouldn't have said that three years ago.
EDIT: I realized I answered how Google is closing, but not how they are closing the web.
I think that has to do with two things: preferential treatment of their services in search results and hiding information behind Google logins. The former makes it harder to find anything Google hasn't sanctioned; the latter makes it harder to go elsewhere to get your search results.
I see it as exactly the same thing as Facebook pages for businesses instead of web sites. Sure, http is fine and intact, but now we are beholden to Facebook for information.
Everything I've read suggests google throws themselves in with everyone else in search results. They even penised one of their own sites once to keep it fair.
More info: http://www.belmont.uk.com/blog/view/141-google-penalises-its...
I think consistency is the bigger issue here. If they take that stance, the should go after Amazon and others and not just the site linked here.
Googles no1 priority should be managing the process to delay and mitigate regulation and not keep drinking in the last chance saloon going "hey fuck you" repeatedly which is only going to make it worse when the evil day comes.
I know I shared a office with guys in BT who spent years working on a project (ISDN D Channel) and they where not even sure if we could ever launch the product as Ofcom had the final say.
Having a double standard in the commercial world for whatever reason ranks pretty low on my list of evil things. Banks have been far more evil but they are rarely referred to as such. I think when commenting on such matters it's important to remain proportional.
What? For the past few years I haven't heard "bank" spoken without severe negative undertones and usually "evil" explicitly thrown in.
== A point, often overlooked.
One of my clients who was selling in the health market had this and other seemingly "unfair" treatments happen again and again over the years. All the while Google was taking money from Canadian "pharmacies" and allowing big brand competitors to violate the same rules they were coming down on my clients for.
The kick is that sometimes you just luck out. Your ads are reviewed by another (anonymous) staffer who doesn't interpret the rules in the same way.
We found the best way to avoid issues like this was: never edit an existing approved ad. Seems silly but we cringed each time we had to edit or submit a new ad knowing that some random reviewer would roll the dice and deliver a verdict.
Finally however Google banned most of our most effective keywords, while at the same time allowing our competitors (both larger and smaller) to continue on without interruption.
Alcohol, Weapons, and Drugs are areas regulated by various governments around the world and carry civil and criminal policies for even small violations.
You say health market, but don't specify details. Might this have been for quack homeopathy junk, diet pills that don't work, vitamins? Every time I hear a health related ad on the radio it is for some bullshit product backed by outright lies about "clinical studies show NutriWeightBlah will lose you 20 pounds in only 2 weeks", and bogus testimonials.
If Google is shutting down ads for that kind of product, I can only give them kudos, for essentially banning con-men who take advantage of desperate people.
The alternative would require giving regulators the resources and power to screen through advertisements and pursue every offender individually.
TFA is a gray area. I don't have a problem with Google's requirement so much as their capricious implementation. But if they decide it's OK to say, "We don't like the sound of that type of offer. You shall not pass." That I would have a real problem.
To be clear, this is a hypothetical brought up by the parent of my original post and referring to things like miracle diet ads that he/she doesn't like.
They have to walk a tight rope, doing enough curation to avoid government and public outcry, and at the same time, not doing too much. The world isn't black and white, it's always gray, and deciding where to draw the line is not something which is objective.
Who is Walmart to decide what goes into their stores? After all, they make and break small companies every day of the week with those decisions, in just as dramatic fashion as the way Google does.
They did not ban our account or anything, they were happy to take a few of our dollars :) (we didn't get to the MVP stage, just an embarassingly bad landing page), but traffic was a lot less than I expected (and I can't seem to tweak our ads to stay out of Indian pages, we wanted U.S. only). At least we only paid per clicks.
I understand (and can tolerate) false positives in regards to software but there was no excuse for the uneven application by human editors of the guidelines.
Why? Humans are more fallible than computers, not less. Expecting that replacing the computers in a process with humans will improve predictability is insanity.
After years of flagging, checking, and verifying ok, they still flagged every single ad. I tried get them to move towards a 'trust me, spot check, and ban me forever if you catch me cheating' model (hell, my grocery store does this for me- I can carry a scanner and ring up my own items). But they wouldn't do it.
That's good advice. It is also a sad indicator of bad things are.
- Google adds some terms like "assisted opening knife" and "assist folding knife" so they are recognized as prohibited knife ads. Adding these terms could very well have been automated based on the terms having a strong association with other terms found alongside prohibited items.
- knife-depots' account suddenly contains X% disallowed knife ads, based on the new terms - where X is relatively large percentage. Account automatically disabled.
- Amazon and Walmart also have X% disallowed knife ads, but X is an extremely small percent of their overall number of items. Accounts remain active.
Fortunately, AdWords is one of the few Google properties where you can actually get a human on the phone and have them intervene with the automated results (though it can certainly take a lot of back and forth, in my personal experience).
In a more general sense, this is something that you constantly run in to if you have your automated systems performing any action that a user could view as punitive. I've yet to see a site that was open about automated actions being such - likely because they don't want to make it too easy to automate getting around the automated rules - but it does seem like there is a reasonable amount of explanation of the system that could diffuse these assumptions of persecution.
When you say "Amazon and Walmart also have X% disallowed knife ads, but X is an extremely small percent of their overall number of items. Accounts remain active." the implication is that total ad spend vs banned ad ratio prevails. That would suggest that the knife guys could start advertising flowers, buy 90% of their AdWords for their buddy the florist and only 10% of their AdWords for their knives and be Okay. I don't think it would work out.
Google is just acting poorly here, why doesn't matter. As the original poster points out, 'assisted open' knives are legal for sale in the US (even in California which is kind of picky about such things). They aren't part of the terms of service explicitly, so either they are or they aren't. And if they are, they are for everybody, and if they aren't they are aren't for everybody.
I'm sure if .01% of WalMart's ad spend was for Canadian pharmaceuticals that they would be shut down in a heartbeat (because the Government really came down hard on Google for that).
Its common knowledge that one of the ways larger successful sellers on Ebay harass smaller sellers is by reporting them for various rules violations. When a "Power Seller" has a dedicates account manager inside Ebay they don't have to put up with random reports like the small guy who randomly gets someone in the problem reporting staff. That asymmetry is exploited to mitigate small seller effectiveness. I have no idea if this goes on in "AdWord" competitors but some of the lawsuits I've read from various people (especially on contested keywords) suggests the advertisers (or their agencies) aren't above such tactics.
Whether AdWords should allow "assisted open knife" ads is beside the point. Correct or not, AdWords is counting those as prohibited, the allegation of the OP is that AdWords banning criteria are applied differently to large accounts. I'm suggesting that the criteria is applied _exactly the same_, based on a percentage.
