Torture?! What’s up with Google Adwords Taiwan?
Let me preface by saying in principle I’ve got nothing against people’s personal fetishes and what not. Obviously on the proviso nobody is doing anything they don’t want to do, what people do to get their rocks off is of little concern to me.
Living here in Taiwan, when it comes to the internet there are certain things you’ve just got to live with. If I don’t manually set my homepage to Google in English, the search engine defaults to a mostly useless (to me) Chinese language version.
If I visit a company’s website with a global presence, more often than not I’m bounced to a local Taiwanese version that I cannot understand (extremely irritating when it’s coded in Flash and Chrome can’t translate it).
It was only a few weeks ago I went to upgrade my router firmware, only to discover at the last second that, despite having the exact same model numbers, there was a “western” model and an “Asian” model. Upgrading my router with the western firmware (several version numbers ahead of its Asian counterpart) would have most likely killed it.
I only found this out after reading on the English site that the latest firmware was only to be used on routers that had been upgraded to a previous firmware version. My router firmware version was older than this required version so I wasn’t sure what to do (they didn’t provide the required minimum version number on the website).
Advertising wise, not that I pay much attention but by and large the ads are again in Traditional Chinese (Mandarin), meaning I’ve simply grown accustomed to ignoring them.
Over the last few weeks however, I’ve noticed an increasing amount of Google Adwords Chinese language ads following me around the Adsense publisher network, which don’t really need to be translated to raise some eyebrows.
Probably the most uncomfortable of these ads are the female torture “game” ones.
In the above ad, the bound woman is named “Teacher Tsung”. I have no idea what Tsung has done but the big yellow and red text at the top of the ad is urging me to “click on a tool to interrogate her”.
The tool selection at the bottom of the ad showcases a whip, candle, what appears to be a folded blanket (gag?) and a zucchini. A pair of scissors also hovers around Teacher Tsung’s face.
The text below the scissors asks me to pick my interrogation tool, with Teacher Tsung pleading with me to “forgive her”.
This next ad is even more graphic:
Featuring a scantily clad woman and male with his hands tied behind his back, the text at the top of this ad informs the viewer that a “General’s report” is has informed you that “these spies have been caught”.
The woman, who is depicted as crying asks “what do you want to do with me? Help!”, with the bound man declaring that he “is innocent”.
The green button text at the bottom of the ad again urges the viewer to torture the woman, with the text between the two yellow arrows asking the viewer to “pick out a torture tool”.
On the table we have a candle (again), a crowbar and a knife. Just above the table hot irons appear to have been placed in a pot.
These are two of the worst ads I’ve seen on the Google Adsense publisher network, but there are some others that don’t sit quite right with me either:
This ad is innocent enough and markets some online Mahjong gaming service. What irks me though is that middle photo, where clearly the advertiser has photoshopped out the woman’s nipple but dropped her top to expose nearly the entire breast.
The screenshot above shows the ad highlighting the first of the three woman’s poses, with the ad being animated and cycling through highlighting each of the three “segments”.
The above ad urges the viewer to “click here to rip off her clothes”. If you move the mouse over the area, the “paper” tears off revealing big breasts barely contained in a bikini. The ad sometimes does this of its own accord with no user interaction.
The upper line of text at the bottom of the ad reads “This beauty will teach you how to play the game”, with the text below “warning” viewers to “prepare themselves” because the game is so “realistic”.
They don’t actually state what the game is.
Oh and neither here nor there, I thought I’d throw this ad into the mix purely because of its “wtf” factor:
What you’re looking at there is an ad for Street Fighter II, with every character replaced with a bulging breast equivalent. Lol!
Getting back to the more serious ads though, like I said I’ve got no issues with what gets people’s freak on but when I started seeing these ads everywhere,
I figured it was time to look further into it.
Google Adwords supposedly review any ad before it goes live on the Adsense network and state
Google AdWords doesn’t allow the promotion of child pornography, underage-themed pornography, non-consensual sex acts, or illegal sex acts.
Looking at the torture ads, when you start bandying about the term “torture” it’s pretty easy to ascertain what the context being presented to the viewer is.
Some people don’t like their veggies sure but I’m pretty sure the implication isn’t that you’re going to force-feed Teacher Tsung zucchinis until she’s learnt her lesson. Nor are you going to use the scissors or knives to give the female “prisoners” haircuts either.
As for whips, hot wax candles, hot irons and crowbars? Well, you get the idea.
Furthermore, Google AdWords’ “anti and violence” policy states
Google AdWords doesn’t allow the promotion of “anti” or violent concepts, such as the following:
-The promotion of self-harm and violence against people or animals
And if that wasn’t enough, Adwords’ “Family Status” police even goes so far as to classify ads as ‘family safe, non-family safe, or adult‘.
What kind of ads are permitted by Google Adwords Taiwan?
Google doesn’t allow “adult” ads to show in Taiwan.
Are Adwords’ seriously expecting me to accept that the above ads aren’t “adult” in nature? Naked breasts, torture of females sure as hell isn’t “family safe”.
What I’m guessing has happened here is Adwords Taiwan have approved the above ads as “non-family safe”, despite them clearly breaching other Adwords policies.
Meanwhile, putting all that aside for a second, what I can’t understand is why on Earth these ads are even being shown to me. The computer I blog on doesn’t even have Chinese language input, and I sure as hell aren’t looking up weird arse Chinese fetish torture porn or viewing such sites to trigger contextual targeted advertising of such a nature.
I know that sex sells but where do you draw the line? I’m not trying to cause a fuss for Google but I do think some of these ads shouldn’t have passed their approval process. And if it’s an error that has caused these ads to slip through and be displayed throughout the Adsense publisher network then this needs to be rectified.
At the end of the day I’m just a guy who doesn’t want to see scissors running suggestively across the neck of a bound female, or crying women begging me not to torture them when I wake up and check the daily news each morning.
Is that too much to ask?