back to article For Fark's sake! Fark fury follows 5-week ad ban for 5-year-old story

The owner of Fark.com is furious at Google and wants it to reimburse him for five weeks of lost ads – thanks to a five-year-old story that featured a picture of a girl wrongly believed to be underage. Drew Curtis has taken out his anger in a blog post on the long-running news aggregation website, having been overwhelmed with …

  1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

    He was cleared, and an article was written about it complete with the – to be honest, pretty innocent – image that had got him into trouble in the first place.

    Hehe... I see the reg is not taking any risks as far as losing their own ads. No images, not even links.

    And people were furious about Facebook trying to censor history...

    1. goldcd

      Image is one click away

      on the linked blog post

    2. Known Hero

      as Golcd states the link is there to the image, but it is also not in the their article, it is in the comments.

      I am surprised El-Reg is not prepared to put its name on the line and publish the image.

      e.g. in this scenario when the child was not in clothes and most definitely under age.

      http://www.theregister.co.uk/2016/09/09/facebook_cant_tell_diff_child_abuse_war_photos/

      Your standards are more flexible than a willow in a tornado Reg .....

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. tiggity Silver badge

          Not followed the link (in location where NSFW a bad idea) but assume the Scorpions album?

          Back in the day that (vinyl 12") album was there to be browsed in record shops by anyone tall enough to reach the "shelves".

          I'm assuming many other albums also now deemed evil (a certain Blind Faith album cover springs to mind)

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Google's AI

    Google's AI is simply shit.

    Have you ever seen their targeted ads? If I were a target the size of a planet, they'd still miss by 180°. Their targeted ads are about as relevant as showing ads to sell snow to someone in Antarctica.

    I can understand their tremendously shit support tho. If Google even so much as hinted that they would ever reply to a support request, they would be flooded with trillions upon trillions of support requests and they can't be assed to spend that kind of money on support infrastructure...

    1. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: Google's AI

      "Have you ever seen their targeted ads?"

      Of course not, that's what adblockers are for.

      Mind you, Google are the world leaders in ad-slinging, so presumably the competition is even worse.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Google's AI

        May I offer a small correction? They (Google) are the world's leading ad slinger not because they are good at it but because they have a well known name and the advertisers assume it's because they are good at it.

    2. Stevie

      Re: Google's AI is simply shit.

      As are they all when it comes to ads. I regularly am showed adverts for razors. Razors from Amazon, razors delivered monthly by subscription, razors guaranteed to work longer than any other, you name it.

      I wear a beard. There was a period some years ago when I went all "Color Sergeant Bourne" and had a full set, but the last time I shaved my face with a blade razor has to have been years ago. I don't recall browsing razor or shaving related sites recently. But something in my browser cache must've triggered team Gillette and Co.

      I wonder if it was the Wollice and Grommit DVD I ordered?

  3. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Flame

    Time to get with the times.

    I demand that girls be kept under burkas between the age of 0 and 20, just to be on the safe side and no pictures may be taken.

    Also, please just apply "A ark" to each and every psychologist, humanity can do without those quacks.

    When one thinks that meanwhile highly places people can take trips on the "Lolita Express" and this is then quietly under-rugged ... it's pretty bad.

    1. Thomas Chippendale

      Re: Time to get with the times.

      I suggest "B Ark".

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Time to get with the times.

        Okay.

        But now I will go with my obviously-underage sexy french comic onto public transport just to piss people off.

        Where is my dirty coat. Ah here it is.

      2. muddysteve

        Re: Time to get with the times.

        "I suggest "B Ark"."

        Or, in the context of this article, the F Ark.

      3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Time to get with the times.

        I suggest "B Ark".

        By definition, that's the second one reserved for the mostly useless people. The truly useless will go on the A Ark. We dodged a bullet there. Image the world where the A ark crashed and what their descendants must be like!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Time to get with the times.

      Ironic that the online Daily Mail can get away with pictures of the underage daughter of some minor celebrity in a bikini...

      1. FuzzyWuzzys

        Re: Time to get with the times.

        "Ironic that the online Daily Mail can get away with pictures of the underage daughter of some minor celebrity in a bikini..."

        Slightly OT...

        One of Ben Elton's classic rants against the media in the 1980s. 15 year old girl with her hands over her tits on the cover of a redtop newspaper, story line was "She's only 15, but she'll be 16 in a week's time and then she can show you her nipples!". Elton's goes into one about abuse of women.

        I remember Elton's rant when I was a teenager of about 17 years old and it had a profound effect on me, learning just how much the media are utter scum to treat a young girl like a piece of meat, they should never be trusted and I never have.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Time to get with the times.

          @FuzzyWuzzys

          I think whoever down-voted your post fits the definition of scum perfectly...

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Time to get with the times.

