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Why is Google's AdSense doing the bidding of Scientology? (computerworld.com)
14 points by newsio on July 8, 2009 | hide | past | web | favorite | 34 comments

We've had a hell of a time getting Scientology ads out of our backfill adsense. They show on feeds, in content, on forums, etc. The competitive ad filters don't seem to be working either (or we're total morons who can't figure out ad domains).

do you also block ads that pertain to other religions? Or are you a sectarian opposer of Scientology? :)

Haha. I think we've blocked a number of "God Hates Fags" type things. We generally just block anything that our user base complains about, though. It's easy and quick (usually).

Scientology is not a religion, it's a scam. Do you delete 411 scams from your email? Same thing.

Do you differentiate between Scientology and other mainstream religions like Mormonism, Catholocism, Judaism, etc.?

I don't. You say Zenu I say tomato.

I think we're off topic here. The main issue is that the Scientology ads are dominating and nothing else is showing up ever. I'm sure people would be upset if all they saw were Christian, Mormon, Muslim, or Atheist ads.

Personally, I think all religion is silly. But, mainstream Christianity is rather harmless compared to Scientology. It doesn't require its members to sink money into its lawsuit fund, for example. (But sure, there are crazy Christian groups too.)

The Catholic church, for example, has had quite a head start, during which time it's done things that make Scientology's worst alleged misdeeds look quite harmless.

I don't think anyone is required to donate, though there are varying amounts of pressure in various religions -- Catholicism focuses mostly on estates and wills to amass its billions.

What does that have to do with adsense at all?

read the parent(s)...

So... absolutely nothing to do with adsense then. Gotcha.

uh, yeah... the story was about adsense and scientology, and the point of nested comments is to zoom in...

I must confess that, after a week seeing those horribly distracting ads, I started clicking just to make sure they were at least paying for the annoyance.

The title is a bit misleading. Clearly Scientology have spent a lot of money to make it to the top of the pile; Google have nothing to do with it.

But wouldn't he be seeing a change in his CPM rates?

pretty much since the start google adsense has offered a 'competitive ad filter' which you can use to block unwanted ads.

Incidentally, this is also a great way to get your CPM up quite a bit if you use it smartly.

I thought of that as well when I read the article. Surely the author must have tried that?

According to the article, he's tried using that filter to no avail.

Why isn't everyone using AdBlock? Isn't this pretty standard these days? I haven't seen a web ad for a long while and since I don't have TV the only ads I see are in Hulu and on the street.

because I don't care and hardly even notice them. I've gone banner blind in the 90's during the animated gif pandemic.

No, it's just you.

Regular users don't know about, and wouldn't go out of their way to install it if they did. I certainly haven't, and I'd consider myself quite a bit more tech savvy than your average computer user.

I'm having a hard time mustering a whole lot of sympathy. If you want the ability to individually approve each ad then Google is definitely the wrong tool for the job.

Most of the anti-Scientology crusade is motivated by other sects who simply don't like competition. It's pretty ironic that they make fun of Zenu, etc., when their own beliefs do no better in the absurdity department!

Atheism is a "sect" now?

You seem to have taken the bait of my comment -- you assume that anti-Scientologists are atheists! I'd argue that they are Christians.

Atheism is the largest religion.

Atheism is not a religion.

As an Agnostic, I disagree. Atheism makes strong clames about "God(s)" without any evedence.

Not at all, Atheists don't grant beliefs associated with religion special status.

To an atheist, the statement "a small pink elephant named wilson created the universe with a squeeky sneeze" and "God created the universe in 7 days" are equally likely to be true...

An atheist may not assign a probability of 1 to the truth of each of his/her beliefs, but he/she considers all absurd beliefs equally unlikely, and grants that science has allowed humanity to make educated estimates about many such probabilities.

If you beleave there is a 99/100 or a 1 in 100 billion chance there is a god of some sort you are an Agnostic. If you beleve there is zero chance there is a god you are an Atheist.

Ok, an agnostic is more likely to say I have no idea what the odds of a god are nor is there anyway to determine them.

PS: Let's say our universe was created by Ted. And you ask him, who created your universe and he says "I have no idea".

Well, if you're rational then you believe that there is some chance that any belief you consider "true" will turn out not to be.

I think of agnosticism as saying "I am not capable of knowing", whereas atheists say "Sure none of my beliefs have a 100% probability of being true, but as a human I need to use what provisional knowledge I have in a meaningful way."

In other words, evidence is worth more to atheists than it is to agnostics, who (in spite of evidence) still focus on their inability to know for sure.

I think we're having the "strong/weak atheism/agnosticism" debate... I happen to consider myself an atheist b/c I act as though I believe there is no god just as I act like my laptop is not on fire when I type this.... and it works.

There is more to be concerned about with Scientology than simply competition.

Perhaps, but I find it odd that there is so much anti-Scientology and anti-Mormonism out there. Mainstream religions are trying to paint them both as cults, etc., and atheists are the unwitting pawns in the larger sectarian battle.

Few criticisms of Scientology focus only on the possibly disturbing aspects... most tend to scoff at the theology as well and accuse the faithful of being victims of brainwashing!

Maybe in the US, in Germany I have not noticed that it is especially other religious groups who do the criticizing. I think there is even an official warning from the government in Germany, though Scientology is not illegal. Not sure though - haven't really heard anything in a while...

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