Google Gone

      30 Comments on Google Gone

I finally dumped our Google reserved spots after readers alerted me that ads for lap-band surgery were appearing in one of them.

That’s the problem with Google’s ad-placement software:  if I write about the horrors of bariatric surgery, we get ads for bariatric surgery showing up.  If I write about the damage caused by high-fructose corn syrup, those annoying “Sweet Surprise” ads show up.  If I write a post explaining why the hypothesis that high cholesterol causes heart disease is bogus, the Google spots will display ads for Foods That Lower Your Cholesterol!

I kept hoping someone or some piece of intelligent software at Google would recognize that I often write about products and services I urge people to avoid and adjust the ads accordingly.  Apparently that will never happen.

I’ve turned down advertisers who wanted to buy space to promote products I don’t buy and wouldn’t recommend — low-carb junk foods and suchlike — so if Google is going to keep placing ads for products and services I would never intentionally promote, it’s time to live without their monthly checks.

The items I do actively promote here — DVDs and the tee-shirt we produced ourselves — are selling quite briskly, so thank you all very much for the ongoing support.  Every time we sit down to fill a slew of new orders, we feel blessed.


30 thoughts on “Google Gone

  1. Justin McCullough

    I always thought that was pretty silly how I would read a post about something and see an add for lipitor on the border.

  2. J. Stanton -

    I’ve never run external advertising, feeling that it would detract from the message I was communicating. (Not to mention sales of my own books and T-shirts.) I’m glad your sales are sufficient for it to be a reasonable business decision as well. Congratulations!

    Also, more and more people are learning how to install ad-blocking software (e.g. Adblock Plus), so I think that the point is slowly becoming moot.

    Keep in mind that if you have Amazon referral widgets on your page, most ad-blocking software removes those too!


    We have Amazon widgets for the books I recommend. If they’re blocked, they’re blocked. Nothing I can do about that.

  3. mezzo

    You deserve full credit for that, Tom. There can’t be many people who are willing to give up a monthly cheque for the sake of keeping their site clean. I never see those adverts because I installed AdBlockPlus which gives me nice clean websites without all sorts of things flashing at me and making a general nuisance of themselves. Takes a lot of stress out of surfing – I cannot recommend it highly enough. And it doesn’t cost anything.

  4. Jesrad

    Dunno which one has the higher market clout: taking money from the merchants of crud and spending it on advocating against them, or not taking this money in the first place hoping that it will ultimately reduce their visibility, preferably into bankruptcy…

    I really like the irony in the first option, but I can respect the consistency in the second. Although, I highly doubt you ever sold bariatric surgery to anyone 😀 Is there any non-Paypal way to help dealing with the reduced revenue ?

    We’ll just have to sell more DVDs and t-shirts.

  5. Jana

    Kelly the Kitchen Kop pulled her Google ads down for the same reason. Now you won’t have to worry that they are giving bad advice on your blog nor read comments the fact you have bad ads. Thanks for the great blog and good job on pulling down a conflict of interest, I’m sure that was a tough decision to make.

  6. Nina

    Tom here’s a thought. How about you and some techie buddies set up an alternative blog ad business, specifically to host health, acceptable products?

    In the UK Guido Fawkes (Paul Staines) established a blog advertising company and now makes a lot of money from promoting politicians’ wares:

    If you did something that worked for the low carb/paleo communities, it would be welcomed and might make some regular money, even if in lower fees than Google et al.


    Part of the problem with trying to place ads on this blog is that there are very few health-related products I’d feel comfortable recommending. I don’t want to push any particular supplements, certainly not any processed low-carb food.

  7. Austin Pitts

    Good thing too, I was just thinking how easy it would be to blend my meals for the rest of my life. But seriously, good call on booting Google, that would have been a tough decision. Thanks for everything and keep up the great work!!

  8. Marilyn

    Google scr*wed something up for Peter over at Hyperlipid, and he hasn’t posted since mid-March. I’m getting pretty fed up with the ads they stuff into every corner of my screen here, too.

  9. cndnrose

    Thank you, those ads were annoying. They were funny, in a way, and I usually just laughed and tuned them out, but I admire your priciples. Keep up the good work! You are changing lives.

  10. gharkness

    Tom, you are aware, I presume, that you can block entire categories of ads without dumping all your AdSense ads? There is a “sensitive” category for “Weight Loss” that, I believe, would take care of the problem if you blocked it.

    That may not be what you choose to do, but I just want to mention that it can be done, though you probably already know it. 🙂

    I wasn’t aware of that. I may restore their spots someday and try the filters, but after seeing ads for lap-band surgery (and not for the first time), I’ll always be a little worried about what other inappropriate ads will show up.

  11. Kathy

    I sooooo wish other bloggers would do the same. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve looked at the ads on a paleo/primal,etc site and said ” WTF”. Follow the money, once again. Oh, well………….I’ve learned to ignore almost all ads.

    One other thing. Good you’re taken (and so am I), or I’d be stalking you, ’cause I do love you. 😉 That lucky wife of yours has to know I’m not the only one.

    LOL. Thanks for the early-morning chuckle, but I’m the lucky one in this marriage.

  12. Nowhereman

    Thanks for taking the high road here, Tom. Another set of nice side benefits to all of this; less risk of computer viruses or other malware, and much faster page downloading. 😀

  13. Firebird7478

    “Part of the problem with trying to place ads on this blog is that there are very few health-related products I’d feel comfortable recommending. I don’t want to push any particular supplements, certainly not any processed low-carb food.”