      Also, please just apply "A ark" to each and every psychologist, humanity can do without those quacks.

      Why pick on psychologists, most of whom have nothing to do with this sort of stuff? Pick on the lawyer who called a witness who was not qualified in the relevant field, and the judge who allowed that witness to take the stand. Psychologists don't do age evaluation from pictures, as should be obvious from their discipline. They do mental age evaluation from a battery of tests on the individual, which is a very different thing.

      Unfortunately there are scientists and other professionals who claim competence outside their areas, but this is a general problem not limited to any one group.

  4. Jonathan Richards 1 Silver badge

    New Year's resolution @voland's left eye

    ... to read the whole article before posting!?

    Yes, of course Googletm is too powerful. We've often observed that folk who just use the WWW without much thought about how it all works believe that Google is the Internet.

    1. Ogi

      Re: New Year's resolution @voland's left eye

      > Yes, of course Googletm is too powerful. We've often observed that folk who just use the WWW without much thought about how it all works believe that Google is the Internet.

      And before google, people thought the "little e" was the internet, and don't forget those for who AOL was the internet. People don't change, but the company which defines the "internet" for them does.

      I am sure there may be people out there for whom "facebook" is the new "internet" as well *shudder*

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pics or it didn't happen

    No, wait...

  6. Version 1.0 Silver badge

    Welcome to the New World

    On hold for 5 weeks - yea, I know the feeling. Try calling your mortgage company, doctors office, electricity company, cable company, water company, insurance company ... in fact just about any "service" these days.

    1. gv

      Re: Welcome to the New World

      I believe this is called "improving the customer experience."

      1. John Mangan

        Re: Welcome to the New World

        I've noticed a trend recently that everything is now 'customer journey' because everyone knows that the 'customer Service' and 'Customer Expereince' will be sh*t.

        I presume in a year or two we will move onto 'Customer Engagement' or similar b*ll*cks.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Welcome to the New World

          Have you noticed how marketing p****ks co-opt a particular term, often a touchy-feely one (particularly in recent years) and then hammer it to death until even the very gullible have stopped seeing it as anything other than insincere b******t?

          For example, "inspired by". Marketing types love this, and you can see why. It obviously suggests a level of passion (#) and inspiration (duh), but that's the icing on the cake. The main benefit is being able to make an association in people's minds between the mass-produced crap they're buying and something far better without actually having to show any connection *at all* with that thing. No, you're not claiming that your poxy ready meal is actually mediterrenean cuisine, just that it was "inspired by" it. Nor that your modified starch filled, factory-produced soup actually used veg from a farmer's market, only that it was "inspired by" that.

          Utter weasel-worded bullshit. The only thing your average marketing dullard was inspired by was the size of the bonus they were going to get from this sort of shite, and possibly what they'd snorted earlier that day.

          (#) Aaand.... there's another one- similar advantages too. Watch how many companies currently claim to be "passionate about" whatever it is they sell. Did you know that Pizza Hut are "passionate about food"? I'm *sure* they are!

    2. Woodnag Silver badge

      SiriusXm

      Got a new car with SiriusXm, but won't do the trial because the only way to stop the subscription is by phone. By mail is not allowed. They are very clear about that.

      This reminded me of the good old days of AOL and Earthlink...

    3. Captain DaFt

      Re: Welcome to the New World

      "Try calling <snip> just about any "service" these days."

      No thanks, it always seems to go like this:

      "Thank you for calling Megacorp,your call is important to us. Please press the appropriate number for the service you wish to use:"(switches to different voice)

      "plerk berk srng dorf klep"

      "Singe nerf terk twang blerk"

      "Smerk nerb burble cleff nor"

      "Perkle twik smok torb blin"

      "Aper nerk tohn jurblly mergle plot"

      "...."

      (switches back to original voice after pause)

      "You have not selected any number listed. We will now hang up."

      "Fuck you for calling Megacorp."

      I've had this exact same experience calling several different company's help lines.

      I'm sure it's deliberate.

  7. Andy Non Silver badge
    Flame

    Had a similar problem with the McAfee anti-virus people

    One day a client contacted me to say he couldn't download the software on my site as his McAfee anti-virus software had flagged my site up as hosting malicious content. Needless to say there was nothing malicious on my site but getting into touch with McAfee and getting them to remove their false positive was a nightmare and took more than a week. During which time the rumour mill got to work and I noticed someone had mentioned the "McAfee says there is malware on my site" in an internet forum and downloads of my software dropped noticeably. Eventually McAfee removed their "malicious flag", providing no explanation or "sorry about their mistake". They just ignored my requests for what they'd done wrong.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Had a similar problem with the McAfee anti-virus people

      Yep - also had a client with similar issue. In this case there was an infection on the site. For about three hours on a Sunday. I then ripped the site out and replaced with a clean backup.

