I viewed our family travel blog today, as would any other individual who was finding the site on their own. As I scrolled down the navigation pane, I was surprised to find a “Yes on Proposition 8” advertisement at the bottom of the pane. It wasn’t marked as an advertisement. It looked like I had personally added it to the page. For those of you who don’t know, (likely most of you), Proposition 8 proposes a ban on Gay Marriage in the state of California. Regardless of which way you would choose to vote on this Proposition, it is totally inappropriate to have this advertisement appear to be the site owner’s personal opinion. It should be marked as a Google ad, which is exactly what it is. Now, I’m sure someone will tell me that few folks would see the ad, because Google is using a reverse IP look up scheme, only showing the ad to Californians, but that matters not. Fix this problem and identify this as an ad. The good news is that the election is tomorrow and it will be off the site the day after. The bad is news? This could happen to any of you in your country’s or province’s elections. Let this post serve as fair warning to any site owner that you may have something to which you are strongly opposed show up on your site as your own opinion.
Could you please take a screenshot of what you're seeing that is not clearly identified as a google ad?
If I look at your blog, all the ads I see (one at the bottom of the sidebar, one way at the bottom of a post, right above the comments section (in the single post view) have "ads by google" clearly marked.
The two ads at the bottom - which I think must be the ones you're talking about - are contained in a block with a much lighter background color, and have "ads by google" in the bottom right corner of that block.
edit: ah wait, you said bottom of the "navigation pane", by which you probably mean what I call the sidebar. Most of the time the ads there are clearly marked, but on your latest entry the ad does blend in a lot more, with "ads by google" in tiny text above a single ad which otherwise uses the same colors as the rest of the sidebar. Looking at the code for this ad, it seems like Google itself extracts those colors and tries to make it blend in (that is, there doesn't seem to be a stylesheet on the site purposefully trying to make it look like that).
Not certain what's up with that...
I totally agree with you that it's horrible to have an advertisement like that shown (I'm rather appalled that google would allow ads like that in the first place), and although I of course can't speak for Sam and Peter (the site admins), from what I know about them, I dare say they'll think exactly the same thing.
[ Edit: Edited on Nov 3, 2008, at 4:47 PM by Sander ]
Yes, it 's the sidebar and when I went to take another look I did see an "Ads by Google" in tiny type tightly set against the "authors" list. I didn't notice it at first. There was no block with lighter color on this page. Here is the URL reference: http://onthewayhome.travellerspoint.com/archive/092007/
If they have changed the ad, I have a screen shot I can mail to you... just send me an email address I can send it to.
Hmm, I do indeed find this somewhat disturbing. I can't see it unfortunately. A screenshot would indeed be good to understand how it is showing. I don't know if Google Adwords or Adsense has any way of disallowing political ads from showing. I'd be keen to do that if they did. There is an option to block specific URLs from showing. If you let me know the URL, I'll have it blocked. If you have added your own Google Adsense ID to your profile, then you can do this yourself as well.
I wish google would have some way of disallowing all political ads. I'm guessing this is the same case as documented on techcrunch yesterday. You'll see it's racked up quite a few comments already.
One way of quickly removing it from your own blog would be to add the following rule to your template (under TEMPLATE > Edit in your blog management).
It can go anywhere on that edit code page.