May 8, 2018

"Today, [Google is] announcing a new policy to prohibit ads that promote bail bond services from our platforms."

"Studies show that for-profit bail bond providers make most of their revenue from communities of color and low income neighborhoods when they are at their most vulnerable, including through opaque financing offers that can keep people in debt for months or years. We made this decision based on our commitment to protect our users from deceptive or harmful products, but the issue of bail bond reform has drawn support from a wide range of groups and organizations who have shared their work and perspectives with us...."

A Google press release.

Marginal Revolution reacts:
Google’s decision to ban ads from bail bond providers is deeply disturbing and wrongheaded. Bail bonds are a legal service. Indeed, they are a necessary service for the legal system to function. It’s not surprising that bail bonds are used in communities of color and low income neighborhoods because it is in those neighborhoods that people most need to raise bail. We need not debate whether that is due to greater rates of crime or greater discrimination or both. Whatever the cause, preventing advertising doesn’t reduce the need to pay bail it simply makes it harder to find a lender. Restrictions on advertising in the bail industry, as elsewhere, are also likely to reduce competition and raise prices. Both of these effects mean that more people will find themselves in jail for longer....

In addition to being wrong-headed, Google’s decision is disturbing because it is so obviously a political decision. Google has banned legal services like bail bonding and payday lending from advertising on Google in order to curry favor with groups who have an ideological aversion to payday lending and the bail system....

Google’s decision to use its code as law is an invitation to politicization. Moreover, Google is throwing away its best defense against politicization–the promise of neutrality and openness.
Isn't at least part of the problem here that Google's approach to serving ads would cause these ads to appear on the screens of black people and to feel racist? I mean, we've talked many times about what Google seems to think of us based on the ads they're giving us. I haven't been that offended, but I was bemused by Google's seeming impression that I am a crazy old cat lady, and some of my readers have wondered why Google was giving them Ashley Madison (adultery) ads. Imagine getting a bail bond ad and thinking the only reason for this is that I'm black. I suspect that's what Google is really concerned about.

85 comments:

Rick Turley said...

Well, that's going to make Miss "When you ring, we spring" Grumpy down here even grumpier.

http://www.grumpysbailbonds.com/

My hat with her logo and slogan is my go-to hat for honkytonking - just in case.

Michael K said...

for-profit bail bond providers make most of their revenue from communities of color and low income neighborhoods when they are at their most vulnerable,

Gee. I wonder why that is ?

Expat(ish) said...

While you often see Bail Bondsmen driving nice cars, they are rarely rich. And they are usually putting a fair amount of capital to work. Hmmmm.

I work for a company in the financial industry and we won't sell product to check cashing companies. But we will sell to companies like Western Union. This seems a nice distinction and fairly "better than thou" to me.

-XC

The Cracker Emcee Rampant said...

Well, when you think your Doodle proves your virtue, you're probably not going to have much stomach for the sausage-making of colored folk's lives.

President-Mom-Jeans said...

Google is evil.

gspencer said...

"make most of their revenue from communities of color and low income neighborhoods when they are at their most vulnerable"

Just another variant of the old Willie Sutton answer to the question of "Why do you rob banks?"

Too many members of the so-called POC neighborhoods commit a huge percentage of crimes, and very intelligently bail bondsmen go to where the criminals are. What Google and so many others on the left are fighting is the truth, and losing.

n.n said...

An implicit admission by Google that they track [color] diversity, which is a criterion in their advertisement bias.

Humperdink said...

I don't believe Google thought this through, which is surprising.

With the May primaries upon us, there is a block of reliable D voters who will be relegated to another block, cell block C.

They should be sprung by November, so that's a plus.

chuck said...

> would cause these ads to appear on the screens of black people and to feel racist?

Perhaps they should serve them cake ads?

Achilles said...

Fascists gotta fascist.

Racism is just part of being a leftist.

Nonapod said...

Google’s decision is disturbing because it is so obviously a political decision.

Yup. Google is being very stupid here. Heavy handed actions like this always end up having negative consequences. There's no winning, so it's best not to engage at all.

Achilles said...

It is a good time for leftists to remind everyone they think black people need bail bond services more than everyone else for whatever reason.

Achilles said...

Google would be much less fascist after they were broken up into smaller companies.

Infinite Monkeys said...