    You’d think the cattle growers association, Hormel bacon, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, etc. would be approaching you.

    The advertisers who have approached me all sell specific products. The last one wanted buy a spot for some kind of low-carb protein bar. So I looked up the ingredients and saw soy protein right there near the top. As I told the advertiser, I’m not going to promote a food I wouldn’t eat.

  14. JoAnn

    Everyday I am thankful that I stumbled upon your website and found the movie on Netflix. I watched it once alone, then with my family, then FORCED (through constant nagging), my sister in another state to watch it with her family. I recommend it often to friends. My Brother in law is no longer taking statins. My sister is no longer eating a low fat diet, which was making her fat. My whole family is eating better. I’ve lost 15 pounds. We all feel so much better. So thank you, a million times, for The Fathead Movie and the blog. For all the research and money that have gone in to it. For being an all around awesome guy. And thanks to your wife and little girls too.

    Thank you, JoAnn. It’s always makes my day to hear the film is having a positive effect.

  15. Liz

    Here’s an idea for something I’d like to see from Team Fat Head: an ebook.

    You have a knack for putting together information in a way that is easy to grasp and funny at the same time. Your unique graphic presentations are an added bonus.

    You deserve all of the success that comes to you!

    It’s on our to-do list. The big project right now is preparing for my roast of the other speakers on the low-carb cruise.

  16. Weezy

    Let me add another “kudos to you” re google.

    I’ll soon be buying your DVDs because (1) I’m a big fan, and (2) I teach graduate level research and methodology and I’m going to have my students watch your movie and lecture–in class. You have some of the best explanations and examples of confounding variables and how conclusions don’t necessarily have to follow findings. I could lecture for days and they won’t remember a thing; however I’m betting that after watching you, they’ll get it AND remember.

    Wish I had discovered your stuff earlier!

    I’m flattered you’ll be using the materials in your classes. Thank you.

  17. Mike Callaghan

    Maybe you should put those ads back and ask your readers to click on them once a week or so. I don’t mind clicking an ad or two for you in exchange for the service you provide.

    I’m fine with those ads being gone. We’ve had a surprisingly consistent stream of orders for DVDs coming in (honestly, I didn’t expect DVDs of speeches to sell so well), plus random donations, so readers are supporting the site.

  18. PJ

    Good for you taking the high road, Tom. I continue to admire your ethics and character. Though I knew these were not ads that you chose and I would just ignore them (or have an ironic chuckle) it’s nice not to see them.

    I figured most people knew they were Google placements, but the content still annoyed me.

  19. Claude

    Dumping them was a good thing and now I’m also feeling less guilty that I might deprive you from any extra income because I selfishly run AdBlock on all my PC at home and at the office.

  20. Walter B

    I don’t know, I always (after I figured out what they were) sort of amused that the advertisers and Google would waste the money like that. It was also a good way to keep the opposition under watch. As they say in the martial arts traditions, “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.”

    As Gautama said, “Be aware.”, modern society says, “Be a ware.”.

  21. Ghost

    Well, then I’ll very much support you guys and buy a couple of DVDs and a T-shirt for sure!

    If I buy them, can I get them signed? It’d just thrill the crap out of me.


    I don’t think you want me signing the t-shirt. It would probably bleed into the fabric the first time you washed it.

  22. Rebecca

    Hi from Down, Down Under,
    Was just curious, ok very curious, if there was a way or means of being able to watch your, by all accounts, wonderful movie over here???

    We ship DVDs all over the world. I’m currently in litigation to get away from the lying sacks of @#$% who were supposed to be our international distributors. If that succeeds, you can expect Fat Head to be available through digital distribution there soon. I don’t know if you have Netflix streaming, Amazon instant play, Hulu, etc., down under, but at the very least it should go out on iTunes.

  23. Denise G

    I bought Fathead on DVD, and one of the things I like best about it, is knowing it was sitting in your closet on the farm!

    They’re on shelves in my home office, but they did travel from the farm.

  24. Cheese Is Not Murder

    I always enjoyed the irony of you having Pharma pay to get the truth out. Still, I ordered a t-shirt because I want to help get the message out… not because I know a few vegans it will peeve. OK, maybe that too!

    I appreciate the support. I’d rather all the income result from selling products I endorse … and of course I endorse my wife’s design on the t-shirts.

  25. Brandon

    What is an example of a low carb junk food?

    Low-carb cookies made with soy flour and frankfats, low-carb dipping chips made primarily of gluten, low-carb anything full of artificial sweeteners, etc.

  26. Deedle

    I feel silly referencing this website, but the system for ads they have is kind of neat. I have AdBlock because I find flashing/moving junk on my screen extremely distracting to the point of closing whole websites. However, AdBlock does not block the site-generated banner ads at the SomethingAwful forums. Users buy ads to promote other threads of interest, games they have developed, and products they’re selling. Since I read that forum, I’m naturally interested in those things.

    I don’t know how the programming works to get around AdBlock, but I actually enjoy seeing those ads. What if you sold tiny ads to other members of the paleo/primal/low-carb community to get the word out about their blogs/tumblrs/videos/etc? Obviously if I’m reading this site, I’m hungry for more information and wouldn’t at all mind seeing an ad for such things. I know you have a blogroll, but an ad for a new in-depth video, or a great new recipe site would be interesting to see and I bet a lot of people would want to click on it. This may be more work than it’s worth, but it’s just an idea 🙂

    I’d consider ads for products I believe in, but the only inquiries I’ve had from advertisers were for products I don’t use and wouldn’t endorse.


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