We mostly care about whether YouTube videos violate state or federal laws and not so much about Google’s own policies. However, it’s interesting to note how Google uses YouTube videos as a dodge for what would likely be a violation of Adwords policies if the video (or the product in the video) were itself an advertisement served through Adwords. Then Google sells advertising for other products against the otherwise prohibited video.
Slick, eh? Those crazy kids at Google, just bobbing and weaving their way through life.
Illegal drugs and psychoactive substances
What’s the policy?
Google AdWords doesn’t allow the promotion of illegal drugs, legal or synthetic highs, herbal drugs, chemicals and compounds with psychoactive effects, drug paraphernalia, or aids to pass drug tests. Our policy on drugs covers products that are illegal, as well as some products that may be legal in some countries.
We’ve created this policy due to the many legal regulations that exist around the sale and use of these products and to ensure a positive user experience.
So how about this video “How To Pass Any Drug Test with Drug Detox Products that Work!” with an ad for turntohelp.com? Here’s the video:
And here’s a screenshot of the video showing how Google monetizes the video:
And then here’s a screenshot from a YouTube search for “how to pass a drug test for amphetamines” showing 1,500 results and an ad by Google for Google’s “Motox” product. Sorry, that’s not “motox” like “botox” it’s actually Moto X.
Just to be clear–not all of these videos in this search are directed at dodging employer drug tests–the perhaps inaptly named “Meth Trends” video is just a commercial for Quest Diagnostics, a legitimate company. Did I say “commercial”? Oh, I’m sorry. I meant to say a User Generated Content video. Yes, that’s the ticket.
There are many examples of these “how to beat the test” videos, all of which seem to violate the Adwords terms of service–but not YouTube’s policies? That might be censorship, of course–or it could just be a desire to monetize anything that moves. If you have very unevenly applied standards and practices, aka “censorship” 2.0, you stand a much better chance of making money off of all varieties of human misery.
For example, this is a video on beating a drug test for marijuana:
Note that Google is selling ads for the Klean Treatment Center against content that tells users how to beat drug tests. What do you think the connection might be between these two things? Keywords, perhaps?
If you expand the search to the more generic “how to trick a drug test”, you get 75,000 search results monetized by an ad for Michael’s, the local family hobby store in Austin:
Do you think that Michael’s wanted their ad served against this search? Do you think a small local advertiser can do anything at all to control where their ad is served? Would they even think there was a problem they needed to check up on?
Probably not, because they made the mistake of relying on Google to protect their brand.
Google AdWords doesn’t allow the promotion of illegal drugs, legal or synthetic highs, herbal drugs, chemicals and compounds with psychoactive effects, drug paraphernalia, or aids to pass drug tests.
Once again, this points to the overarching problem with YouTube, Blogger and many other Google properties. Google’s lack of control over their properties–especially on its monopoly YouTube platform–is so pervasive and profound that it sure looks like they planned it that way to monetize as much as possible with no regard for the damage to their advertisers’ brands. You don’t think advertisers–even big ones–would be afraid to challenge YouTube’s video search monopoly do ya?
And by the way–Google often says that they take down videos that violate their policies when the videos are flagged by users. So what do you think–if a video shows users how to beat a drug test and dupe their employer, will that be popular? And do you think many users will give it a thumbs down? Or will it behave like this example, over 90,000 views since January with 731 likes and 40 dislikes?