What I'm describing is also how Google Product Listing Ads get moderated: if X% of your items are in violation, your account is automatically shut down, pending appeal. Google sends a warning when you reach (X - Y)%, and another email when you reach X% and your account is shut down. I administrate 30,000+ PLA accounts and deal with this on a daily basis. This banning process is completely automated.
No. I reasoned to it by flipping it over. If the banning is purely percentage based then a viable business would be to create an entity that laundered AdWords spend. This is how it would work.
Let's call our company "Ads-r-us" and it contracts with Knife Depot and 1-800 Flowers. It charges Knife Depot a 'premium' to get its 'ban-inducing ads' and it charges 1-800-Flowers a discount because its ads are "clean." It structures the premium and the discount such that there is a bit of cream in the middle for it to keep. Then our entity goes off and buys Ad insertions at various bid points. Knife Depot can advertise forever since there is no risk of them being banned because Ads-R-Us is keeping the percentages in check.
I looked around for these guys, I don't see them. (And as a web search engine they aren't talking to me either). So either they don't exist (which I reason is unlikely given how much thought people put into 'scamming' the advertising business on internet ads) or such a scheme wouldn't work. And if it really is strictly percentage based it would work.
From that my thinking was that it might not be purely percentage based. No one is picking up the Canadian Pharma ads, and they have a LOT of money to throw around.
And the little guy, selling the same product in competition with the big guy, gets killed.
It's often better to have a level playing field.
You ban anyone selling banned items. I think vendors would respond quickly by self-censoring, especially the big guys.
Assisted-opening knives are a tiny fraction of Amazon's sales. If assisted-opening knife advertisements cut off Amazon's entire account, as has happened with Knife Depot, I'm pretty sure that Amazon would de-list assisted-opening knives.
A zero-tolerance policy, coupled with ample forgiveness for infractions, would be fair. Alternatively, you let anyone advertise anything.
Anything in-between turns Google into a kingmaker.
(NB - the very notion of censoring listings at all carries its own troubles, not at issue here)
I'm shocked that people litteraly sell knives designed to hurt people on the internet, and that people on HN come to the defence of these arms dealers. I assumed this was about kitchen knives when I clicked on the link.
The US constitution was written with a right to bear arms so people could overthrow the government, not protect themselves from criminals. Since then, that government has entrenched power to the point where it would be nearly impossible for even another state to take it down, let alone a group of armed civilians - thus rendering the constitutional clauses irrelevant to their original purpose. (note to secret services: no, I don't want to overthrow governments or start wars, I'm talking hypothetically.)
In the rest of the developed world where weapons are generally banned, as they are in the UK, criminals simply don't use weapons on civilians (apart from high value targets, perhaps) because the penalties for doing so are so harsh. Criminals literally throw their guns away in a chase, rather than use them on the police/get caught with them. Police are generally unarmed, apart from specially trained units (dawn raids, at airports, etc).
This is the sole reason I would never ever consider living in the USA - the risk from a) criminals, b) civilian "heros" and c) the police themselves, all of whom are armed to the teeth, legally. Terrifying.
the former is safe to put into my pocket
Note that all kinds of easy to carry knifes are not illegal, like hunting knifes or swiss army knifes.
The idea of spring loaded folding knives being super enhanced murder tools is a fantasy in the minds of people who have watched too many movies from the 50s. I mean seriously, what do you picture? People squaring up for knife fights in dark alleys where every millisecond counts? Give me a break.
Dozens more sources similar to what you can find in the above links if you search via your favorite search engine.
Violence is classified somewhat differently in the UK; however, removing the differences in classification still shows the UK leading in violent crimes vs the US or a fair number of other countries.
Also for some hilarious reading, why not read this article from THE SAME publication that you linked to that says the UK has a massive knife crime problem: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1546085/The-vagaries-...
The different between the two estimates - derived from the questioning of
around 600 under-25s about whether they had been "knifed or stabbed",
and then extrapolated to the wider population, with all the statistical
vagaries that entails - reflects the lack of precise information about the
scale of knife crime in England and Wales.
I agree that murder, as one type of violent crime, is more prominent here in the US than in the UK on a per capita basis.
Crime stats are most definitely open to a lot of interpretation between countries, actual reported statistics vs unreported, varying definitions, and more.
Even in that article it provides the number 927 murders in 2007. Compared to America's 16,929 murders in 2007. America's population is much larger than the UK though, 4.91 times. So you multiply the UK's murder rate by nearly 5 and get a paltry 4,557 compared to America's 16,929.
Murder is unequivocally a violent crime; however, I believe "violent crimes" can cover assault of just about any type, sexual crimes and more.
Just to provide a counter-anecdote, the fact that I couldn't legally own weapons capable of leveling the playing field between me and an armed criminal makes me disinclined to ever consider living in the UK. The best I can do for protection is a baseball bat? Terrifying.
My habit of jaywalking probably puts me in far more danger than either not having a weapon in the UK or simply living in the US where others do, but I rarely give jaywalking a second thought.
Right. Because they are both irrational. Fear isn't a rational thing. I think both tehwalrus's comment and mine are two very different responses to the same fear.
tehwalrus fears being surrounded by people who are "armed to the teeth, legally." I fear being surrounded by people who are armed to the teeth, illegally. tehwalrus would rather those people not be armed at all. I would rather have the ability to at least attempt to defend myself with comparable force.
Where we differ is in our assumptions. I assume that no law will ever make firearms magically inaccessible to criminals.
> The chances of being the victim of random violent in either country is not worth worrying about.
Yep. I realize, in the rational parts of my mind, that if I sold my guns tomorrow and never touched one again, I have a pretty high probability of living to a ripe old age without ever being a victim of violence. I don't want to put words in tehwalrus' mouth, but I think he probably realizes too that if he were to live in the States, the chance of one of those gun-carriers around him on a day to day basis going on a shooting spree is quite small.
But my point is that fear is immune to statistics. In my mind, owning guns for self-defense (and, on a side note, knowing when and how to use them legally) is the exact same thing as buying life insurance. Statistically, will I ever need life insurance? No. Otherwise insurance companies wouldn't make a profit. But there's always the chance. So in the same way that I want my family to be provided for in the event that I die unexpectedly, I want the ability to attempt to defend myself and the people I care about.
Would I prefer to live in a perfect world where nobody's afraid of violence? Absolutely. But unfortunately we don't live in such a place.