      Google, Norton, McAfee were flagging it as "bad". Google and Norton's systems were quick to clear, automated, involved putting a file on the site, and instant re-checks. Operated from a web form. Reputation sorted without 24 hours.

      McAfee took six months!! Their spammy SiteAdvisor bar was the trouble here. That bit of malware that often gets installed with Adobe updates.

      My client lost a lot of work in those months as too many people believe these scammy SiteAdvisor bars instead of the truth.

      1. DiViDeD Silver badge

        Re: Had a similar problem with the McAfee anti-virus people

        Similar, but more amusing is the Oz government's latest attempt to protect it's people from the horror of copyright infringement.

        Attempts to access the better known torrent sites are redirected to a 'why not buy from our corporate mates' page. Firefox intercepts this with a warning page about invalid site certificates and invites the user to flag the government page as possible malicious site, something which people have been doing with great enthusiasm.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This seems to be a trend with US mongrel monopolies

    I have seen similar reports of financial misery from people who made the mistake of using PayPal as a payment provider. That's a mistake you should never make as a startup because they will penalise you heavily for being successful as they have "metrics" (from God knows where, it's not like you have any say, insight or influence in the matter) that your company should follow re. growth.

    If you're a runaway success, you will find that PayPal will consider that as a convenient excuse to treat you as a provider of interest free loans to them: they will sit on your money for a couple of months whilst you fight the faceless wall of idiocy that surrounds them to free what is yours so you can fulfil orders). I'll add a link once I find which company was their latest victim - I think it was a 3D printer manufacturer.

    PayPal appears to do this so frequently that it suggests this activity has become an essential part of their business model. After all, getting money for free to play with for a while is an MBA's wet dream.

    Add Trump to that mix, and I am starting to wonder if this isn't the sort of opportunity for non-US companies to fill the gap. UK or EU, there is IMHO a market for companies that respect their customers, even if that makes them a bit more expensive, companies that do not work their way through the entire contents of your wallet and then continue with sucking your blood and bone marrow because they. just. can't. get. help. themselves.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This seems to be a trend with US mongrel monopolies

      I fully agree. I would never work with a payment processor from outside the EU. Not only do you often have to fight with laws and regulations written to protect the companies instead of its consumers, you also have very little recourse if things go wrong. Good luck trying to find the money to take an American company to court on the other side of the planet.

      Fortunately we have plenty of proper payment processors in the EU, Adyen, Paymill, Worldpay, Skrill and GoCardLess to name a few.

  9. Len
    Angel

    Alternatives?

    So, what if someone is not too keen on any connections with Google and its products but does want to recover some cost using ads on their site? Are there reasonable alternatives that have a better reputation and less of this nonsense than Google ad platforms?

    Asking for a friend...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Alternatives?

      Good question. You'd think that by now someone would have jumped in that obvious gap in the market..

      1. The Indomitable Gall

        Re: Alternatives?

        The problem is that Google has the most data, so Google can target ads best, so Google is the most valuable advertising platform from the perspective of both the advertisers (they get seen by the people they want to see them) and of the site hosts (they get higher clickthrough, so more revenue).

        Unless you're a well-established specialist site with a very specific demographic of visitors (like The Reg) you're not going to be able to make the direct relationships you need with advertisers and bypass the need for The Algorithm.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Alternatives?

          The problem is that Google has the most data, so Google can target ads best

          Aha, but here is a fun question: do they really? We all know that Google sucks data from wherever it can, but does that genuinely result in better targeting or is that the sort of spin that has allowed Google to bamboozle the poor sods who depend on advertising to flog their warez?

          If my limited experience is anything to go by, they suck at it, badly. I know that some tat websites rely on repeat sales to make a profit, but in general seeing ads for the exact same thing or (let's be generous and expand it a bit) for the exact same category of product is a waste of time - the sale has already happened and the need has thus been sated - that door is closed.

          As far as I can tell, there hasn't been any independent evaluation of these analytics to see if they work, and whose analysis is the most accurate. Add to that that ads are now filtered by most people (as well as the sources of the supporting analytics) by people seeking to prevent malware download (another problem that lies very firmly at the door of ad providers for allowing it) and frankly, I would have many, many questions before I would allow anyone to spend as much as a dime on online ads.

          The ad industry is more and more typified by a shedload of BS and no independent evidence to back it up. The problem is that they still believe their own hype.

          This Titanic CANNOT sink, Sir..

          1. earl grey
            Paris Hilton

            Re: Alternatives?

            "We all know that Google sucks ..."

            Yes, we do. I can't say for sure, but...

    2. jonfr

      Re: Alternatives?

      I use Amazon CPM ads, they do pay and you get a extra of people buy from you. I've found Amazon to be a less problem then Google, since Google is all about red tape that puts government to shame.