You'll still be able to find a local bondsman using an internet search, you just won't see ads served up about it. I agree that Google is admitting here to serving up ads based on demographics that they don't want to have to explain.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I use AdBlock Plus and Kaspersky private browsing. AdBlock ...blocks ads from showing up, as well as banners and other intrusive web elements that track your usage. Kaspersky blocks "web analytics" like Google, Twitter, Yahoo etc that also track for data. There are little counters up in the corner of my web browser that keep track on each page that I visit and gives a detailed breakdown of who is trying to snoop.

On your main web page today I get 54 ads blocked and Kasperskey has blocked Twitter and Google analytics. Perhaps the ad block is giving me a false reading as 54 blocked ads seems pretty high. Possibly due to the links in the various articles which are also trying to track (stalk) us.

However, when I enabled ads on your main page. Suddenly!!! Kaspersky has blocked MANY attempts to collect data. 80 from ad agencies. 2 from Amazon and 78 from Double Click. And about 20 from social network gathering.

When I check to see what information Google has collected on me. It isn't much. They seem to think that I am a 30 to 40 year old male. Whatever.

I am now re-enabling Ad Block :-)

tim in vermont said...

I remember 20 years ago reading an argument that lawyers should be in charge of writing computer code. I thought it was absurd at the time.

Lewis Wetzel said...

The usual progressive approach to marketplace discrimination against the oppressed is to control the marketplace. The answer to the problem of people who are poor credit risks paying higher interest rates isn't to stop banks from lending at high rates, it is to stop banks from considering credit history when determining the interest rate of a loan. This, in effect, makes everyone pay the same rate. It would force the good credit risks to subsidize loans to poor credit risks.
Or, to put it another way, the system would punish people who are good credit risks in order to reward people who are poor credit risks.

Chris N said...

Good. Let's ban Cash 4 Gold places, pawn shops, payday loans, corner stores, convenience stores, casinos. No more jitney drivers and no more black markets in anything.

Let's tax soda, candy, junk food, cigarettes, booze, strip clubs and heavily, heavily regulate credit card companies. No more private loans for school.

Let's really stick it to those corporations by controlling a corporation that controls other corporations (while trying to control as much of the gov't as possible by claiming the gov't is illegitimate unless we run it in order to control corporations).

A more just, verdant, and peaceful world awaits. The world will be as One.

narayanan said...

They have CNN in cell bloc C

AlbertAnonymous said...

MUST. SIGNAL. OUR. VIRTUE.

Look at how much we check our privilege. Are we “woke” yet? Please, please let us be seen as authentically woke...

rehajm said...

Google is afraid they will signal what they think of you.

Chris N said...

It's always the people who aren't mission critical proliferating and fucking-up whatever's working in any organization.

Lucien said...

When internet companies stifle some voices based on political criteria they implicitly endorse the voices that they allow.

They will not enjoy being held responsible for those endorsements.

Walter S. said...

I was in a gmail conversation once when somebody mentioned cribbage---in an offhand way that wasn't really about cribbage. But he must have been the only person to mention cribbage that week. We were all deluged with cribbage set ads.

Beach Brutus said...

By its own logic, Google should also ban ads from criminal defense attorneys? ... what about soul food restaurants? ... nail salons? .... barber shops? ... car detailing and window tint shops?

CJinPA said...

In addition to being wrong-headed, Google’s decision is disturbing because it is so obviously a political decision.

Isn't at least part of the problem here that Google's approach to serving ads would cause these ads to appear on the screens of black people and to feel racist?

Both of these observations can be true.

I don't think people appreciate what the "Social Justice movement" is doing to schools, corporations and politics. While we're mocking "Social Justice Warriors" and expressing annoyance, they're getting results. We can assume there will be a backlash, but that's not a sure thing.

JAORE said...

Good for Google.

But that's just the tip of the iceberg.

Now get Congress into the act. Ban all bail bond companies from districts that are majority POC. Make it illegal to provide bail bonds to anyone under 18 (don't want to saddle them with debt).

Sebastian said...

"In addition to being wrong-headed, Google’s decision is disturbing because it is so obviously a political decision."

Features, not bugs.

Wrong-headedly political: this is progs we're talking about.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Isn't at least part of the problem here that Google's approach to serving ads would cause these ads to appear on the screens of black people and to feel racist?

It is a business model trying to expose their product to those who fit the profile for their product. Knitting. Gourmet foods. Bail bond companies.

If you don't let them track you, they can't profile you.

madAsHell said...

for-profit bail bond providers make most of their revenue from communities of color and low income neighborhoods

Paging Fox Butterfield!!

Teller said...

Google's reacting to SF pressure. Here, the standard vig for bail has been checkmarked as a class issue for a while. SF wants a two-tier bail: regular and cheap. Each according to their ability. If bail bondsmen..er..bondspeople comply, ads will reappear, targeted appropriately.

