Condom Monologues and other websites dedicated to safe sexual well-being are excluded by default from Google’s AdSense program because we are “sexual in intent or may not be considered family-safe, such as sexual aids, devices and fetishes”. In their policy, AdSense bans “adult content” that include “SOME treatments of topics such as sexual health and sexual tips or advice“, and yet websites like Ashley Madison, which encourages cheating partners and affairs gets huge promotions. See their policy here.
Recently, one of those websites, Hot Ice Project, wrote an open letter to Google about the hypocrisy of AdSense. Hot Ice Inc. writes, “…we thought we will be helping women interested in latest feminine hygiene products and marital aid items… And yes, comfort tampons, female condoms, dildoes, vibrators, lubricants, sex education tapes, butt plugs and cock rings ARE perfectly legitimate marital aid products. Millions and millions of people around the world use those. Annual sales of 14.3 billion dollars with double digit growth rate cannot possibly be supported by few perverts hovering in dark alleys.” Read full letter here.
Hot Ice Inc is an online store that premiers women novelty products. In such a male-dominated industry of dildos and vibrators, it is one of the only blogs where women can discuss their needs, seek advise and shop. Their products include lubricants, female condoms, stringless tampons and advice on how to safely use them, as well as a line dedicated to wedding nights and honeymoons. In an interview with M.O., Founder and CEO Luba Ilyasova says that in her years of working in finance, she has never faced the kind of stigma and penalties that are associated with being labeled ”adult business”.
We agree that in the funny world of sex know-how, what gets censored or silenced contributes to ignorance- a leading cause of STIs, HIV/AIDS, sexual cancers, unwanted pregnancies, gender and sexual abuse, sexuality discrimination, low self-worth….Who determines what is appropriate and inappropriate content affects the kind of exposure online communities receive. But what is the solution to the problem? Is it time for AdSense to refine their “mature content” policy?