Sure, it is not impossible to own a gun in the UK, but the laws do make it a lot more difficult. Because there's no legal supply, they're harder to get hold of, and even if a criminal does, they're taking a significant risk every time they carry it around. It just isn't worthwhile for random petty criminals to carry a gun in the same way as in the US. The result is that criminals having guns simply isn't something that people in the UK worry about, to the extent that we are even comfortable with an unarmed police force.
Of course the big difference between the US and the UK is the number of guns available. Making guns as inaccessible in the US as they are in the UK would be a phenomenal undertaking, and likely would result temporarily in the "only outlaws have guns" scenario from pro-gun rhetoric. It would be nice if there was a gradual path you guys could take, but realistically you're probably just stuck with them.
I live in one of the most violent bits of London. Someone was murdered with a modified athletic starting pistol two years ago within 500 yards of my flat (a bystander, since such weapons are hugely inaccurate).
I don't assume that such weapons won't be in the hands of criminals - I assume that they will be more difficult to obtain, since for example all handguns are illegal, and will have absolutely no incentive to use one on me even if they have one, since they know I'm not armed.
EDIT: this is for gp.
It's late and I'm tired, so I must be missing the point you're making here. How does knowing whether a criminal is coming affect the argument for or against firearms for defense? It takes me about 2 seconds to ready a firearm, and I have this excellent living burglar alarm called a "black labrador retriever" who will give me at least that much warning. :)
> Fun exercise: did guns save more lives or took more away?
Took more away, definitely. What's your point? We can't magically un-invent firearms, unfortunately.
So essentially you're triggering an arms race, the results of which can be seen in the US.
The European (or possible "every other developed country") approach is to not even try to fight criminals (again, you have little chance anyway, they are professionals after all) but rely on the police, where the police has such overwhelming force that no reasonable person would try to fight them.
Given crime statistics, the European approach appears to result in a lot less crime and violence.
Here in the US, tolerance to do and say "whatever the hell I want" is demanded but rarely returned.
Do you think the penalties in the US are less harsh? Kill a cop here and you get the death penalty (in many states).
> This is the sole reason I would never ever consider living in the USA - the risk from a) criminals, b) civilian "heros" and c) the police themselves, all of whom are armed to the teeth, legally. Terrifying.
I think you have an exaggerated view of the dangers of living in the US.
If they don't use weapons, how do they have guns to throw away?
UK Criminals do use weapons, including knives, to hurt people, which is why you guys have started running anti-knife campaigns, as detailed here:
I'm shocked that people litteraly sell knives designed to hurt people on the internet, and that people on HN come to the defence of these arms dealers.
Most of the knives in question are general-purpose utility knives. They are not designed to hurt people, and that is not the reason most people own them. I carry a Kershaw Leek myself; it has a 3 inch blade, assisted opening, a frame lock and a pocket clip. I routinely use it to open packages, trim rough edges off various objects, cut rope, strip wire, scrape contaminants off surfaces and remove those nasty little sticky screw covers from laptop computers. I have studied and practice the use of a knife as a weapon, but that is not a significant reason I carry a knife, and I would carry a different knife (or more likely, a pistol) if it was.
I've been to the UK. I did not bring my knife because I knew it would be illegal to carry there. Turns out, it's probably illegal to own there, and the multitool I usually keep in my backpack might be illegal to carry in public because it has a locking blade. I never really noticed how much I use my knife until I started going to Europe regularly and couldn't bring it along. I'm constantly reaching for it and finding it missing. I've been carrying a knife of some sort since I was 12.
Since then, that government has entrenched power to the point where it would be nearly impossible for even another state to take it down, let alone a group of armed civilians - thus rendering the constitutional clauses irrelevant to their original purpose.
Aside from the fact that some Americans aren't so happy about that, I think you're mistaken. A large minority of the civilian population would have a much easier time deposing the government and instituting a new one than a foreign state (or group of US states attempting to secede) would. A foreign state attempting to overthrow the US government would have to deal with a fully committed US military and a large portion of the civilian population, which, as you noted is well armed. A large minority of the population rising up against the government would likely gain the support of some of the military and could blend in with the rest of the population when not fighting.
In the rest of the developed world where weapons are generally banned, as they are in the UK, criminals simply don't use weapons on civilians because the penalties for doing so are so harsh
I don't think that's the reason. Penalties for being a felon in possession of a firearm in most US states are severe. Having a weapon while committing a crime, even if it was otherwise legal to have the weapon and the weapon was not used in the crime usually comes with a significant mandatory minimum prison sentence. Firing a gun during another crime means decades in prison.
Criminal-on-civilian violence actually is pretty rare though; the vast majority of violent felonies in the US are criminal-on-criminal. The danger to civilians from Johnny the drug dealer shooting Jimmy the drug dealer is small.
I think this is pretty rosy-colored view of what would happen. A "large minority" would have to be several hundred thousand people, perhaps a few million. Anything less is just a radical cult that will promptly be put down...and everyone will say "thank goodness" as they watch on the evening news. If something big enough happens that a few million people take up arms, you have a full blown civil war and things are totally different.
Stockpiling guns and weapons is the opiate of libertarians - "it's fine, I have the weaponry I need to overthrow the government if things get bad enough". In reality, you have a better chance fighting zombies than successfully overthrowing the government through violent means.
To be clear, I have nothing against guns. I'll probably purchase one once I've moved into a more rural area. But I'm under no illusion that the weapon will ever be useful in deposing any government.
You'll get no dispute from me on that point. I don't even think that it matters much whether a group of the appropriate size starts out armed; the benefit to such a group from having an armed population has more to do with knowing how to use weapons that having stockpiles of them.
I routinely use it to open packages, trim rough edges off various objects, cut rope, strip wire, scrape contaminants off surfaces and remove those nasty little sticky screw covers from laptop computers.
The few of these tasks that actually require a knife, I use my kitchen knife. In fairness, I rarely need to do any of this stuff outside my flat what with living in a city and having a desk-occupation (not job, exactly, grad student.)
packages: my keys, trim edges: I have files (big and small), cut rope: not had to do this in a long time, clean surfaces: dude, scouring pad! screws (even sticky ones): a head-swapable screwdriver with a good handle (I have one with all the torx ones etc).
I think I got a pen knife (non-locking, with screwdrivers etc) as a present for my 10th birthday. I haven't owned one for a long while.
I have loads of tools, I carry them around all the time (bike bag) - In fact, I had to leave my bike tools with security when visiting someone in Parliament once. Among them, however, was nothing resembling a knife.
screws (even sticky ones)
I actually meant the plastic covers with sticky backing found on some laptops so that users are not subjected to the horrible sight of a screw head.
