Thursday, September 9, 2010

Slutsky is Google Blacklisted

All right, my panties are in a wad once again. It is not pretty. Apparently, the genius minds at Google have decided to censor the search engine to protect young innocent children from finding inappropriate topics on line. While I firmly believe this is what parents and Internet monitoring are for, I am outraged that the name Slutsky is being blacklisted from the google instant search.

Here is an exerpt from an article I cut and pasted to this blog post, since most people never click through on the links, this will best explain the changes at google and why I am on my soapbox again:

Google Instant blacklists the Slutskys
'Streaming' search doesn't give a f**k

By Cade Metz in San Francisco •

Google's "Instant" search engine includes a blacklist for words and phrases involving what the company considers "violence, hate, or pornography."

Unveiled on Wednesday in the US, Google Instant serves up search results in "real-time" as you type. If you type "w," for instance, it gives you results for "weather." If you type "new" and then a space, it gives you results for "New York Times."



But if you type "fuck" or even "fuc," it gives you nothing

However, if you type "fuck" and – in old school fashion – press the search button or hit enter, results arrive as usual.

Google revealed the blacklist on Wednesday morning at the press event introducing Google Instant, after a reporter named "Slutsky" pointed out that her name did not generate real-time results. "We care a lot about child safety and these kinds of issues, so we had to think a lot about auto-complete and how that works as you're getting the results," said Google product manager Johanna Wright.

"So we apply the same policies that we always have, whereby we filter for violence, hate, and pornography. As a result, if you're typing for something that may not be appropriate for certain people to see, you won't see results until you press enter."

Wright is alluding to the fact that Google also uses a similar black list with Google Suggest, the existing auto-complete feature that merely suggests searches as you type. The search giant doesn't want to suggest terms that young 'uns aren't actually typing.

The reporter also pointed out in blacklisting "Slutsky," Google isn't displaying real-time results for her great uncle, Russian mathematical economist Eugen Slutsky, known for his eponymous economic model the Slutsky Equation. And though Google wouldn't discuss this particular case during the Wednesday morning event, it would seem that the Slutskys are the victims of unnecessary collateral damage. Yes, they share four letters with a certain derogatory term, but once users type that "k," shouldn't Google auto-complete to something else?

The bug is not universal. When you type "fucc," you get results for "Fuccillo," a car dealership.

Let my rant begin! After digesting the article, I am left to sit here scratching my head in disbelief.

With a last name like Slutsky there is enough to be concerned about. I have children and at some point they will learn that their name contains the first four letters of a word that is less than admirable. Fine. That is my job as a parent. Much like supervising their Internet use it is my responsibility to keep my own children safe and protected. I accept that. But is it Google's job to do that for us? Hell no.

Do I get a little chuckle every single time I pick up my prescriptions, and the giant label stapled to the outside of the medicine says SLUT in bold letters?Oh sure, why yes, I most certainly do. I guess that the Giant Eagle Pharmacy does not find the word, or the first four letters of Slutsky to be offensive or pornographic. Thanks again Giant Eagle.

Do the TSA checkpoint staff crack up laughing when I fly on Delta? Yes, they do, because they see my drivers license and e-ticket which reads corresponds to the passenger name; Helene Louise Eichenwald Slut. My frequent flier information was changed when I got married and the team in Customer Service at Delta airlines just added Slutsky to my existing account name. They never once thought of how hilarious it would be when my name then contained too many letters and spaces for the line on my tickets. If it isn't broken, don't fix it, so I left it that way, on Delta I have been known as Helene Louise Eichenwald Slut for almost 8 years. To me it is just the every day business of taking my husband's last name.

However, my husband, JEFF SLUTSKY makes his living giving keynote speeches and consulting in the marketing industry. His livelihood is based on name recognition. I am sure there are clients out there who remember seeing Jeff in a seminar and are looking to buy his books, contact him about a project or hire him for an upcoming event. Most civilized computer literate people rely on google to help them locate someone. So if they know Jeff Slutsky but aren't really 100% sure how to spell it, they may just rely on google to auto generate the results. Now, when they enter Jeff S-L-U-T, they get nothing. They must be able to accurately spell the entire name in order to get the appropriate search results. Should they try Jeff Slutzky they won't be auto corrected toward Jeff Slutsky. Slutsky is S.O.L.

