Everything you need to know about SEO, published jointly with Search Engine Land every Thursday.
If The AFA Boycotts Google Over Gay Rights, Will It Remove Itself From Google?
The American Family Association doesn’t like Google’s new Legalize Love effort to promote gay rights worldwide. Doesn’t like it so much that it’s planning a Google boycott. If AFA is really serious about that, I expect it will be removing itself from Google shortly.
I wasn’t familiar with the AFA until today, when I caught a tweet about how it plans to boycott Google, as covered by Right Wing Watch. AFA has boycotts against other companies like Home Depot or products like Oreo cookies (seriously).
Buster Wilson, general manager of AFA’s radio network and host of the AFA Today show, suggested yesterday that Google is next on the list. Right Wing Watch has the video, which is also posted at the AFA site here:
Wilson remarked how difficult a Google boycott will be:
This going to be hard for a lot of us. A lot of us are so integrated into Google and Google products. This is going to be a tough one. It’s more than just a search engine.
Wilson goes on to mention Google products like Android phones, Google Calendar and YouTube, then says abandoning these and other Google products will “test the meat of our convictions.”
Indeed. AFA’s blogs allow you to search them using Google’s custom search. That will have to go. The group has a YouTube channel. Goodbye. But the real test — the one I suspect AFA will fail — will be dropping out of Google itself.
All it takes is adding a line to the AFA web site’s robots.txt file, and all the pages current listed from that site in Google, over 16,000 of them right now, would be gone:
So far, the file hasn’t been changed.
Over the years, I’ve seen all types of companies, groups and people say they were done with Google. None of them ever seem to back this up by removing themselves from Google’s search engine. Not Viacom, which sued Google over YouTube copyright issues. Not book publishers who sued Google over Google Book Search copyright issues. Nor do I expect the AFA will do the same. But we’ll see. I’m checking for a response.
Consumers can, of course, quit Google. The BBC just had an article today about Tom Henderson, who has been living a mostly Google-free life for the past four months. But he was able to search using an alternative search engine. AFA members who want to avoid gay-friendly search engines will find that tough.
As Right Wing Watch points out, Microsoft backs marriage equality for gays. That potentially prevents Bing from being a search alternative. That potentially means using a service like Duck Duck Go, which depends on Bing, is also out.
Full disclosure. I support gay rights, because those are at their core also human rights. And gays are human. Denying gays human rights? Not so human.