Interesting move: Google has stopped publication of a political campaign’s search ads that used MoveOn.org as a hook. According to The Examiner,
The ads banned by Google were placed by a firm working for Republican Sen. Susan Collins’ re-election campaign. Collins is seeking her third term.
Earlier this week, Google told Lance Dutson, president of Maine Coast Designs, that the ads he placed for Collins had been removed and would not be allowed to resume because they violated Google’s trademark policy.
Google’s Web site states, “Google takes allegations of trademark infringement very seriously and, as a courtesy, we’re happy to investigate matters raised by trademark owners.” That suggests Google acted in response to a complaint by MoveOn.org.
The article goes on to note that other Google ads mention corporate names without being removed, though not whether those companies have challenged the use of their trademarks as MoveOn appears to have done. Assuming that that’s all this is — that MoveOn raised the point and other organizations or companies haven’t — then, no big deal, since anyone with a trademarked name could challenge a critical ad on the same grounds. But if any such decisions were ever made based on the politics of the situation, that would be another matter entirely. Google is such a powerful shaping force in the modern marketplace of ideas that it has to stay scrupulously neutral toward content. Thanks to Patrick Ruffini for the tip, which came to me via a Google alert email….