Whilst several American states have legalised the recreational use of Cannabis, online giants such as Google, Twitter, and Facebook have taken a very clear stance against advertising the drug.
All networks have commented that they’ll regularly review their advertising policies, and it’s been implied that things might change in the future. Still, experts have commented that it’s unlikely that they’ll change their position in this respect. This will unquestionably provide a challenge for would-be businesses who want to cash in on the legal changes by selling cannabis related paraphernalia. In the modern world, online advertising is a cornerstone of almost any successful business.
Of course, all three companies have their brands to consider. As some of the biggest and most successful companies in the world, their moves are highly scrutinised by the press, and critical journalists would be quick to report of any morally questionable behaviour. The impact here on advertising revenues is quite clear – Google, Twitter, and Facebook can’t afford to lose favour with their more wholesome advertisers. After all, it’s easy to see why some businesses would question their advertising techniques if their favoured social networks were involved in negative discussions in the media.
In the case of Facebook, its founding by Mark Zuckerberg is something of a legend now, and truly represents the American dream – a college dropout done good, rallying against the odds to amass a reported $19billion, all before the age of 30. It’s not difficult to see why they’re keen to stay well and truly on the right side of the fence when it comes to advertising the use of drugs. Zuckerberg may have been embroiled in the occasional lawsuit, though he’s otherwise done a pretty good job of keeping a squeakily clean image.
Of course, the stance that individual SEO practitioners take is down to personal choice. Though advertisers can’t pay for adverts, they will have the choice to optimise their sites to achieve organic search engine listings. If you were in the position where you had to decide which side of the fence you were sitting on, what would your final decision be? And would your views on online businesses like Google, Twitter, and Facebook change if they were to alter their decision?