UPDATE: They relented. Woo-hoo!
LibraryThing shows Google Adsense ads on a small number of templates. The ads appear only if you’re not a member at all—paid or unpaid. They don’t make much money, but we’ve never had a problem with them.
Today I got a form letter from Google, alerting me that Google had detected “adult or mature content” on LibraryThing. They gave one example, the LibraryThing.fr page for the Library of Congress Subject Heading (LCSH) “Erotic stories.” No doubt some algorithm caught a few keywords, like “sex” or the common porn-word “Lolita” (it’s a book, guys).
Needless to say, they run ads against most of these books on Google Book Search. Our competitors, who all rely on Google Adsense for all their revenue run ads against the same books, apparently without incident (although, I suppose, one can hope!). I must therefore conclude, the problem is the Library of Congress Subject Headings, and that it’s a good thing the Sandy Berman-inspired LCSH “Strap-on Sex” hasn’t made it into LibraryThing yet!
A follow-up email triggered another form-letter, including the helpful suggestion to remove content like:
“image or video content containing lewd or provocative poses, strategically covered nudity, see-through or sheer clothing, and close-ups of breasts, butts, or crotches.”
I have accordingly been consulting with Casey on how to remove all the butt-shots from the Yale University MARC records.
I have three days to comply or be terminated. So, what do I do? Clearly I’m not getting anywhere with their response system. And LibraryThing has something like 100-millon pages. Should I start running pages against keyword lists before showing Google Ads?
That sounds like a big pain, I’ll tell you—and not worth it.