The reason is because I didn't catch the other users. Or their infraction isn't as bad.
While I feel bad for the knife company, I also know dealing with user-generated content (like these ads) is hard.
That's your reason, not Google's. Google knows full well who is bidding on what keyword. Are you suggesting they are under-staffed, under budgeted or overwhelmed in their task of keeping AdWords clean? I'm not buying it. Google has the resources to evenly apply guidelines, they're not a one-man show who's too busy to squash out violators.
Of course they are overwhelmed by the taks of keeping AdWords clean, just like Apple is overwhelmed by the task of timely approving apps for App Store, despite having more money than god and the number of AdWord ads submitted to Google is several orders of magnitude greater than number of Apps submitted to Apple.
Processes that involve humans are inherently non-scalable and determining whether an ad crosses the line of acceptable usage is a human task.
And humans have different opinions so there will never be "evenly applying guidelines", not for google ads, not for App Store apps. The only time 3 people have exactly the same opinion is when 2 of them are dead.
"We'd rather discuss this on the phone," he said.
"We can approve your app, but can you please remove all references to midgets touching themselves, first?"
Would've paid to have seen that in writing.
Uh, what? Where does it state that the ads are user generated?
If there was some small company that got away with it, you might be right. But the issue here isn't Walmart's actions going unnoticed.
That's not really an excuse because no one forces Google to be in the user generated ad business. They want money from advertisers so they should do all they can to offer the best service possible.
"no one forces you to do X" argument cuts both ways?
"For that reason, we wanted to let you guys, loyal Cutting Edge readers and Knife Depot fans, know that you might not being seeing Knife Depot ads peppered across the Internet."
If you don't get to advertise with Google you basically don't get to advertise on the Internet. That's a powerful monopoly, one they've had for years, and that's the real story here. You have to deal with Google and all their idiosyncratic/evil/whatever behavior because there's no alternative.
> While some Googlers felt singled out unfairly for the attention, the more measured among them understood it as a natural consequence of Google’s increasing power, especially in regard to distributing and storing massive amounts of information. “It’s as if Google took over the water supply for the entire United States,” says Mike Jones, who handled some of Google’s policy issues. “It’s only fair that society slaps us around a little bit to make sure we’re doing the right thing.”
(In a part generally about advertising, fittingly enough.)
Amazon is pretty reasonable (knives are fine, firearms accessories are fine, but firearms and ammunition are out due to compliance issues). Google has no excuse.
As a target shooter, I don't find this any more reasonable than a gay person might find "personal ads are fine, but not gay personal ads".
All too often our definition of "reasonable" is "gores HIS ox but not mine".
I'm not familiar with the legal issues. However, it is perfectly reasonable for Amazon to comply with the law. Perhaps the laws are stupid, but that's not Amazon's fight.
There are very few extra legal limitations for selling ammunition over the internet. These legal limitations could be shifted to third-party retailers, with Amazon as a middleman only.
There are literally no extra legal limitations or regulations for a company selling (non-firearm) firearm parts, which Amazon does not allow.
Selling ammunition requires roughly the same amount of legal red tape as selling knives or tasers (which Amazon already does).
Apparently their policy (http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=2...) allows a lot of things, but not other things, in a not entirely consistent way. Primers and brass are ok, but not bullets. Stocks are fine, but not barrels. wtf.
There are some parts where Amazon would have liability. Magazines, for instance, especially since Amazon likes to be able to warehouse items wherever it finds most convenient. 30 round magazines would be really complex given that some states ban them.
As for Magazines introducing liability, Amazon stocks thousands of items like Knives, Tasers, Pepper spray, etc. that are illegal in some states but legal in others (just like magazines).
For Amazon to enter online sales of weapons, they have to address a mess of state and local compliance issues which are not their core competency. No matter what your opinion is on firearms and ammunition, Amazon's reticence as a business to get involved with that seems very reasonable to me.
Not impossible, to be sure. But it sounds like a lot of work and potential customer problems.
Federal law already requires that anyone selling guns by mail-order do exactly that. A gun can only be shipped to a licensed dealer, who must then perform a background check on the buyer before handing it over. It's common enough that almost all gun stores have a set fee for providing this service.
It could also just be an economic decision, but given that Amazon prohibits certain firearms parts which aren't regulated anywhere (except maybe APO mailing to military, or internationally) like trigger assemblies, it seems more likely a corporate image thing.
For example, transport over state lines may require coordination with the shipper. For Amazon, having attorneys stay up to date on the law in multiple jurisdictions doesn't fit with their operating model.
Knives are less difficult regulatory-wise, and where there are local legal issues, they usually aren't serious felonies.
Unless the customer was coming to pick up the weapon themselves (at our location) we would only ship guns to FFL's. The FFL was also the one who did the background check as far as I'm aware. I don't know what percentage of our sales were local pickups but I am guessing we did the background for those (we had an FFL).
They shut down but the company made it up to 70 or so employees. I don't know how we kept up on the laws. Our suppliers might have done that as we were sort of a middleman from the suppliers to the customers.
I do remember that we needed to track a lot of things for the ATF and they had to be very accurate. The ATF would come in once a year or so and audit the logs and other things related to shipping. I never saw them but I remember the boss(es) being stressed during those weeks.
Once you add in state laws (e.g. Californians can't buy rifles in Nevada in person, although Nevadans and most other state residents can), and the penalties for non-compliance, and I don't think it's reasonable to require Amazon deal with firearms.
Through Marketplace it might be a little bit more vague. But a pure advertising site should be comfortable running firearms ads. If the owner is personally opposed to firearms, no one is forcing him to carry those ads, but I'm a (very small) part owner of Google, so for a public company, it's probably not a great position to take.
They already calculate local taxes (city and county taxes too!) for the states in which they choose to tax.
For another example, the pawnshop on Pawn Stars doesn't deal with modern firearms. Because they don't have a license. Because they decided it wasn't worth the hassle/effort/expense.
Dealing with firearms can be hard/expensive compared to selling other things (like knives and accessories). Dealing with gay personal ads is no more hard or expensive than regular personal ads.
That said, the issue here is not how lethal one is over the other, but Google playing judge,jury and executioner for something they should have no right to jurisdict over.
4.8 murders per 100,000 in the US vs 1.2 per 100,000 in the UK.
The figures _do_ take size into account.
United States: 4.8
United Kingdom: 1.2
vacri's statement seems completely accurate.
Murders in the US are currently sitting at 14k, ~11k of which are from firearms. The US only has 5 times more people than the UK, which would turn your stat into a rough US-equivalent of 1.7k.