This blacklist of the term SLUT applies to plenty of other folks too. For example, Eugene Slutsky the mathematician and Irina Slutsky the ad age reporter in San Francisco are directly impacted in the same manner. Is this fair to all of us? No.

Why am I so riled up? I am ticked off because this new form of censorship directly impacts my husband's business. There is clearly some collateral damage here and it is frustrating to think we are being blacklisted and punished because it just so happens that the first four letters of our name is Slut.

I guess I should also be upset that this blog site is not auto generated anymore either. After all, the whole resolution with Office Depot came from this blog. We all know that when Office Depot took care of business, they did so as a result of www.heleneslutsky.blogspot.com.

I can say bye-bye to my readers who know my name but can't spell it beyond SLUT to find it.

Jeff discusses website and keyword optimization in his book Street Fighter Marketing Solutions from Simon & Schuster. He now has a new bone to pick with google over how they are directly impacting his business. Can you say collateral damage claim?

The whole notion that kids are playing around on google looking for things that are taboo is ridiculous. Of course they are, and now they will just have to be more sneaky and creative. I highly doubt there won't be 10 year olds, too busy to quit looking for inappropriate websites by using the first few letters of obscene words. Awwww shucks, that is what urban dictionary is for, right? Instead of blacklisting words and names, google should be helping parents teach their kids to act wisely on line.

The google blacklist and self generating disablement is like those little neon plastic children warning pylons with the caution flag. Instead of warning other drivers about the safety and potential dangers of children playing outside, why not as parents, teach your own kids not to run in the street when cars are coming? A lesson in look both ways before crossing the road is much more civilized than those pesky pylons. Instead of training the drivers to be more cautious, just do your job as a parent and educate the kids not to run out into the street. In fact, much like the bored 10 year olds, when I see those slow down children playing warnings, I rebelliously want to drive like a lunatic. I often feel the need to speed up.

This blatant google blacklist of pornographic words just makes the auto correct feature more of a challenge. I am sure the kids google is trying to protect are going to get more snarky in their searches. It sort of reminds me of the childish things my friends and I did back in the day. We would type 55378008 on the calculator and then, when turning the screen upside down we revealed the word, BOOBLESS...gasp! The outrage!



So in addition to being a blogger, a parent and a wife, I am now an advocate for freedom of speech and spelling. Dammit google, what's next? I smell a few scathing blog posts, some facebook links, some tweets and a viral shit storm coming your way. Remmeber, hell hath no fury like a triplet mom named Slutsky!

5 comments:

Emilee said...

doing some more research, i find it odd that they censored the word "slut" but not the word "sh*t". If you enter that word, google still gives you lots of options. So, google, slut is a worse word? How do you figure? I dont get it. And by searching the keyword sh*t, you CAN find porn. Without even really looking. I do not understand google at all.

Stephanie said...

Oi vey! What next?!?! Google sure did piss of the wrong person! Here comes the triplet momma shit storm! I hope Google has a big umbrella and galoshes!

Anonymous said...

71077345 on the calculator used to be the answer to the gas shortage a few years ago. Upsidedown it was shell oil.

Time to crank up the letters and notes to Google about this one.

Papa

Kari S. said...

My holy hell this is pure ridiculousness...blacklisting to protect kids on line? How about parents who police their own kids or better yet, teaching kids how to behave while using a computer.

Good lord where does this kind of stuff end? Crazy.

I am sorry for your husband though, I have a last name that is easily misspelled and if google blacklisted me, I doubt my clients would be able to correctly spell my name enough to find my contact information on line.

Good luck, maybe the reporter and SF and your husband should file claims together?

Sabrina said...

Seriously, Google!? What gives!? My children are 6,4, and 2, and I let my 6 year old on the internet to get to his teacher's site and play educational games after dinner. I am always right there in the room, and either my husband, or I supervise him. He did have to do a search one day and we said to him "Where do you go to search things online" and he said "Google"...he's been conditioned. I find it VERY INTERESTING that "CON" comes up with CONDOM(S) but SLUT comes up with nothing...also "SHIT" comes up with SHITMYKIDSRUINED.COM. What gives!? have we completely forgotten about freedom of speech!? This is censorship at its worst! Give me a break Google...next thing I know my husband's name (Peschke) will not show up because it might be offensive...Ugh! I hate this crap! I'm going to send this post to my husband, he's always interested in internet censorship and things like that...just when things are over with OD, you get hit with another blow for Jeff...what GIVES!?

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