IN THE BEGINNING......THE REASONS BEHIND MY BOYCOTT OF THE INTERNET LINK EXCHANGE
So how did this all start? I used to use Internet Link Exchange. I even had the banner smack at the top of my page. But then, something changed.....
I first became annoyed with Internet Link Exchange when a friend of mine submitted the following banner in November, 1996:
and Internet Link Exchange rejected it. Following is Internet Link Exchange's first letter, rejecting the banner:
I'm sorry but we have a policy against allowing members to have material on their banners that might be considered inappropriate or offensive.
We realize that this may seem like an unreasonably harsh policy, but our policy was formed based on whether a significant portion of our members would feel that this type of advertisement is inappropriate or offensive.
We hope you find our policy acceptable and consider resubmitting another banner. Thank you for your understanding.
Inappropriate or offensive? Somehow I just didn't buy the story that this particular banner was "inappropriate or offensive." I was not happy with this at all, so I emailed ILE and asked them why they had a problem with a banner stating medical facts, which linked to a page that contained the medical facts that backed up the claim on the banner. I then received the following response from the Internet Link Exchange:
I believe you have misinterpretted our actions. We are in no way trying to censor the contents of your page, and our decision not to advertise your banner was not based on our own political views. Rather, it had to do with our general policies concerning banners and our need to maintain a clear distinction between the advertisement we serve and the content of the page upon which the advertisement appears.
However, we do have to be a little stricter on the contents of the banners that people use to advertise their sites. Because your banner will potentially be shown on 50,000 web pages - all of varying characteristics - the banner which you use to advertise your site has to be essentially G rated.
For this reason we do not advertise banners with 'inflamatory' political content. For instance, we do not advertise banners which proclaim "IMPEACH CLINTON NOW." We don't do this because many of the pages upon which the banner will be shown either don't agree with the statement or don't want to appear as if they are endorsing that opinion. We must be very carefull to avoid breaking the line between advertisement and editorial comment. Your banner appears more like an editorial comment, and thus we could not advertise it.
While it may be true that your banner simply displays medical fact, the meer word 'abortion' carries a great deal of political weight - surely you will agree that it is a hot button issue. If you wish to advertise your banner on the Link Exchange it will be necessary to to reword your banner so that it is less overtly political while maintaining the advertisement/content barrier.
Please contact me if you would like to do so.
Well, I accepted this, because I thought ILE was being honest. (Duh) I figured that, well, they are a business, and if they want to keep the banners to what they consider "G Rated" then they had the perfect right to do so. Even though I disagreed with their statement that the banner was an "editorial", since it does state a medical fact, I believed ILE when they said they thought the word "abortion carries a great deal of political weight" and that it was a "hot button issue", and let the issue go.
Okay - so ILE wants all their banners to be G rated, right? Nothing inflammatory, right? Well.....ummm...no. Why not take a peek at what ILE considers "G-Rated"!!!
THESE banners are G-rated and "not inflammatory"?! Yeah RIGHT!!! After finding these banners, I decided that Internet Link Exchange was being far from honest, especially when they also censored these banners because of their "offensiveness."
Does anyone else see an inconsistency here?
While Internet Link Exchange is a business, and has the right to decide what banners it will and will not accept, I also have the right to be annoyed at their half-truths and blatant liberal bias. I would have more respect for Internet Link Exchange if they were at least honest about their reasons for censoring items.
So, Internet Link Exchange can continue on, censoring conservative ideas under the cloak of "offensiveness" while accepting banners which are far from their supposed "G-rated" standard. And I will continue to speak out against what I consider yet just another example of liberal bias and selective censorship. I also welcome ILE's comments, as I know they have seen this page.