Tommy Duncan said...

So, can one conclude that Google would prefer certain demographic groups rot in jail because they can't make their bail?

As always, being poor is very expensive. The expense is largely self inflicted.

CJinPA said...

Paging Fox Butterfield!!

Fox Butterfield, is that you?

I sure do miss James Taranto.

Mike said...

As soon as they dropped their original mission statement, which was obviously a swipe at market dominator MicroSoft at the time, "Don't Be Evil," they started down the path of exemplifying evil in the Internet world. That is, they want to monopolize and dominate and now "set the standard" for behavior on the 'Net. Trouble is they are not in a position to "set standards" unless they do it by manipulating people and code to "behave" as Google wishes them to. Thus they have crossed the Rubicon and now become a political entity.

I say "now" but it has been a slow reveal. When one of Google's founders quit to go "help" the Obama campaign in 2008 suddenly searches started returning very strange things. News became hard to locate via search if it reflected badly on Obama, but was served up in heaping portions if it made McCain or Sarah look foolish or mean or simply conservative. At the same time we were being told it was the first "FaceBook election" where a smooth a smart operator was uniting social media and integrating it into his campaign.

Portraying a savior is easy with the right supporting cast and an army of extras running social media companies to favor you! And just four years later his team was successful in "sucking out all the data" from FaceBook to leverage Obama's second campaign to victory, first over Clinton in the primaries and then over Romney in the general. Again he was praised for his savvy use of new media!

When Trump successfully emulated Obama's use of FB, on a much smaller scale and without inside help, it suddenly became an "issue." The Borg was called to testify. Promised were made to "correct" the error of letting Republicans use tools created by Democrats for Democrats.

So they are asking for regulation and Republicans should give it to them "good and hard" like they are asking for!

Mike said...

We can assume there will be a backlash, but that's not a sure thing.

It is an absolute certainty. First of all, few Americans read the news on Internet or paper. A likely small percentage actually watch the evening news served up by their favorite corporate news reader. People on this blog are engaged and curious and voracious readers. And it is obvious when one who *isn't* comments because they are so ignorant. But the average American lives their life free of politics and toxic news and pays little attention to what colleges or tech companies or other "foreign" entities are doing.

The it rises to a level that makes the public aware and a backlash happens, and the cockroaches scurry away from the light and people will pretend to change policies and make the right noise until the attention subsides ... and then they will start all over the next second. That's why you see so many progs yelling "impeachment" encouraged by Nancy Pelosi and others, and then suddenly when they see the general population noticing they hush the loudest ones and pretend they are NOT lying in wait for impeachment.

Same way they run "conservative" candidates that morph into abortion-on-demand rank-and-file Dems as soon as the votes are counted.

bagoh20 said...

You could make the exact same charges against another industry: Higher education?

BJK said...

I'm just glad to know I'm not the only one seeing Ashley Madison ads on this site; hard to be coerced into cheating on your spouse if you're not actually married!

bagoh20 said...

There are so many examples of hypocrisy to point out, but most would be deemed racist, so don't make me do it. I will if I have to, so if you don't like hearing racist things, don't push me.

Quaestor said...

Yeah. Keep 'em in jail. Bail is for white guys.

Jupiter said...

"Imagine getting a bail bond ad and thinking the only reason for this is that I'm black."

Imagine checking into your hotel room, finding your favorite shampoo, and thinking the only reason for this is that I'm black.

bagoh20 said...

What if I use Google to search for a bail bondsman, BECAUSE I NEED ONE RIGHT FUCKING NOW!

Does that make them party to the exploitation?

bagoh20 said...

They need to scrub people like Al Sharpton and Maxine Waters for the same abuses of POC.

bagoh20 said...

Imagine getting accepted at an elite university and thinking the only reason for this is I'm Black.

Martin said...

So, how many people of color will stay in jail because they can't make bail?

Mike Sylwester said...

Google is informing the public about the future of "net neutrality".

Mike Sylwester said...

I suppose that People of Color will just have to accept more difficulty in getting bail money.

Life is tough sometimes.

James K said...

"Studies show that for-profit bail bond providers make most of their revenue from communities of color and low income neighborhoods when they are at their most vulnerable..."

Replace "make most of their revenue" with "provide most of their services" and the the phrase is equally true, and opposite in impact.

richlb said...

Sickle-cell anemia disproportionately affects persons of color. Will Google no longer serve ads for drugs that assist them?

Dude1394 said...