Good news is that their soldiers will have guns, and you can get a good advantage on them by staying in close quarters environments with your knifes.
How come your measure of offense is more important than mine?
Also, if you want to play community standards, I'm pretty sure the majority of the people who live around Google HQ (Bay Area + SF) would agree with me.
It's a fair argument that porn is pure free speech and thus should be less regulated than guns, or that it's morally superior (although I'd say sex is morally superior to violence; porn is in some most cases morally inferior to sex)
Craigslist is pretty aggressively anti-weapon. Do you boycott them?
In a stylised securities transaction we have customers, brokers, and an exchange. Customers have choices between brokers. Brokers, of which there are many, exercise discretion in how much capability they give which customers. The exchange, of which there is one, exercises discretion in which brokers it transacts with, but not which customers get to transact on it. This is important since the exchange has something approaching monopoly power. It also means the exchanges aren't liable for non-compliant customers - the brokers are.
Skip back to Google. Search is the exchange and Advertising is the broker. The exchange only permits one broker. Naturally, the broker-exchange is liable for policing non-compliant and stupid customers (barring a very large expansion in government which would permit it to monitor all transactions going through Google). It has also extended its exchange monopoly power to its broker.
We love disintermediation. But intermediaries facilitate checks on concentration in a competitive system.
I have nothing against this guy promoting his business, but this is a switchblade as far as I'm concerned, just a slightly different design.
But with respect to this article, the biggest problem I see is not whether or not they are allowed, but that Google is setting arbitrary rules, rather than democratically elected representatives, and that the policy is the even arbitrarily enforced.
Google is a corporation, so I don't see how the views of anyone besides their shareholders are binding. i don't agree with the premise that you have to use adwords or you're stuck; if people think that's he case, then maybe they should raise the issue with the FTC.
In the switchblade, the button is releasing a wedge of some sort that is preventing the blade from then swinging out entirely due to the force of the spring. In the spring-assisted model, a spring is also present to propel the blade, but there is not enough tension for the blade to release on its own. Instead, the user must torque a lever a certain radial distance before the spring's force is sufficient to finish propelling the blade, hence the term "assisted."
In terms of time-to-readiness, this might not be a big difference. But I was always under the impression that switchblades was supposed to refer to spring-operated "plunging" type knives, where the blade is concealed in a chamber before being propelled outward by the spring, requiring only a click of a button rather than a slashing movement on the part of the operator to cause harm.
The former takes a few minutes of practice to open smoothly, the latter doesn't.
There's no reason to buy an assisted-opening knife if switchblades are also available. So yes, they absolutely exist to exploit a loophole. Loopholes in laws do tend to create (often short-lived) markets.
Having once owned a switchblade, it takes a bit of practice to hold it such a way that you can operate it but not block the path of the outswinging blade with your fingers. Watching the demonstration in this video, there doesn't seem to be any more force employed in operating the switch that there was in pressing the button. I agree that this is probably a short-lived thing that will fade away following a minor regulatory clarification.
It's not crazy to believe that a store solely selling knives will receive more attention from the Knife Patrol in the AdWords Q&A department than stores that sell hundreds of different categories. These things can also take time, no one notices when Knife Depot stops advertising, but if an account rep loses a multi-million dollar account like Amazon there will be heads rolling. Knife Depot just got their notice last month, I'd wait a bit before calling foul.
Google has decided that legal/illegal is not a sufficient criteria, and made up their own rules about how you can use their service, but then only applied those rules to smaller clients. That is the evil part.
This wouldn't feel so uncomfortable if google wasn't such a big player in the online advertising world.
Edit: To clarify, I've used knives professionally (diving instructor) and recreationally (kite surfer), but I fail to see the non-weapon use for a knife that is small (and therefore concealable) and also opens quickly. Not to mention the window-smashing attachment. 
That can be handy when trying to rescue someone, or so my volunteer firefighter friends tell me. Claiming that such a feature has no legitimate purpose is like claiming that a crowbar has no legitimate purpose.
"I fail to see the non-weapon use for a knife that is small (and therefore concealable) and also opens quickly"
Small knives are easy to carry around, that should be obvious. As for opening quickly, that is just a convenience -- why should convenience be frowned upon? Would you be less concerned if these were fixed blade knives?
Sure, knives and crowbars are weapons when you apply them to human beings. People have been murdered with screwdrivers (is a small screwdriver a bad thing?). On the other hand, the NATO e-tool, designed for use by soldiers at war, is often used for gardening because it is convenient -- it can be used as an ax, it can be used as a shovel, it folds up for easy storage, etc.
I am an Eagle scout. Being able to quickly pull a knife out and open it one handed, due to it being assisted opening and small enough to clip into my pocket, has been beneficial more time than I can count.
I have had a knife in my pocket nearly every day since high school. I have used it thousands of times in that time period. I never once used it as a weapon.
I keep glassbreakers and seatbelt cutters in my car with easy access, and also have tools which can break glass. I've been to two (civilian) vehicle accidents where that was incredibly useful -- being able to break the glass to access a person in an upside-down or sideways car from the outside. I had a glassbreaker for one, and the other I had to use a crowbar, which kind of sucked. I don't really see a "weapon" use of a glass breaker, particularly if you already have a knife or firearm to hand.
I also used a kershaw AO knife all the time to cut things while holding something else -- for instance, cutting open dressings while holding pressure, since someone had taken my shears. Or opening a cardboard box while holding it.
The very existence of these knives is clearly to circumvent existing laws regarding switchblades.
This is entirely separate from the big-guys vs little-guys argument being made against Google.
Those laws should be circumvented; they are as stupid as laws prohibiting Bowie knives.
They're just more convenient.
Knives are horrible, horrible weapons.
These are clearly NOT intended to be used as weapons, as they are normal, everyday lock-back knives. Knives intended to be weapons, such as those modeled after the Krambit design, are fairly rare in public, especially among people who use knives (their shape and features make them much less useful). Your outrage is misplaced - we are not having a weapon talk.
Google not allowing ads for something that is legal is bullshit. Them not allowing ads for some people, but allowing them for others, over the same product, is evil.
I think the "evil" part relates to discriminating against certain vendors instead of treating all vendors equally and consistently.
They ARE in a clear violation of Google's policy which prohibits selling knives as weapons. They seem to have some confusion about the word of the ban, but as I linked elsewhere - http://support.google.com/adwordspolicy/answer/176077?hl=en
This is not at all unclear. The examples of banned knives are not the exhaustive set.
And for what it's worth, assisted opening knives are only legal by the most marginal of gray areas (that the "button" is laughably a part of the blade rather than the side handle).
