Weapons and ammo dealers/sellers have been notified by Google that they will not be allowed to list any firearms for sale in Google Shopping. The news was broken by Outdoor Hub as it also reported how the merchants have formed an online petition aimed at reversing Google’s decision. In the letter sent by Google to the merchants, the search engine giant says, “We do not allow the promotion or sale of weapons and any related products such as ammunitions or accessory kits on Google Shopping. In order to comply with our new policies, please remove any weapon-related products from your data feed and then re-submit your feed in the Merchant Center.”
Searching in Google Shopping for guns, ammunition, shells and knives brings a results page stating that the term- “did not match any shopping results.”
Google is changing the rules
Google Shopping has been switched to a paid program, and that is why Google is changing its rules on the lines of its paid AdWords program. Google AdWords policies are being applied to Google Shopping (since it’s now an ad-based service) and that is why the weapons-related policies applicable in AdWords have been made applicable in Google Shopping.
The merchants across the US are upset because the severity of rules seem to be higher for Google Shopping than for AdWords. The Google Shopping help page bans “guns, ammunition and knives” as a whole, whereas the AdWords help page has a list of what is allowed and what is not OK for firearms ads.
That is why when one searches in Google Shopping for weapon related products, one gets to see AdWords ads, but no shopping results.
Is Google overriding the Second Amendment?
The merchants have said in the petition that they have the basic right to “keep and bear arms” as per the second amendment to the U.S. Constitution. They are questioning Google on ignoring their constitutional rights and giving this reason for this in its letter:
“Google Shopping must be compatible with company brand decisions. Our company has a strong culture and values, and we’ve chosen not to allow ads that promote products and services that are incompatible with these values. In addition, like all companies, Google sometimes makes decisions based on technical limitations, resource constraints, or requirements from our business partners. Our policies reflect these realities.”
Being a company, Google has every right to decide what it wants the merchants to sell on its platform or not. But the letter, referring to unclear ‘values’ has brought Google under the spotlight. What do you think of this decision? Do share your views