Google Captures Cougars And Releases Them Into The Wild

A dating website for older women looking for younger men is no longer able to advertise in the Google Content Network. The website CougarLife.com has told The New York Times that its advertisements have been removed from the Content Network because Google deemed them “non-family safe”.

Claudia Opdenkelder, founder of CougarLife.com, said the campaign, which cost $100,000 USD a month, generated referrals that accounted for almost two thirds of its traffic. On an interesting side note, Opdenkelder knows her target market well. She is 39 and lives with her 25-year-old boyfriend.

In an e-mail to Cougarlife.com, a Google representative said, “The Policy Team is sticking pretty strongly with their assertion that the concept of “Cougar Dating” will be classified as Non-Family Safe for the time being. We’re hoping to revisit this policy with them in the future.”

Clearly, Google AdWords is not banning all dating site, so why this sector?  Google has a list of “trigger words” that flag sites as non-family safe. However, these tasks are not completely automated. They usually just throw up a red flag and prompt a manual look and approval (or in this case disapproval).

The use of the word “cougar” is not just a red flag for Google. The American television viewing public is also not a fan. “Cougar Town”, a Courtney Cox show on ABC was renewed for another season. That is the good news. The bad news is they may be dropping the title, according to Parade.com. Apparently, the title has kept people away from the show. Replacing the word “Cougar” with “Mellencamp” is probably not the solution that the television show is looking for either.

From Cougar Town to CougarLife.com, evidently the stigma continues. “We just want to be treated the same way as all the others, and the discrimination against the word ‘cougar’ makes it even worse,” Opdenkelder told The Vancouver Sun. “It makes us  feel like dirty perverts. I’ve been trying to fight so hard on every interview that I do that the old stigma on cougars doesn’t exist anymore, and that we’re just strong, powerful independent women who just happen to enjoy dating younger men.”

CougarLife.com is a self-proclaimed “premier online dating service that pairs women in their prime with younger men and ends the double standard”. Well, maybe the double standard does not end. In fact, Google allows dating sites of various ages, religion, and sexual preferences. Websites that serve older men seeking younger women are not banned, nor are sites where younger women can seek rich older men.

“It’s just wrong all around,” Opdenkelder told The New York Times. “It’s age and gender discrimination. It’s just about older, successful, independent, strong women who enjoy someone that’s younger. Some of the men sites, they are borderline prostitution, and Google has no problem having them advertise”.

One such site is, the very appropriate, ArrangementSeekers.com boasts itself as “Sugar Daddy service catering to ambitious and attractive girls seeking successful and generous benefactors to fulfill their lifestyle needs”. Getting past the creepiness factor of that last statement, how is that any different than CougarLife.com? Interestingly enough, CougarLife.com and ArrangementSeekers.com are owned by the same company, Avid Life Media.

To recap: Old rich men looking to pay for young women, good. Older woman looking for a relationship with younger men, bad. Double standard?  Apparently so Mrs. Robinson, apparently so.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

Related Topics: Channel: SEM | Google: AdWords | Legal | Search Headlines

Sponsored


About The Author: is a frequent search industry speaker and blogger, although he has spent most of his career as an in-house Online Marketing Manager. Working from this perspective has provided John with an understanding of high demand and budget concerns as it relates to marketing. He can also be found at www.JohnWEllis.com and on Twitter @JohnWEllis

Connect with the author via: Email | LinkedIn



SearchCap:

Get all the top search stories emailed daily!  

Share

Other ways to share:
 

Read before commenting! We welcome constructive comments and allow any that meet our common sense criteria. This means being respectful and polite to others. It means providing helpful information that contributes to a story or discussion. It means leaving links only that substantially add further to a discussion. Comments using foul language, being disrespectful to others or otherwise violating what we believe are common sense standards of discussion will be deleted. Comments may also be removed if they are posted from anonymous accounts. You can read more about our comments policy here.
  • http://www.alforque.com alforque

    I’ve seen Spam for this website littering various Blogs (including WashingtonPost.com). I wonder if this played into part of Google’s decision? And the website is just playing the “free press” angle?

Get Our News, Everywhere!

Daily Email:

Follow Search Engine Land on Twitter @sengineland Like Search Engine Land on Facebook Follow Search Engine Land on Google+ Get the Search Engine Land Feed Connect with Search Engine Land on LinkedIn Check out our Tumblr! See us on Pinterest

 
 

Click to watch SMX conference video

Join us at one of our SMX or MarTech events:

United States

Europe

Australia & China

Learn more about: SMX | MarTech


Free Daily Search News Recap!

SearchCap is a once-per-day newsletter update - sign up below and get the news delivered to you!

 


 

Search Engine Land Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors

Get Your Copy
Read The Full SEO Guide