It mentions several categories of knives that are legally restricted in many jurisdictions. It then goes on to say that the promotion of swords and kitchen knives is allowed. Based on the OP's claims, it appears that utility pocket knives are allowed as long as they don't have assisted opening.
It's also not clear from this page that Google has a problem with the use of adwords to sell products not banned from advertising in a store that also sells products Google refuses to advertise.
This is completely ambiguous. There are knives marketed as having been designed with input from various figures in the martial arts world or using terms like "tactical"; it's probably reasonably to say that those are designed, or at least marketed as weapons. Kitchen knives obviously aren't intended as weapons. Every other non-decorative knife on the market falls somewhere between those two points.
Google has evidently decided that assisted opening == weapon, but does not say so on its policy page. This decision is not consistent with the marketing of most assisted opening knives, nor with the opinions of knife enthusiasts. Of course, there are probably very few objective criteria one could use to determine if a pocket-size folding knife is intended to be a weapon.
I also reiterate that it is not clear from the page that selling an item banned from advertising (an assisted opening knife) on the same website as an item advertised on adwords that is allowed to be advertised on adwords (some other kind of knife that Google doesn't consider a weapon) is against the rules. Indeed, the main point of the complaint appears to be that larger adwords customers like Amazon and Walmart are doing exactly that.
Every one of them could be used to kill someone, just like a crowbar.
Nothing about "assisted opening knives" makes them "clearly intended to be used as weapons." It is a convenience, just like my pocket knife conveniently locks open. Why should a tool not be convenient?
Finally, the important distinction here is that Google is not refusing to advertise these knives, they are only refusing to allow this one, small company to advertise those knives. That is a key detail -- Google has no problem with the knives when Amazon is selling them.
That seems a bit melodramatic. I have one that I keep around for general use around the home. Good for opening boxes, cutting twine/zipties, etc. It's very nice since I can put it in my pocket (unlike a paring knife) and can open it with one hand (unlike a pocket knife). It is a just plain practical design.
This is product sold only to teenage boys desperately seeking that high of invincibility.
Bullshit. I did.
> having it trigger unintentionally
There is no way in hell. Do you even know what assisted opening knifes are? They are not switchblades.
> This is product sold only to teenage boys desperately seeking that high of invincibility.
They are sold to anybody that wants to have a knife that is safe but can be opened with one hand. In other words, damn near everybody who has a use for a non-kitchen knife.
I see in your other post you claimed that, then listing exactly the use that people resort to a box cutter for (cutting twine, opening boxes, etc, safely opened and closed with one hand, etc).
Do you even know what assisted opening knifes are? They are not switchblades.
Instead of having a button on the side of the knife that causes it to trigger open via spring actuation, it has a trigger lever on the blade back that causes it to trigger open via spring actuation, almost certainly being designed specifically to get around overly specific anti-switchblade laws. They are legal only by a trivial technicality of switchblade laws.
You know there's a video directly in the linked blog posting. And anyone not lying to themselves can clearly see that the differences are laughable.
I also have a box-cutter (which by the way, thanks to its lower mass and design, can be opened just as quickly with one hand, despite lacking a spring assist...) Sometimes I use one, other times I use the other. Do you have a problem with that?
> Instead of having a button on the side of the knife that causes it to trigger open via spring actuation, it has a trigger lever on the blade back that causes it to trigger open via spring actuation
So I take it you have never actually used one...
Regardless, they come in many forms. Mine has a thumb-bar on the blade. There is absolutely no accidental opening of the knife, it requires a non-trivial amount of pressure to push past the point where the spring takes over and until that point, the spring works against you. It is as safe as any knife can be and is, quite clearly, a knife designed to be more convenient than regular pocket knives.
Besides your made up bullshit about them being unsafe, why would anyone in the market for a cheap folding knife not buy one that had a spring assist? It is 100% a matter of practicality.
This is not my knife, though mine is of the same form: http://www.amazon.com/Smith-Wesson-SWATMB-Assisted-Opening/d... (notice the "tools and home improvement" section...) Not a high quality knife by any means, but it is incredibly practical and useful.
Believe it or not, not all knife owners are members of the Sharks or the Jets...
Knife has an edge actuator that, when pushed (by your thumb, the table you're leaning against...you know, anything that pushes on it), causes it to kinetically open. I think most of the people around here are fairly intelligent and can see countless accidental deployments scenarios, notwithstanding your endless cries of "bullshit!".
notice the "tools and home improvement" section...
Knife is by Smith & Wesson and is called a SWAT knife. Totally a "tool and home improvement" section. At this point I think you must be just having a laugh.
You have clearly never used one of these knives, you are just pulling shit out of your ass. I can imagine absolutely no scenario in which you might accidentally open one on a table, let alone with your thumb. It requires very deliberate action, with enough force to leave an indent on your thumb (seriously, if you accidentally do that you have nerve damage and should see a physician), and only becomes "kinetic" (barely, it clicks into place with enough force to lock itself) when it is already past 90 degrees open. If you are somehow accidentally doing this with a table edge (how???) your greatest danger is the fact that this knife is probably going to fall onto your foot. How do you survive in modern kitchens if you are so hopelessly oblivious?
> Knife is by Smith & Wesson and is called a SWAT knife. Totally a "tool and home improvement" section. At this point I think you must be just having a laugh.
Who cares what it is called, or who makes it? Seriously, how does that effect the functionality of the knife AT ALL? What are you going to do next, complain that it is black?
You have clearly never used one of these knives
You refute me by making claims directly contrary to the video in the story being discussed. You know, the company making the product being discussed, where a protruding trigger is, with obviously little force via an index finger, actuated causing the blade to immediately swing 180 degrees at a high rate of speed.
But your personal experience is fascinating nonetheless, however completely irrelevant.
* If you are somehow accidentally doing this with a table edge*
The context of my comment on it is that people who actually use knives as tools don't use knives made for 14 year old boys, emblazoned with names like "SWAT" by gun makers. I stand by that.
You were not discussing that. You were making claims about the broader category of knives saying: "No one using a knife as a tool is going to buy an assisted opening knife" (In response to someone who provided a concrete example of where such a knife may be used even!) If you are vilifying everyone that owns that general category of knife, then my experiences with another knife in that category could not be more relevant.
> The context of my comment on it is that people who actually use knives as tools don't use knives made for 14 year old boys, emblazoned with names like "SWAT" by gun makers. I stand by that.
You'll be glad to know then that mine is not. However you have yet to explain how gaudy aesthetics are at all relevant. What about the form of that knife do you think renders it unsuitable for practical non-violent use?
