Google Shopping Expels Weapon-Related Items from its Listings
Weapons and related products are disappearing from search results pages in the service Google Shopping.
The recent change of Google Shopping to a new model “pay to get listed” was accompanied by unpleasant news for certain groups of merchants and consumers.
The merchants who are listing their products for sale in the new Google service have to re-examine their items lists. According to an e-mail from Google, in the coming weeks they will have to remove specific items, particularly weapon-related products.
But the ban is working already. Searching in Google Shopping for various types of firearms, ammunition or knives leads the user to the page informing that no shopping results were found.
Google Shopping (former Google Product Search) is becoming an ad-based service. Therefore, it is run in compliance with existing Google AdWords policies, among which there is a section about weapon-related products, the Google's email reminds to merchants.
The ban may not be so strict
The policies in Google Shopping may be even stricter than those in Google AdWords, Search Engine Land argues. As it was mentioned above, the newly banned products are not shown in Google Shopping search results page. But some of them can be shown below in AdWords text ads.
And when searching for these banned items on Google.com the user is often shown a Google Shopping box on the right of the results page. It contains some ads of the products and a link to check more shopping results on the service. And these discrepancies are likely to cause frustration among merchants and consumers.
The Second Amendment
The ban on listing weapons and related products in Google Shopping has provoked a negative response from some groups of American society. The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution defends the right of people to keep and bear arms. Therefore, some radical individuals have even accused Google of the attack on the basic rights of Americans.
Those who agree that Google is going too far can sign Internet petition, asking the company to cancel the new restrictions. It says that the anti-weapons policy would deprive many of law obedient citizens from purchases of legal weapons at acceptable prices, and that both they and many small merchants would suffer.
Providing listings of various types of weapons and related products in Google Shopping goes against the "culture and values" of the company, the Google e-mail to merchants informs. On the one hand, Google has the right to choose what products will be listed in its service.
On the other hand, the wording of "incompatible" products and services is vague, some experts say. Therefore, Google is likely to be further criticized if it will go on banning items from other industries.