Blog Post

Scientology Ads Take Over the Web

scientologyadGoogle (s goog) 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 (s aapl) 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 were delivered through Google’s AdSense service. Google didn’t respond to requests for comment.

81 Responses to “Scientology Ads Take Over the Web”

    • Another Clue

      I can see your profile now…

      Occupation: flamboozaling people for their money

      Good luck with that. Hope you rethink your whole career plan seriously!!

  1. Lets “CLEAR” this planet of this B.S.. It has F__k up my life from 1975 to still going but, is much less. These people came very close to having me killing myself ! By trying to “CLEAR” me and everyone I know of EVERYTHING ANYONE HAD. F. Y.I. Froges

  2. I’m not a Scientologist, but I’m going to say a bunch of nice things about Scientology. I mean, normally someone who says something nice about Scientology would probably be a Scientologist, but since I’m not one that makes my positive statements all that much more credible, doesn’t it?

    I’m also going to say nice things about organizations that hide their connections to Scientology, like Narconon, but I won’t actually claim there’s any connection. I’ll just mention it got my son off drugs and saved his life.

    I’m certainly NOT going to refute any specific anti-Scientology points made up above, nor will I even acknowledge they exist. That might give them some validity and I certainly wouldn’t want that even if I were a Scientologist, which I would like to remind you that I am not. Besides, they’re all clearly made by religious bigots who are jealous that Scientology helps people’s lives and they just want to bring a good thing down.

    Now I’m going to ask if other religions aren’t any weirder than Scientology. They all involve faith, right? I’m going to mention that far greater evils have been comitted by other religions in the past so why bother going after Scientology? You should go after those other ones instead. Not that I’m trying to distract you from criticizing Scientology. Why would I do such a thing?

    I have to ask you, have you ever read any L. Ron Hubbard books? Like maybe Dianetics? If you did, you would probably understand more about how valid my… er.. their beliefs are. You should go and buy one. In fact, buy several! If you buy four copies, your understanding will be four times greater, right?

    Also blah blah blah anonymous is paid for by the psychs blah blah conspiracy.


  3. Howard Duck

    Scientologists are all hiding these days and pretending they are not who they are. They’re spamming craigslist with ads without saying who they are. Cruise and Travolta won’t talk about it any more. When’s the last time a celebrity came out proud in public about being a scientologist? Deep down they know they are a joke. What a sad life, hiding away, always worried about finding entheta. Well, they are making David Miscavige rich and powerful, so they must be happy about that!

  4. “I’m not a Scientologist, but have looked in to its beliefs.”

    Rubbish. Better watch out there, $cilon… Hiding is – 8.0 on your bogus ‘tone scale’. In other words, you’ve got a whole lot more problems than any of us have.

    We’re enthusiastic, cheerful and active… sounds like we’re further along the Way to Happiness than any $cientologist has been in a long, long time.

  5. bob dobbs

    “I’m not a Scientologist, but have looked in to its beliefs.”

    Haha, yeah sure. Why do Scientologists feel they need to lie about that? It’s so they seem like an everyman. Problem is
    the average person thinks that’s Scientology is a creepy
    cult. The Office of Special Affairs, Scientology’s CIA
    so to speak, is now flooding this comments sections with, “Gee, I think these ads are great”. None of these people admit that they are Scientologists whose job it to around
    posting comments like this. Scientology is also not expanding, it can buy all the empty buildings it wants but they will just be empty buildings.

  6. restless105

    Adam – I believe you are wasting your breath. There are those who will complain and find fault with anything.

    Thank you for playing these ads! I truly enjoy them!

  7. Miffed

    OMG! So Nate – with your rational, if Coke takes over Superbowl Sunday advertisements, and maybe pushes Pepsi, along with a few other soft drink companies, aside, we’ll be certain to see you there with your spears chanting on your bongos: “The Coke company is a Cult, Coke is a Cult. I’m trying to save you all!”.

    Don’t you have anything better to do than to fight other’s fights!!??!!

    I think the ads are sweet!!! Keep ‘em coming!!!


    • Sorry but that is completely wrong; this would be more like the guy who OWNS the airtime NOT wanting to display the Coke company ads at ALL, willing to not take the revenue the ads would generate, but still is forced to display irrelevant, coca cola ads which he even worse, doesn’t agree with philosophically, let’s say the coke company really WAS a cult, and he doesn’t like cults.

      If you read the article itself it says that he attempted to filter the ads out of the rotation but for *SOME* reason something strangely prevents the ads from completely being filtered out… Obv. has NOTHING to do with scientology… oh noooooo.

