Political Attack Ads Seen on Google Despite Rules

ClickZ_Campaign08_katefinal.jpgYesterday Google’s online political ad manager Peter Greenberger posted its rules on political ads. There are some interesting regulations involving personal attacks, donation landing pages and misleading ad copy.

On fairness: “We permit political advertisements regardless of the political views they represent, and apply our policies equally.”

On donations: “Your ad’s landing page must clearly state that the donations are non-tax-deductible.”

On misleading ads: They ain’t allowed. “Ad text must be clear, easy to read, and descriptive of a candidate or cause.” They also can’t dupe the user into thinking they’re for one candidate or group when they really lead to an opponent’s page.

This might be the most interesting of all:

On personal attacks: “Political ads must not include accusations or attacks relating to an individual’s personal life, nor can they advocate against a protected group.”

What’s particularly interesting, is I’ve seen what looks to me like an attack ad aimed at Mitt Romney’s Mormonism throughout the primary season. (Not only is this kinda personal, Mormonism would fall within the “protected” group category.) “Truth About Mitt Romney,” read the ad I’ve spotted. “The Secret Mormon Plan Revealed. What Every American Must Know!” The ad, targeted to keyword “Mitt Romney,” appeared to be placed by an anti-Mormon (who used to be one) pushing his book.

But I didn’t see it today. Perhaps Google finally caught wind of it and disabled it.

Related reading