Google bans porn on AdWords

Porn advertisers may soon be flocking to Bing, because starting this week, ads promoting sexually explicit content are prohibited on Google AdWords. The search engine giant informed potentially affected advertisers of the policy change by email earlier in June, according to CNBC.

“Beginning in the coming weeks, we’ll no longer accept ads that promote graphic depictions of sexual acts,” Google wrote in the email. “When we make this change, Google will disapprove all ads and sites that are identified as being in violation of our revised policy.”

Rumblings of the porn ban were present as early as March, when Google announced it would be updating its adult sexual services, family status and underage and non-consensual sex acts policy pages. At that time, the company clarified that ads for strip clubs, “adult and sexual” dating sites and “non-intimate” massage services would continue to be accepted, albeit subject to tight restrictions.

Despite the early warnings, CNBC reports that the policy change took at least some in the adult entertainment industry by surprise.

“I was caught by surprise,” Theo Sapoutzis, chairman and CEO of AVN Media Network told CNBC. “I was one of the very first advertisers for AdWords back in 2002. It’s something that’s been [untouched] for 12 years, so you don’t expect change is going to start happening.”

The ad ban will not affect search results, only the ads that appear at the top of the page. So the millions of porn searchers can breath a sigh of relief. CNBC reports that in the month of May alone, there were nearly 351 million searches for the words “sex,” “porn,” “free porn” and “porno.”