Poll: Will Google Make Porn Harder to Find?

Aug 27, 2014 9:30 AM PST

LOS ANGELES — Google won't uphold its commitment to "freedom of expression" when it comes to porn related organic search results, according to a new poll conducted by adult industry news media organization XBIZ.

By a wide margin, 67 percent to 33 percent, members of adult industry social network XBIZ.net believe Google will further filter its search results following a recent policy change by the search giant to ban advertising of adult-oriented websites through its AdWords platform.

XBIZ asked: "Will Google uphold its commitment to 'freedom of expression' when it comes to organic adult search results?"

In June, Google said it would no longer accept ads for its AdWords unit "that promote graphic depictions of sexual acts including, but not limited to, hardcore pornography; graphic sexual acts including sex acts such as masturbation; genital, anal and oral sexual activity."

The decision to ban "adult" advertising sparked ire with stakeholders in the adult entertainment industry, including some of the businesses' top figureheads condemning the move.

Alec Helmy, president and publisher of XBIZ, wrote an open letter to Google urging the search giant to reconsider its position. So did online men’s magazine BaDoink.com's CEO, Todd Glider.

But, so far, the Google AdWords policy has been put in place and anti-porn crusader coalition Morality In Media has taken credit for the search giant’s decision.

For Google, the elimination of adult entertainment advertising on its AdWords platform means a shrinkage of at least $350 million a year, one industry expert said.

Scott Rabinowitz of SEO consulting company CyberStampede.com notes that the adult entertainment industry has provided at least one percent of AdWords revenue annually. Google makes an estimated $100 million a day in search advertising, he said.

"One of the accounts I work with has literally spent over $1 million in the last 10 years," Rabinowitz recently told TheDailyBeast.com. "They've had their account since the day AdWords opened before Google was a publicly traded company and literally were shut down abruptly without the ability to respond.”

As for organic searches, Google has never censored them; however the latest policymaking decision by Google's AdWords unit has many concerned in the adult entertainment industry about even further detrimental restrictions.

Q Boyer, a regular contributor to XBIZ magazine, said in a recent column, that Google could already be filtering organic searches for sexually explicit terms.

"While there’s no shortage of adult sites indexed by Google, one can’t help but notice that certain stand-alone search terms that once yielded a massive number of adult site links in their SERPs now only return links to adult content if the user appends a modifier like 'porn' or 'sex' to the search," he wrote. "A perfect example is 'BDSM'; in the old days, that search term would return a flood of sites that featured BDSM-related pictures and videos, but now the top responses are the Wikipedia page devoted to BDSM, an entry from the Urban Dictionary, and a host of other non-pornographic options."

The XBIZ survey involved votes casted from 203 unique industry members.

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