So now the folks who need to know about the most bail-bonds available are screwed. Dumb democrats.

The democrat party continues to coddle and destroy the black community.

Jack Wayne said...

I’m glad they’re doing this. I hope they do more. I believe Capitalism works and antitrust is wrong. Google, Facebook et al will find out that someone else will supplant them.

DanTheMan said...

What if the bail bondsman are gay?

Bake that cake, Google.

Larry J said...

So, Google is blocking ads from bail bonding firms because they get most of their revenue from People of Color (POC). That means it'll be more difficult for POC to find a bail bondsman if they get in trouble with the law, meaning they're going to have a harder time making bail. That means POC will be more likely to remain in jail awaiting their trial date instead of being out on bail. Why does Google want POC to remain in jail? Google must hate POC!

Ron Winkleheimer said...

I get one ad or tracker blocked and 5 scripts blocked when I turn on my "shield" for this web page. I use the brave browser. Of course, you have to allow scripts to post.

Caligula said...

"Google’s decision is disturbing because it is so obviously a political decision."

I'd say it's more than a "political decision," it's a stupid political decision, because it's based on sentiment and ignores predictable consequences.

Refusing ads for this service will do absolutely nothing to reduce the demand for it; it will just make these businesses less competitive. For bail bonding is a service and, although the market usually converges on a price, the quality of service (e.g., getting the bonded to court on time by providing transportation and perhaps trying to make sure the bonded is presentable) can and does vary. As with any service.

If Google execs think bail should be cash only they presumably could use Google to promote that PoV, as there surely are some good arguments for banning the practice. Which might actually change a practice they apparently disapprove of (as refusing the ads surely will not). And should they feel guilty profiting from businesses they wish to ban, they obviously could donate all profits earned from this. Thereby perhaps getting bail bonding companies to finance their own elimination.

Googlers are supposed to be smart and analytic. Have they thought this through?

bagoh20 said...

Why are really smart people so stupid?

They were born smart, They were made stupid.

Pianoman said...

Due to my association with the musical theater community, and the fact that I have gay friends, Facebook assumed that I was gay. It was hilarious. The advertising bar on the right hand side started pushing gay T-shirts, gay websites, gay restaurants, etc.

I guess "Never Assume" doesn't apply at Google and Facebook.

Francisco D said...

This action seems to negatively affect the first time arrestee and not the career criminal who has the phone number on speed dial.

That's what happens when liberals act on emotions rather than even cursory logical thought and empirical experience.

Unknown said...

Payday loan companies often go out of business. It turns out that lending money to people who aren't credit-worthy is actually pretty risky. I haven't noticed a lot of empty bail bond buildings, but it can't be lucrative.

Char Char Binks said...

" these effects mean that more people will find themselves in jail for longer...."

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

cubanbob said...

Eventually this whole Russia collusion hoax will come to an end and when it does I see some serious cleaning up at the DoJ. Google and Facebook and possibly Twitter are going to be looking at some serious antitrust action by the DoJ. Trump allegedly bears grudges ( as the WHCD roast of him supposedly made him run for president) and if that is so then payback will be a bitch.

Yancey Ward said...

I bet when one digs deep enough into the intellectual support that Google cited for this decision, you will find the people who are hoping to become the new bail bonds companies, and they won't be doing it for charitable reasons either. It will turn out to be just another way of putting your competition out of business.

DanTheMan said...

You: "Hey, that guy is associated with musical theater, and his friends are gay. I bet he' gay, too."
Result: Your insight gets you fired for your insulting insinuation

Google: "Hey, that guy is associated with musical theater, and his friends are gay. I bet he' gay, too."
Result: Advertisers pay Google big bucks for their brilliant Big Data insight

Browndog said...

Sometimes it feels like Blacks are 99% of the population.

Pianoman said...

@Dan: Of course, that's Different, Because Shut Up.

Jim at said...

I long for the day when Google is relegated to MySpace status.

Bay Area Guy said...

Besides BailBonds Men, I've also noticed a lotta liquor stores in poor black neighborhoods (often referred colloquially as the "ghetto")

Google should do something about this too.

Infinite Monkeys said...

bagoh20 said...
What if I use Google to search for a bail bondsman, BECAUSE I NEED ONE RIGHT FUCKING NOW!

Does that make them party to the exploitation?


5/8/18, 11:05 AM


They're not removing them from searches, just not selling them ads. If you do a search for bail bondsman, you'll see the listings and see the results on Google Maps. The only thing you won't see is the "sponsored" listings at the top of the page. (Compare a search in Google to a search in Bing.)