> I suggest you try posting minus variations of "bullshit" or "shit".
Do you prefer "crap"? I prefer "shit".
I think we are done here though. I'll leave you with this, two non-scary looking assisted opening knives explicitly for hunting, fishing, and camping. One hansom, the other gaudy yet 'non-military': http://www.ebay.com/itm/New-Stainless-Steel-Assisted-Opening... http://compare.ebay.com/like/150975567917?var=lv<yp=Al...
Clearly both instruments of murder and mayhem.
It's no wonder that Google has started pouring large amounts of effort into lobbying in the last few years, because it's precisely this combination of de facto monopoly combined with poor treatment of customers who have no-where else to go that leads (eventually) to legislation or possibly even break-up of the company in question.
To paraphrase a famous quote: you may not be interested in politics, but politics is interested in you, whether you like it or not.
Yes, I work for a big company that filters the web and it does suck for me... but since a lot of people shop online while at work, it also sucks for you
Personally, if I'm going to buy a knife, I'll buy it from Amazon. I trust them on a whole bunch of levels that I don't trust these guys.
Is it fair? I've been doing SEO / PPC for over a decade and its never, ever been fair.
"1 Badass Knife Per Week" is an opt-in offer that would get my attention, even though I'm not a knife guy.
I expand on this idea in this post: http://www.tinylever.com/one-badass-knife-per-week
Why be dependent on Google for your sales? Pay them once up front to help grow your list, and you'll be able monetize each subscriber for their lifetime using email - a FREE channel you own and control 100%.
A list is really where it's at, but to make list-building work you need a single opt-in offer that will cause people to sign up on the spot.
If you'd like some ideas for crafting your opt in offer, reach out right now by email: dan [at] tinylever [dot] com
Don't get me wrong, I hate the idea of government telling anyone what they can and cannot do. Massive monopolies is one place where I can see a need for some kind of legal intervention. The reason obviously being that a large monopoly has no competing entity to force it to modify its behavior.
While it is true that Google tries to "clean-up" their search I think this is almost an arrogant stance. How can a few hundred people be in charge of deciding what you and I should and should not see? Methinks we should be given control. If I don't like weapons of any kind I ought to be able to go to my control panel and exclude them from my results. It should be my choice, not theirs.
That said, these "assisted opening" blades are an obvious example of exploiting a loophole in the laws. For all intents and purposes they are switch blades. The end result is exactly the same: Open a knife very quickly.
Then there's the whole argument about how much sense it makes to granularly ban stuff like this. I have no clue as to how much crime out there can be attributed directly to switch blades. Probably not much at all. Although I do remember that knives are on par with certain types of guns in terms of murders per year.
Circling back, the "Google Syndrome" is one that is constantly growing in threat level. I've said this many time. I like their services, but this business of killing your account auto-magically with no real business process in place to deal with the problems is just total bullshit. At one point it has to stop. I have no clue what's going to make that happen, but it sure seems to be leaving a path of destruction behind it.
The best thing we can do is stop using every new Google service they throw at us. I know, it's hard to let go of the free drugs, but look at what you are promoting and decide if this is what you want in the future five times over.
> For that reason, we wanted to let you guys, loyal Cutting Edge readers and Knife Depot fans, know that you might not being seeing Knife Depot ads peppered across the Internet.
The thorny part about it is that the guidelines that can lead to suspension change over time and deleting ads that are no longer in compliance might not safeguard your account. I've known account holders that got suspended retroactively for ads that are no longer in compliance, even though these ads were actually deleted before the guidelines changed. The point seems to be non-negotiable with Google though.
This can be pretty tragic for many small businesses since Google accounts for such a huge percentage of search traffic. Larger customers typically have dedicated account reps who I'm guessing might be able to help in these situations.
It is unreasonable to believe that someone at Google said, "Hey, I dont like these knief-depot people, let us screw them to benefit Amazon".
Likely case is this. People at Amazon (or put other large company spending significant amounts with Google) maintains a dashboard and does a competitor analysis to find out that knief-depot is doing better than them and hence there is scope for screwing this smaller company. They talk to google and create problems from them. And I dont think they have singled out knife depot alone, but they have done this with many more on the slippary slope.
This means that Google does have some non-transparent ways of doing business when with comes to Adwords.
This is not just bad for Knife-depot but bad for all of us.
Sounds like they were promoting knives, and hence violating the policy.
I saw "assault rifle" in quotes, because most people talking about these issues have no clue what an "assault rifle" really is, and are repeating garbage they heard from various anti-gun activist groups, who routinely use a totally bogus definition of "assault rifle" or "assault weapon". It's important to understand that owning a real assault rifle (that is, one capable of select-fire / bust-mode / fully automatic operation) IS legal but it's VERY highly regulated, VERY expensive, and you can only - as a civilian - purchase weapons manufactured before 1986.
I've seen folks use that rationale, but the 2A doesn't say "firearms" it says "arms" - presumably "knives, nunchucks, brass knuckles, etc" would fall under that, although that's clearly not how it's been interpreted.
The author(s) appear to take the position that knives are protected under the 2A and that many existing laws regulating knives are probably unconstitutional. At least from the bit I've had time to read so far...
Come to think of it, I don't know why that is, and I'm not arguing that it's correct.
Anyway, the real point is that there seems to be a lot more variation in laws concerning the legality of owning knives, nunchucks, brass-knuckles, etc., than there is about guns. Guns may be more highly regulated in general, but I don't know of a single state where private ownership of, say, a pistol, is illegal. But I'm pretty sure there are states where switch-blade knives are. But I'm working off memory here, so maybe I'm wrong.
But not to quibble over details... all I was originally saying is that, for whatever reason, laws on owning certain non-firearm weapons (switchblades, nunchuka, brass knuckles, saps, etc.) seem to vary wildly, whereas in general firearms ownership is legal in the entire United States.
It is an interesting situation, to be able to own, say, an AR15 or a 1911 pistol, while simultaneously not being able to own brass knuckles.
However, I am not an expert on your curious rules regarding the interpretation of laws, so I might very well be wrong.
Nunchaku and Nightsticks are also illegal in many places.
I'm not kidding. Read Massachusetts GL 269S10: http://www.knifeup.com/massachusetts-knife-law/
I can see some logic behind making switchblades illegal. They are easy to conceal both pre and post crime, as well as being low cost. Add to that there is no paperwork (that I'm aware of) to purchase one and you have a virtually untraceable weapon. That is hard to say about assault rifles.
" Baseball bats, tire irons, icicles: almost anything can become an untraceable weapon."
