Google AdSense is serving up ads from the Church of Scientology, the cult/religion founded by science-fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard — and Seth Weintraub, for one, can’t seem to ban them from his site. Weintraub’s Macintosh rumors page, 9to5Mac, might seem an odd place for Scientology to advertise, but the Church is in the midst of a multimillion-dollar ad blitz to promote the organization.
Weintraub noted that he didn’t have a problem with any advertiser in particular, until his readers started complaining about the adverts, especially since he hadn’t noticed any rise in ad revenue. However, when he attempted to rid his site of the ads with competitive URL filtering — one of the tools Google gives its AdSense users, they had no effect. Weintraub writes in Computerworld, “I’ve…put every Scientology URL in the filter. To no avail. The Scientology ads keep coming.” It seems this isn’t a new problem, either; other users have been having similar problems dating back to February.
Even Wired Online, which wrote an article about the backlash against the campaign, couldn’t escape the ads. Condé Nast Executive Director Josh Stinchcomb told Wired’s Epicenter blog that the Scientology ads showing up on Wired.com were delivered through Google’s AdSense service. Google didn’t respond to requests for comment.