      The only problem is that Amazon U.S pays with a check, not direct transfer and in Europe that is starting to be a big problem, since Europe is now busy phasing out anything connected to checks and the cost of getting them paid has gone up to the point it's not worth it to get small amounts (I got options at the moment, thankfully so I'm not depended on my Danish bank to get the check paid).

      This is only Amazon U.S. Amazon Europe pay with a bank transfer, but they don't yet offer CPM advertisement and that is a problem.

  10. Jason Bloomberg
    Big Brother

    "even just one day's delay is not worth the risk"

    How about an article on the chilling effect of self-censorship?

    1. The Indomitable Gall
      Flame

      Re: "even just one day's delay is not worth the risk"

      Personally I think that the lack of pic helps the article, and a good editorial decision. Typically, when a story pops up about censorship, it's customary across the net to accompany it with a generic pixelated image or a "censored" banner. By eschewing convention and leaving the article with no pic whatsoever, they've made a bold editorial statement.

      Oh... wait...

  11. Mephistro

    To all those anti-censorship warriors...

    ...that are lambasting ElReg for not sticking it to the man and showing 'problematic' pictures on the site:

    A single day without ads for ElReg (or any other similar publication) would be bad although not "terminally bad". But what if the blackout lasts longer? What if ElReg's contact in Google is on holiday or on medical leave? What if one of Google's supremos decides to punish ElReg for writing articles critical to Google now and then? What if it lasts a week, or a month, or three?

    In my opinion monopolies are bad, and Google is becoming a "monopoly of monopolies" with such a huge amount of power that both their clients and competitors have no defence against them. Competence regulators should have acted on this a long time ago. (Some of them are doing it right now, but IMHO they've waited for too long).

    So yes, I think ElReg is doing the right thing here, and whoever disagrees should consider carefully what he'd do in a similar situation. Would you risk your job or your company to make a fine point on politics? If you do it anyway, you could be cheered as a hero and receive lots of kudos, some of it from me. But you can't attack other people for not doing the same. I'd rather have ElReg informing us of serious issues and wining the serious battles, than see it disappear for publishing a picture.

    If G wasn't such a big monopoly, Fark's defence (or ElReg or...) would be something like:" FU, Google! As we can't trust you or your services, we're signing with another provider".

  12. AnAnonymousCanuck

    Do No Evil. Definition of Evil?

    Last time I paid Google was just after they charged me clicks for ads that led to 4 pages that had not been viewed in over 3 months.

    My complaint was rejected with "My logs were wrong". There is no way to appeal.

    My action was to terminate the credit card.

    "Do No Evil" However, they define evil such that it does not include theft or fraud

    AAC

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Do No Evil. Definition of Evil?

      Last time I paid Google was just after they charged me clicks for ads that led to 4 pages that had not been viewed in over 3 months.

      My complaint was rejected with "My logs were wrong". There is no way to appeal.

      Yup, as discussed earlier, it appears that the default business model of larger US companies is to simply screw over the paying customer from every angle they can think of, and they get away with it because we have f-all ability to hold them to account. For the freeloaders (aka the product), doubly so.

      If there is ONE single thing an intelligent government should do it is reducing their economic dependency on what happens in the US. It will take years, but at least it would not harm the rest of the world when they screw up again which is likely to happen with a depressing certainty.

      1. Oengus

        Re: Do No Evil. Definition of Evil?

        Another new Oxymoron... intelligent government

  13. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge
    Holmes

    Missing the point

    The legal image contains logos that look like they would advertise or symbolize illegal activity. Google is probably flagging those logos without caring anything at all about the rest of the image.

    Google's dream of "the machine does everything" means that Google customers will always have to put up with uncorrectable mistakes like this. Google doesn't like humans providing customer service and that should be factored into the risks of doing business with them.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Missing the point

      Also, no one has to do business with Google. People choose to run Adsense because they think they can get something for free for running ads off their network. Why? Why not provide some actual compelling content and do it trough an app and use subscriptions? No one forced fark to get in bed with Google, they did it on their own, and now they know what kind of problems that can bring. Get a different advert provider, or turn the fucking things off, since no one looks or click on that shit anyway. Ad supported content on the web is not all it's cracked up to be. If you depend on Google, try not to upset their cart. If you depend on having freedom, you need to provide that on your own, with your own resources.

  14. I Like Heckling

    Google too powerful!!!

    seems that the Reg is too cowardly.....

  15. packrat

    https://plus.google.com/photos/photo/100378461107020829233/6374915100667673570?icm=false

    assume the the usual ms, google and paypal rant. The link is for short-attention-span theater.

    please stand in front of the cameras, show ID and state complaint.

    *please remember you ARE liable for slander. *

    in a perfect world?

    packrat

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