I'm just a bit surprised there wasn't a "Did you mean bail bondspersons?" like there is whenever Google questions what you typed into the search.

gilbar said...

So, Google is Bragging about becoming racist; and is now denying services Solely Because those services are mostly used by minorities?

"By its own logic, Google should also ban ads from criminal defense attorneys? ... what about soul food restaurants? ... nail salons? .... barber shops? ... car detailing and window tint shops?"

Caldwell Titcomb IV said...

#bailmeouttoo

Rick said...

While Google's advertising can be considered racist it's inevitable their decision to stop such advertising will also be called racist.

This pattern was best shown in the crack invasion. When it first happened America was racist because police and politicians were indifferent to the so called epidemic disproportionately effecting blacks. Thus America responded with tougher laws and policing. Since the outrage over alleged indifference was no longer tenable the left turned around and called the solutions they had demanded racist also.

Christy said...

When I first moved to Baltimore I was discombobulated by all the bail bondsman ads on my grocery cart, and this was one of the better grocery stores in the city.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

You aren't a crazy cat lady, Ann; you're a crazy dog lady. (Not like Florence King's "doggy ladies," though; you're straight.) Now, I'm a crazy cat lady, though we've only two cats.

Matthew Sablan said...

What other services that fit that description has Google banned?

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Rick,

Yes, you're right about the crack epidemic; politicians were pressured to "respond," then reproved when they did. May I say that the AIDS epidemic was another of the same sort, and at about the same time? People were putting heavy pressure on Reagan to do something (and by "heavy pressure," I'm including all those posters of him with Kaposi's sarcoma), but "something" didn't include, say, shutting down SF's bathhouses, because that would be anti-gay. As though being gay just naturally involves anonymous sex. It clashes a bit with the other narrative, that gays are just exactly like straights, only interested in loving, monogamous relationships, but who am I to judge?

Matthew Sablan said...

So. When do we determine Google is a common carrier and has to bake the damn cake?

Fritz said...

With a fixed upper limit of about 10% profit, bail bondsmen aren't exactly rolling in dough.

GRW3 said...

Maybe Google should have an on demand add category. If you Google “Bail Bonds” you’d see the adds but not otherwise.

JML said...

Did anyone ever figure out why some of us were getting the Ashley Madison ads?

Rick said...

Did anyone ever figure out why some of us were getting the Ashley Madison ads?

They figure anyone watching that much porn is a sucker for a honey scam.

mikee said...

Why are ONLY people of color unable, per Google, to use rational decisionmaking when a bail bond is needed, with the concurrent necessity of censoring their online experience? What next, no Kanye tweets in favor of Trump, because the other people of color must be protected from such thoughts?

Bigotry of low expectations combined with keeping them on the plantation, with an added touch of totalitarian Big Brotherism - Google is worth rejecting completely.

Zach said...

Isn't at least part of the problem here that Google's approach to serving ads would cause these ads to appear on the screens of black people and to feel racist?

Google's business model involves businesses bidding for Ad Words -- words people search for that indicate they're looking to buy something. Like "bail bonds near me." Google doesn't get paid for impressions, just for click throughs. So unless you're searching for something awfully close to "Bail Bonds," I don't think you would get many ads.

Zach said...

The whole thing reminds me a lot of the Obama era culture wars. You have a sudden decision that a longstanding feature of society is unacceptable, followed by an immediate and heavy handed crackdown without any consultation or request for comment.

There's the same feeling of "I'm not sure how this is going to piss people off, or who's going to get pissed off most. But I know there's going to be somebody, and I know they're going to be *pissed*."

Sacto_Dave said...

Infinite Monkeys said you'll still be able to find a bail bondsman thru the internet. Not if a bill going through the California assembly gets any traction. The geniuses under the dome think it's a good idea to get rid of bail bonds altogether. I'm not sure what they'll replace it with. Probably tax dollars if I know my Dems.

Sacto_Dave said...

Google seems to think I'm a farmer or an engineer of some sort judging by the types of ads they're pushing me lately. On you page there are two pictures of tractors for sale. I'm a city guy and a retired surveyor. Sort of an engineer but not really. the only farming I do is to grow some tomatoes and such in my greenhouse in my backyard.

Sacto_Dave said...

Google seems to think I'm a farmer or an engineer of some sort judging by the types of ads they're pushing me lately. On you page there are two pictures of tractors for sale. I'm a city guy and a retired surveyor. Sort of an engineer but not really. the only farming I do is to grow some tomatoes and such in my greenhouse in my backyard.