OMG! very not cool Google… Guns are as American as apple pie.
Yesterday, after searching for whatever firearm-related term on Google — “5.56 ammo,” for example — not only would one see general search results, but also a few shopping results.
Not anymore, it seems. According to an online retailer who contacted us to shed light on this outrage, they received a lengthy email from Google Shopping stating per the company’s new policies, all firearms, ammo and accessories will not be approved to be listed.
Indeed, it seems Google is sticking to their guns, if you’ll pardon the expression; search results for even the broadest terms turn up no results on Google shopping (see screenshot at left).
Google Shopping outlined its new policy — part of the company’s transition to its new identity, Google Commercial — in an email sent to the retailer that they were kind enough to forward directly to Guns & Ammo:
We’re writing to let you know about some upcoming changes to the product listings you submit to Google. As we recently announced, we are starting to transition our shopping experience to a commercial model that builds on Product Listing Ads. This new shopping experience is called Google Shopping. As part of this transition, we’ll begin to enforce a set of new policies for Google Shopping in the coming weeks. A new list of the allowed, restricted, and prohibited products on Google Shopping is available on our new policy page – http://www.google.com/appserve/mkt/ApI7UWRj6OCZpd.
Based on a review of the products you’re currently submitting, it appears that some of the content in your Merchant Center account, HamLund Tactical, will be affected by these policy changes. In particular we found that your products may violate the following policies:
When we make this change, Google will disapprove all of the products identified as being in violation of policies. We ask that you make any necessary changes to your feeds and/or site to comply, so that your products can continue to appear on Google Shopping.
To help you through this new set of policies and how to comply with them, we would like to give you some specific suggestions regarding the changes needed to keep your offers running on Google Shopping.
As highlighted on our new policy page http://www.google.com/appserve/mkt/ApI7UWRj6OCZpd, in order to comply with the Google Shopping policies you need to comply first with the AdWords policies http://www.google.com/appserve/mkt/StQ08jAzM4fVtG. We do not allow the promotion or sale of weapons and any related products such as ammunitions or accessory kits on Google Shopping. In order to comply with our new policies, please remove any weapon-related products from your data feed and then re-submit your feed in the Merchant Center. For more information on this policy please visit limiting search results in China, per the request of the country’s Communist government.
For a company whose unofficial motto is, “Don’t be evil,” Google has some pretty questionable business practices. If they think limiting gun sales won’t make much of a difference, their sorely mistaken, and chances are, it’s a lesson they’re about to learn the hard way.