While Google was busy winning a court injunction against Mississippi Attorney General Hood’s investigations into company wrongdoings, CNN was shining a spotlight on Google’s suspect profit machine. On CNN Money, Laurie Segall reported that various ads for legitimate American brands were placed at the head of ISIS recruiting videos on YouTube:
Jennifer Aniston lauds the benefits of Aveeno, Bud Light shows off beer at a concert, and Secret sells its freshly scented deodorant. Pretty standard commercials, but what’s different is the content that comes after. In this case, they’re all followed by ISIS and jihadi videos.
Terrorism analyst Mubin Shaikh said one video is part of an ongoing propaganda series that ISIS produces and another is a jihadi-themed video.
A while back I wrote about the companies whose ads were appearing aside “Free Find and F**k” ads on pirate websites so Google is not alone in this game. Advertisers spam the web with their products hoping something will stick while sites like YouTube happily take their money. However earning money off ISIS recruiting videos takes this practice to an entirely new, and disgusting, level. Take a look.
Those of us who’ve witnessed Google’s behavior with regard to piracy and ad profits aren’t particularly surprised by this juxtaposition. A YouTube spokesperson told CNN, “”We also have stringent advertising guidelines, and work to prevent ads appearing against any video, channel or page once we determine that the content is not appropriate for our advertising partner.” Yeah right. YouTube/Google’s guidelines can be summed up this way: Do whatever you want, just don’t get caught .
In fact, this type of ad placement adjacent dubious and/or illegal content happens across the internet and advertisers and providers usually just look the other way. Anything to make a buck right?