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Google 'censoring' anti-Obama bloggers?
Posted By Chelsea Schilling On 11/28/2008 @ 1:35 am In Front Page | Comments Disabled
Pamela Geller of Atlas Shrugs
Is Google censoring anti-Obama stories?
Pamela Geller of Atlas Shrugs claims the search engine giant has banned her groundbreaking articles about Obama – a technique many people refer to as “sandboxing.”
“There was no warning, no notice, nothing,” Geller told WND. “They have basically sandboxed me.”
“Sandboxing” happens when Google strips a website’s rankings from its search engine results.
Google spokewoman Elisabeth Diana told WND, “Atlas Shrugs was in violation of our terms of service. When we are made aware of a potentital policy violation, our team of specialists will manually review the site to make sure it abides by our program policies. In this case, we have stopped serving ads to Atlas Shrugs.”
However, Geller believes her stories have been intentionally suppressed by the Internet giant – especially ones about President-elect Obama. She said her exclusive stories about Obama’s birth certificate that once received thousands of hits every day will not come up in Google word searches.
“I was in the top five search results before the story got legs,” she said. “These stories drove 12,000 to 15,000 people to my site every day.”
But now a November earnings report shows her Google clicks and revenue flat lining since Nov. 20. Daily page impressions dropped from an average of 20,000 and 45,000 to single digits – overnight. Also, her Google images hits are slowed to only 4,720 since that day, while Yahoo and other search engines list them in the hundreds of thousands.
“The media gives blogs the silent treatment,” she said. “The only thing we have is these searches. The Google word search is gone – all gone. When you are in my business, that’s how you build readership.”
On July 4, Geller featured a story about a board-certified forensic expert who declared Obama’s online birth certificate a “forgery” and an “obvious fake.” She attributes most of her problems with Google to that report.
“I think that it’s the birth certificate story,” Geller said. “All of the sudden, my numbers were down by 10,000.”
She has also featured reports on Obama’s support of Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga and cases of alleged campaign finance fraud involving his campaign. Geller believes Google is censoring her stories because it objects to their content.
“It’s a freedom of speech issue,” she said. “Who are they to decide what should be searched? They don’t like what I’m running so they ban me?”
Visitor to Geller’s website receive this “forbidden” message when they use the Google search engine on Atlas Shrugs
Diana insisted Google’s decision was not based on the content of Geller’s articles.
“I can tell you that our suspension of ad serving had nothing to do with her anti-Obama stories,” she said.
Geller said she has contacted Google three times, and the company said it has filed “requests for consideration” to put her stories back on Google’s search pages.
“They want me to sit this out for six months,” she said. “Are they kidding? Based on what?”
Geller said the top Google word searches used to be about Obama’s birth certificate. But now she said the searches only return “a bunch of speculating and hearsay” to make the stories appear to be unfounded conspiracy theories.
She believes the censorship could have something to do with Google CEO Eric Schmidt’s relationship with the president-elect. According to recent reports, Schmidt will soon be holding a position in the Obama administration.
Geller said she has hired a cyber-crime consulting firm to remove her articles from the search engine’s “sandbox” and has asked her readership to help fight censorship with donations.
“Google cannot arbitrarily silence voices of freedom,” she said. “Blogs are the last vestige of free speech.”
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