We got this email earlier today:
Gotta love the personal touch of “Dear Publisher…” Might as well say “Greetings, Citizen.”
“Nice website you got there. It’d be a real shame if we demonetized it.”
We abhor what is going on in Ukraine. Abhor it. Wanton aggression by Putin and his foolish kinetic land invasion of a country only stands to destabilize the world and cause great suffering. Great job, idiot.
Vladdy should know the best way to invade a country in the 21st Century is not by land, air and sea. No, no. The best way to subvert a country is to systematically destroy its values and culture over the course of a generation by infantilizing adults through the university system, pop culture and social media while slapping them with massive unpayable debt that’s tied to income until they’re at your mercy and willing to support any cause you tell them to. That’s how it’s done.
Anyway, the largest ad platform in the world actively or passively engaging in wartime censorship through demonetization is something that we cannot support. Especially when it is worded as vaguely as that.
“Agree with us, or else” has become quite the company line with the Big Tech arbiters of truth like Google, YouTube, Twitter and Reddit. It’s not hard to figure out why the majority are throwing their support behind a literal space age robber baron instead of the $140k/year, woke, spoiled Silicon Valley brats at Twitter who are scared of anyone who hasn’t been compelled to put their pronouns in their LinkedIn bio.
Speech should never be centralized and ad revenue should not be held hostage in exchange for keeping your thoughts to yourself. Period.
Questioning media narratives is essential during conflict. The New York Times infamously suppressed coverage of the Holocaust during World War II, leading to countless preventable deaths. Many outlets refused to report on the Holodomor during the 1930s, as the Soviet Union starved over 10 million Ukrainians to death on their way to taking over half of Europe without a peep from the West. The Vietnam War would have gone on forever if it wasn’t for cultural activism and the media constantly showing needless suffering in North Vietnam night after night. We’d be closing in on year 20 in Afghanistan had The Washington Post not reported on the Afghanistan Papers.
Starting, oh about 30 minutes ago, we will not run Google Ads on Do A Win Today and we have pulled all of our DongTown Tees cost-per-click campaigns from the platform as well.
We’re lucky enough to be partnered with platforms, advertisers and affiliate partners who allow us to write whatever the hell we want by simply leaving us alone. They will never saddle us with restrictions. We’ll do this our way. Directly with you, instead of having Google’s AI serve you ads they think you might like based on your browsing and search history and/or microphone, camera, bluetooth connection, proximity, vehicle (owned or leased), your last phone call with your mother, whether or not your girlfriend is pregnant, etc.
Meanwhile, we’ll have a good idea why you landed on our page by knowing our audience and continue to work on building a community that is suited to each and every one of our readers through meaningful content. Not to serve the masters at Google.
And we’ll make it work (because we don’t make that much from Google anyway). Because we won’t be told what to do, what to say or be permitted to make a living by a group of technocrat overlords who we’ve never met.
Questioning mainstream narratives about major international conflict is not hate speech. Being curious about Azov Battalion and their significant role in the conflict is not the same as saying Sandy Hook was an elaborate false flag. Will content about the debunked “Ghost of Kyiv” be demonetized? Seeking the truth is productive and any entity standing in the way of that on either side is wrong.
Are we ever going to write about Ukraine here? Definitely not. Which is why we are curious why the hell Google felt compelled to send that email in the first place. Our content is centered around chicken wings and sports.
It is becoming clearer and clearer that de-coupling from establishment tech encourages the flow of free speech and ideas. As it stands, we won’t respond to their demands.
“Agree with us or else.”
Thanks, but I’d rather our business be done elsewhere because everybody knows censorship does not end if not met with resistance.
Free, decentralized information is what made the internet (and, ya know, democracy) great.
-Brian McGannon and Kevin Scobee