Perhaps I didn't pick my words correctly. What I mean is that I could stab somebody with a switchblade without drawing any attention to themselves after the fact. Not the same can be said about bulky items such as baseball bats, tire irons or even a chef's knife.
I don't buy the argument that assisted-opening knives should be more controlled because people think they were invented to hurt others. It's technology that many people have found utility in for meaningful purposes: construction workers, sailors and ships' crew, hunters and fishermen, and emergency response personnel. I think many of them would tell you it's incredibly helpful to be able to quickly open a knife with one-hand when you need it. Unfortunately, we live in a world where everyday things have inherent risks if used improperly. Sometimes they are used the wrong way with malicious intentions and the easiest way we can think to prevent trouble in the future is by regulating the objects, not the behavior.
And what respectable criminal wears shorts?!
Agreed. I think the banning of switchblades just pushed knife manufacturers to innovate, creating opening mechanisms which are just as fast, with fewer moving parts, and are actually easier on the knife. So they follow the letter of the law, but still violate its spirit. Not sure what that spirit is exactly though.
 In my experience, switchblades and some auto-openers open so forcefully that over time their locking mechanisms degrade.
Had he had a loaded pistol instead, I believe he would have never have been in the court system at all.
I want to cancel my Comcast account; they used to be my only option but very recently AT&T is now offering their "U-verse" internet in my neighborhood.
Knife depot is a small customer, and google cant justify the time to review your policies and risk that accepting you as a customer entails. If you screw up, google would probably take a large part of the blame.
The popular alternative hypothesis seem to be that google is pure evil.
I also can't understand the mantra of 'don't be evil' still gets mentioned. This is nothing more than cute brand association with no real grounding in truth. Google are a public company who can be evil. It is like the platitude that Google shuns product managers and welcomes engineers, implying that Google products sell themselves because of rock-solid engineering (totally disregarding the fact that Google have an aggressive sales force and have spent billions on marketing activities, both directly and indirectly).
Perhaps if every major large retailer in the US shaved off a few percent of their ad budget away from Google and gave it to one competitor, there'd be a slim fighting chance of actually upsetting Google's dominance, but I'm pretty sure that's not the case.
Relatedly(?), MS has avoided hardware for a long time... ostensibly under the guise of "not upsetting their partners". But... what would the partners do? Bundle Linux? In mobile, they're sort of doing this, but hardware partners left MS not because MS was competing in the hardware business against them - they left because the option (android) was better.
Companies like knife-depot are specialty, niche, hyper-focused on their particular product: knives. From their post, it's obvious they know those products inside and out. WalMart, Target, Amazon? They don't know squat about those products. If I want a specialty product such as the knife described in the article, I trust a specialty shop much more than the bulk-focused vendors.
As Google runs more of the specialty folks away and caters more to the big brands, I would venture they'll see click-through activity commensurate with that change. And that's called opportunity in that space.
Nice going, Google.
Eventually the person's main account was banned. Last I talked to him he was creating a bunch of fake accounts and running cloaked campaigns. It was much easier for him to be non-compliant on Adwords than compliant.
The real issue (verging on comedic) is when they kill your keywords or ads, and then your volume drops to the level where they really ignore you thereby preventing you from getting the service you were (or wanted) prior.
They suspended our account although we made the changes necessary to comply with their terms of service (you can't guarantee 1st page in SEO services).
In the meantime, some of our competitors can still advertise their services.
Since my account has been suspended, it massively slowed down the growth and I couldn't a better replacement.
I'm not clear. Did Knife Depot remove their ads or did Google?
And unlike other companies, they only care about BIG business money not small business money.
I know that all too well, they banned one of the web sites I owned for 'adult' content on first strike while competitors who had 10x the traffic (and 10x the reports of user uploaded adult content) remained in their network.
I never spoke to a single person there, always a robot. That was back in 2003.
Now my headphone jack failed on brand new Nexus 4 and I never heard back from Google at all.
This will bite them in the ass sooner or later.
Company tried to sell a product that Google prohibits. Where is the story here? Trying to say "well they do it too!" is not and is never a valid complaint, just as it wasn't in primary school -- their day will come. Further the desperate reaching to make Google evil is a stretch given that doing this can only possibly lose them money (favoring the "big guys" isn't rational for a bid-based service, where the highest bid gets Google the most money, regardless of the vendor).
The only real story here is that Google managed to achieve such dominance in advertising (though it certainly isn't as absolute as some are pretending).
Because their seems to be some confusion about how bid systems work (including by the dead post below), if Amazon and others outbid this company, netting more for Google, this would be a non-issue because you would have never seen this company's products.
It is notable that Google absolutely bans knives in the context of weapons, full stop (the author of the linked posting seems confused and thinks "such as" gives the specific culprits, when those are merely examples). This company may have authored their ads in a weapons manner, or targeted weapons-type keywords -- the sort of nonsense that gets Google sued by a bunch of state Attorneys down the road, everyone clucking about how evil Google is selling (indirectly) the knife that the kid used to do some evil.
EDIT: The only possible favoritism that Google might be showing her is in the context of legal responsibility. If some random knife site sells a kid a knife via a Adwords ad, everyone will come gunning for Google. If Walmart sells a knife to some kid, everyone will go gunning for Walmart, regardless of how they got the initial contact.
I don't see a conspiracy here, either - it just looks like the huge advertisers like Amazon have a lot more leverage in their relationship with Google than the tiny ones do, so are less likely to have the rules enforced as strictly against them.
The beauty of Hacker News!
It started at Google Adwords and is now going to Communist China and Stalinist Russia!! Just have a look at the comment threads.
I blame Matt Cutts' occasional appearances for the subsequent flocking of SEO sorts here. This post doesn't belong on HN, certainly not on the front page.
Your anger is misplaced. The blame is solely on Google for not having an adequate customer service department.
When Google has arbitrary decided that your business is in violation of some of its rules, you end up falling into a Kafkaesque nightmare of form responses and then you stop getting even those. The only way to get a response from Google in these cases is to LITERALLY get a popular post on Reddit or Hacker News. That's why small businesses post about this stuff here. Don't blame them.
Blame Google for not providing a decent customer service center because they want to shave a tiny bit of expenses.
* Unfortunately, because Google is on the surface a very friendly company, many technical people place Google on a pedestal and actually believe their slogan about doing no evil. It's just a slogan, and yes, Google does do a lot of evil.
* I suspect that you've never experienced the frustration of having your entire business on the line and not even being able to get a human response from Google. If you've ever been in that situation, I think you'd be able to understand how frustrating Google actually is.