Remember when Google first came on the scene? They fought censorship in China…they promised that their mission was “don’t be evil”…and they let people essentially vote with clicks for what came up in search.
Ahhh…the good ole’ days.
Nowadays, it is Google that is censoring, controlling what comes up in search and, yes…from where I sit…being evil.
In addition to boosting its own content in its search engine, Google has joined the dark side and is censoring vitamin sales online.
It seems Google has a dietary supplement problem.
If you search for “vitamin C,” you’ll still get plenty of hits (at least for the time being…). And you’ll get the paid ads. THAT’S not going away! Google made $28 billion in 2010 from paid advertisements.
The problem is Google Shopping. It’s been scrubbed clean of supplements. Search “vitamin C,” and…nothing. Three paid ads appear, but nothing else. It looks like vitamin C products have just vanished.
Search “saw palmetto.” Same thing. “Vitamin B-12.” The same. Nothing is there. It’s an empty search engine. Put another way: worthless.
For comparison, I tried some other Google Shopping searches…
* Advil — 1,370 hits
* Water balloons — 10,400 hits
* Candy — 5,220,000 hits
* Vitamin D — zero hits
Let’s call that what it is — censorship. And it has a sneaky, underhanded feel to it. Someone at Google simply hung a “Closed” sign on the supplement shopping area.
According to Ethan A. Huff at Natural News, inside sources say that Google has put supplements on a “sensitive category” list. Why? Nobody knows. Are they appeasing drug company partners? Do they have a behind-the-scenes agreement with the FDA?
Whatever the answer, it’s a blatant violation of the free market. And it’s appalling! Consider this… Google handles nearly 80 percent of all Internet searches. So with supplements gone from Google Shopping, that’s a severe hit to our ability to make our own healthcare decisions. (Tell me that isn’t evil!)
But what can we do? There’s no customer service number. We can’t go down to our local Google store and ask to see the manager.
We’ve hit the Google wall.
But there’s a simple solution to this outrageous censorship. We can end our relationship with Google. We can join that non-Google 20% and go elsewhere to search.
To make sure we wouldn’t have the same problem, I did some checking. And what do you know! All those supplement products DIDN’T just vanish!
In Bing’s shopping area, there are plenty of supplement products. Same with Yahoo!, Ask.com, AOL Search, HotBot, and info.com.
Google may be a powerful force online but I’m not willing to let it make my shopping decisions for me.
So long, Google. You’ll have to use your evil on someone else.
“Google Shopping blocks all vitamins and natural products – glitch or deliberate censorship?” Ethan A. Huff, Natural News, 8/19/12, naturalnews.com
“The Google Problem” Fair Search, fairsearch.org