      Scientology isn’t a cult because they are displaying ads on the internet, they are a cult because.. well.. they’re a cult.

    • Katie G.

      Uh, I think you completely missed the point, miff.

      The point is, if the Superbowl people don’t want to advertise a particular product or service, they have the right not to.
      If gigaom doesn’t want your stupid cult’s ads on their site, they shouldn’t have to go through such an ordeal to remove them.
      What is so hard to understand about that?

  8. Jessica

    Wow Nate – or is it Xenu or Lord Xenu! – can’t keep you kids straight …I haven’t seen someone get that worked up in a while. Whew! …grab a cold glass of water the next time you feel yourself getting red in the faced, cuz your stuttering and repeated statements are kinda funny.

    Have your rights as a website owner or advertiser somehow been violated? …seriously? Since this seems to be your point.

    On wait… Sorry. …is your point that you’re being scammed in some mysterious way? Enlighten us all …are you looking out for everyone else’s best interests – LOL. You might consider giving people a wee bit more credit where it’s due.

    You said it though. it been officially confirmed – certainly hit the nail right straight on the head sweetie. …been seeing more and more random articles lately where people like you are being paid to attack betterment organizations. …certainly explains your passionate outcry – money, money, money $$$$$ – attack, attack, attack. Kinda like the pot calling the kettle black – don’t’ ‘cha think? If someone were to exposed something illegitimate, you might want to stand up tall for your official poster child photo. – ~click~ – sign each of your nom de plumes on the dotted line…………….

    Ohh, BTW … 90% of the rescue workers of 911 have gone through the same detox program as Nate’s kid – they suffered blindness, paralysis, short term memory loss, cancer, and a bunch of other awful physical problems. Since doing this detox program, EACH and EVERY one are now living healthier lives. (must be infomercial-style testimonials though or a way to keep stats up) – I guess the award that the City of New York presented was another infomercial testimonial too.

    LOL – just keep on posting babie. … you’re a pro…

    lv J

    • Peter

      Interesting Nate!

      I’ve noticed too your name and style of “Alarmist” type writings on other sites under different pen names. Makes me think how few of you are actually dishing out this hate non-sense. You’re not just speaking out, which I can understand, you happen to be all over the boards – like seen in those who have hidden agendas.

    • bob dobbs

      “I guess the award that the City of New York presented was another infomercial testimonial too.”

      Yeah, that’s exactly what it is.
      New York City never presented an award to that Narconon
      knockoff, that’s just some lie Scientology made up. But you
      should know this since you’re a Scientologist, right?
      Scientology lied and claimed that it recieved an award
      from New York City firefighters but that’s been debunked.

    • bob dobbs

      Scientology was never awarded anything by New York City
      or the Firefighter’s Union, they did lie about getting such
      an award though.

    • bob dobbs

      Scientology Cult Fraudulently Claims “Medal of Valor” from New York Fire Department
      Three years later in 2004, on the occasion of the Scientology cult opening a new headquarters in New York City, a Scientologist named Stephan Hittman made the following “proclamation”:In recognition of the humanitarian efforts of the Volunteer Ministers of the Church of Scientology, and the help they provided to members of the Fire Department of the City of New York, in keeping with the principles developed by L. Ron Hubbard; and
      “WHEREAS: FDNY and the 911 PROGRAM recognize this unwavering commitment to firefighters, to paramedics, to other rescue workers, in keeping with our proudest traditions; and be it known,
      “THEREFORE: That FDNY and the 911 PROGRAM officially recognize this dedicated service to the citizens of the City of New York, and hereby bestow upon L. Ron Hubbard and the Volunteer Ministers of the Church of Scientology, the FDNY and the 911 PROGRAM’s Medal of Valor and 9–11 Service Award — on the occasion of the Grand Opening of the New York Church of Scientology.”
      Here is an account from New York’s Uniformed Fire Officers Association (UFOA):

      + + +
      “After the events of 09/11/01, this former civilian employee of the Fire Department has masqueraded in the uniform of the FDNY. He was so bold as to wear the insignia of the Chief of Department and numerous decorations for valor. Conduct of this nature is absolutely offensive to the members of the FDNY and cannot be tolerated. During several speaking engagements in which he participated, he characterized his career in the FDNY as being a leader who helped rebuild the FDNY after 09/11/01. The facts could not be further from the truth. When we learned of his activities, the UFOA was able to provide information to a company that was in the process of hiring him for a management position and others contracting with him for future lectures. Needless to say, job offers and his ability to lecture have stopped. This past week there have been several newspaper articles that criticized his fund raising and the use of the FDNY uniform. The Department has also notified DOI and provided documentation regarding Mr. Hittman’s activities.”

