Environmental group Oceana appears to have had a Google-issued ban of its AdWord campaign lifted. Partially. The search engine has allowed the group to display an ad praising Royal Caribbean cruise lines for its clean up effort. Although, in the same stroke, Google denied Oceana from displaying ads calling for other cruise companies to follow Royal Caribbean’s lead.
Google’s reason for disallowing the new set of ads from Oceana was that it does not permit ad text that “advocates against any individual, groups, or organizations.” Oceana states they have done no such thing.
The first of the new ads reads: “Oceana Victory: Royal Caribbean to Stop Dumping Poorly Treated Sewage into the Oceans.” The second, before it was banned, read: “One Cruise Line Down: Royal Caribbean is cleaning up its act. Shouldn’t they all?”
Andrew Sharpless, Oceana’s Chief Executive Officer said, “Google told us we needed to have something positive to say about ocean polluters if we wanted to place an ad on their Web site. Fortunately, now we do. Despite Google’s ban on our ads, we won our campaign with Royal Caribbean, and we congratulate them for doing the right thing. We’re happy that Google thinks that at least one of our new ads is positive enough to accept our business. But it is mystifying how they can continue calling our ads negative when we’re simply calling for cleaner oceans.”
Despite the anti-free speech criticism Google received for pulling Oceana’s ads, they were never restored. Google further confused matters by allowing one of Oceana’s newer ads.
“Whether accepting our new ad means they’ve had a change of policy or a change of heart is not for us to say,” said Sharpless. “We’d like to put the past behind us and establish a good relationship with Google, but this policy is impossible to decipher. They pulled down our ad in February for linking to a Web site that linked to another Web site that clarified the cruise industry’s environmental record. Now they’re accepting an ad that links directly to the very same site while banning another for no clear reason. Google either needs to clarify its policy, or find another one that actually works.”
According to the press release, you could view Oceana’s newest ads by searching for “Royal Caribbean” on Google. As of this moment, that is not the case. The only ads visible for Royal Caribbean are for ticket sales for future cruises.