Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Google's War On Chinese Herbs: Epimedium Banned

Google's Policy-Makers seem to have declared war on Chinese Herbs and the supplement/health food industry. East Earth Trade Winds had its Google Adword account suspended in early April, 2013 for advertising violations. What violations? One was having the word "Pe Min Kan Wan" listed on the website (See earlier posting). The other violation? Having the word "Epimedium" on the website, I'm told, is also a violation of their policies. "Epimedium" is short for the botanical name Herba Epimedium Sagittatum (Chinese: Yin Yang Huo 淫羊藿) and is a commonly used herb in Chinese herbal medicine. Epimedium tonifies the Kidneys, fortifies the yin and yang, and is good for pain in the joints and because it is a Yang Tonifying herb it also can be used in formulas for reproductive problems.

This seems preposterous to me. How can you ban the name of a plant that is not only commonly sold in Chinese medicine but legal to import and use?

I pointed out to the Support Rep that the word "Epimedium" was not on the Google Hit List of banned terms.

The response was (bold and underlining mine):

"Unfortunately those list (sic) are not comprehensive. You will have to take my word that you are not allowed to advertise for herbs such as Epimedium, and because the policy for healthcare terms changes so often there is not another list that I am able to send. However, please check the list and make the necessary changes and let me know when that has been completed, so I may continue to chat with our policy team.

T. R. "

Sounds like "Catch-22" T.R.

Another word I believe I could substitute for "Banning" is "Censoring" as in the Google Censors have determined that the Chinese products "Epimedium" and "Pe Min Kan Wan" are not fit for Chinese Herb Stores or Health Food Stores to advertise or sell. They will suspend your advertising account if you are found to advertise these products unless of course you're a major Google Adword Player like Amazon (search for "epimedium" in Google and an ad for Epimedium Extracts at Amazon.com will come up).

Censoring is an interesting term. If you remember it wasn't that long ago that Google pulled out of China because they didn't want their search results censored... but in the USA they seem to have no qualms about censoring and controlling what US businessmen and women may advertise and sell.

Google's done a lot of really cool stuff with the internet but as in my last posting I would like to encourage you to Boycott Google and use Yahoo, Bing, or any other search engine instead.

Stay tuned. I'm sure there's more to surprises to come.

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