When I started my journey, I immediately went looking on the Internet for other gay married men in my own situation. The ‘looking’ mainly consisted of me doing various Google searches. It was a slow and tedious process. A handful of nutjob religious groups and some dated news articles, none of it immediately helpful. Over time, me, like you, found a series of bloggers on this topic hidden amongst the weeds that we regularly read.
As I’ve written before, I’m most keen to help the newbie. They come to this blog from all over the world and spend upwards of 5 hours reading virtually everything. They leave, often without a word, but I feel and hope in some way that they’ve been helped on their own journey.
The problem is finding this blog via what’s called ‘natural search’. To find me you might search for say “gay married man coming out”, sounds logical, the only problem you won’t find this blog anywhere near the top of Google’s search results. It’s not their fault. Google’s engine places more value on the ‘home’ page of a website and since this page changes each day and the topics vary, it’s tough for www.myjourneyout.com to rank very high in ‘natural search’.
So I decided to fix that. I advertise this blog on Google.
Not hard and since I already know what I’m doing, I fired up a new Google Adwords account, set all the parameters, put in my credit card, created my ad, selected my search terms and hit submit (here’s the page a newcomer would get landing page). Google has about 20,000 employees, what most people don’t know is that about 19,000 have the single job of reviewing each ad that you see. That’s right, Google manually checks each ad and associated website that you get routed to. It’s a good practice, Google has a list of 59 things they don’t allow you to advertise about, all prudent stuff, porn, scams, illegal stuff, things that make sense. They also have a strict policy on how your website behaves (no illegal software, no doing weird html tricks). Most importantly your ad must be relevant to your content (you can’t advertise you’re selling blenders and instead sell shotguns).
So I posted my ad and agreed to pay them. Simple enough. Well this has gotten Google all excited. I’m not selling anything, I’m not a scam, I don’t ask for your credit card, I’m not a nut job (ok that’s debatable) and there’s no porn on this website. I am simply someone whose contribution to society is to try and make my story easier to find for those who are in similar circumstances. My ad status is simply “under review” .
Well deep in the bowels of Google, some attorney is now looking at my ad and website. Not easy, I don’t violate any of the terms of their extensive policy guide. I set up my ad for worldwide viewing and this of course might conflict with the laws of some Arab country. I’m not Arab however I’m pretty sure there’s a few gay married men in those countries as well.
Google has the right to reject any ad for any reason (it’s there in the fine print at the very end), sort of a catch all for anything they don’t like but missed in their extensive write-up. The Google attorney, no doubt, is trying to figure out how many people visit this website and gauging how much of a PR disaster this might become (imagine a bunch of homos with signs in front of their building, with light finger food served afterwards) and more importantly the legal consequences of violating potential human rights. As well, I live in Washington, DC and all kinds of human rights group within 2 metro stops who have nothing better to do than get all excited about stuff like this.
BTW – I didn’t start this up to create a fuss. I simply wanted to make my blog easier to find. Please take a moment to comment!