Google, as a company, isn’t known for being fans of the Second Amendment. The recent crackdowns on gun channels on YouTube, which they own, are evidence of that. Those were only the most recent decisions, too. Google has a long history of animosity toward the private ownership of firearms.
Now, they seem to be targeting gun blogs on their popular blogging platform Blogger.
Veteran gun rights blogger John Richardson’s “No Lawyers, Only Guns and Money” blog was locked Wednesday by Blogger for allegedly “promoting or selling ‘regulated’ item.”
Richardson told Liberty Park Press via private email that he immediately appealed. Wednesday morning, he posted this message at a popular Facebook site “Friends Who Went to Gun Rights Policy Conference”:
“If you can’t find my blog No Lawyers- Only Guns and Money it is because it has been locked by Blogger for supposedly violating Terms of Service. Given I don’t post any adult content, I don’t ‘exploit children’, I don’t have ‘hate speech’, crude content, post gratuitous violence, terrorist content, violate copyright, etc., I am not sure what has happened. I have appealed the moment I found out.”
Richardson said that he never personally profited from the site, either, donating any proceeds to the Second Amendment Foundation. He also notes that the only ad he has on the site is a banner for Lucky Gunner. “So either this is an attack by the anti-gunners or that banner ad was the pretext,” he told Liberty Park Press.
It should be noted that Blogger typically does allow affiliate marketing advertising on its platform. Further, they also will post Google AdSense advertisements on the site with site owners getting a percentage. In other words, there hasn’t been an issue with advertising or affiliate marketing with the platform previously.
I reached out to Blogger via Twitter, mostly because I couldn’t find another way to contact them, to ask for comment. As of this writing, I still haven’t heard back.
That’s not surprising since Richardson hasn’t heard back from them after appealing the decision.
Richardson told me that he plans to contact an attorney and see about getting what he described as nine-plus years of blog posts from the tech giant. I can tell you, that’s a large body of work. No one should have to leave that behind.
While of lesser importance, perhaps Richardson can also get some answers as to why Blogger decided to lock down a website that has existed for almost a decade without incident. Fans of Richardson’s writing can tell you that he stayed on the legal side of things, never crossing into advocating violence or anything else that would warrant his site being shut down.
Let this be a lesson to all you gun bloggers out there. Move your site off of Google’s platform immediately. They don’t want you there and will obviously try to make your life difficult. If you want to make a business out of it, you really need to jump ship.
(Update 8/9/2019): According to Richardson, his website has now been restored. He said noted:
My blog has been restored. I got a message from the Blogger Team saying it was due to being flagged by their Automated System and that upon further review I was not in violation of the TOS. They”regretted” any inconvenience. I will still be porting everything over to a new WordPress site over the next few days.
Honestly? I can’t say that I blame him on that front. At all.