  9. This has nothing to do with the legality or intelligence of advertising. It doesn’t have anything to do with the cult’s message or “beliefs.”

    This has to do with a website’s RIGHT to refuse advertisers being violated by a potentially highly controversial agreement between the cult and google.

    But hey, you are just trying to get your silly little “stats” up, and most of us already know that staying on topic and telling the truth aren’t exactly mandatory for members of your cult to raise their “stats.”

  10. Adam Rosenthal

    Advertising is legal. Advertising a lot is also legal. It’s also smart if done well.

    Spending a portion of income on advertising is intelligent, providing the ads reach the target market. Scientology ads DO reach their target market, which is why the church continues to expand. The target market is: able people who want help. The ads ARE awesome, and they DO reach their target market.

    People who hate ads which offer genuine help are clearly not the target market. So while negative people spread their negativity and rumors, the church just keeps putting out its good, true messages. The target market comes in, buys services, donates to campaigns, and the church has the wherewithal to purchase ads.

    It’s a beautiful cycle of help.

  11. I’m not a Scientologist, but have looked in to its beliefs. I certainly have seen a bit of unjustified slanderous crap coming from a select few of Xenu and Anonymous crazed followers – seems to be the same bunch too.

    Xenu (or whatever your handle is today) – Via uTube, MySpace, etc. I’ve been approached by a few goons like you (cycling through names and false aliases), who hide behind masks and false names, attempting to recruit people into your little cult for a sum of money. Over drinks, several friends have mentioned experiencing the same unwelcomed offers too.

    I’m curious; how much are you paid, and by who, to surf from sight to sight to sight to sight to sight (cowarding behind your protective and safe keyboard) to go after Scientology?

    Hubbard’s drug rehab (Narconnon) ways saved my son’s life! He would be dead otherwise! I will forever be grateful to those underpaid folks who cared enough to help!

    Until you and your little band of idiotic followers decide to really do something to help, other than make trouble, SHUT the heck up. Leave this arena to the professionals who know how to really make a difference.

    • No Vic, YOU “shut the heck up!”
      You don’t even know what you are talking about.
      This has nothing to do with this criminal cult’s “beliefs” or their scamming front groups.
      This has to do with a website’s RIGHT to refuse advertisers being violated by a potentailly highly controversial agreement between the cult and google.
      Take your ridiculous conspiracy theories about people being paid to criticize a HIGHLY CONTROVERSIAL

      • did not get to finish…

        The cult is highly controversial, so it is ridiculous of you to assume that people are being paid to speak out against it’s abuses.
        So you can take YOUR “unjustified slanderous crap” (as you put it) and your informercial-style testimonials elsewhere.

        As for making a difference – people speaking out about abuses help prevent further abuses in the future.
        If you want to continue to stick your head in the sand and pretend it isn’t true despite all of the EVIDENCE available to anyone who botheres to look, then YOU are the one hindering the people who are REALLY making a difference.

        By the way, have a happy downstat staturday.

    • bob dobbs

      whoops. wrong reply button, i can fix my typos though, lol

      Vic, I’ve seen you copypaste this same comment, with just
      a few changes to the names of people referred to, on two
      other sites. Are you sure you’re not a Scientologist?

    • $cientology only became a ‘religion’ when Hubbard was forced to stop presenting it as a ‘science of mental health’ because he didn’t have a license to practice medicine. If you check the facts – not the ‘Church’ propaganda but the real story, you’ll find that Hubbard’s claims to be a war hero were bogus. He was a fraudster, he abandoned his wife, he hung out with satanists, married bigamously, stole money, encouraged his followers to attack his critics, was declared persona non grata in England, was found guilty in absentia in Paris, and ended his days as a fugitive in the USA.

      How much proof do you need? He presided over the largest infiltration of the US government in history, as is well documented by the FBI and others. The man was insane, and I’m pleased he’s dead, and not coming back. Now, if we can just dismantle his crime syndicate and free the slaves in the RPF, we can get back to normalcy. Many thousands of $cientologists are now ex-$cientologists: healthier, happier and back in contact with their families.

      You can get out too. And if you hurry, you can sue the ‘Church’ while they still have some money left. They always settle out of court… ever wonder why that is? Because they’re in the wrong.

    • Anoramix

      BWAHAHAHAHAHA Narconcon may have saved your son’s life, but did it save your money? Did it save your son’s?
      With the price of auditing i prefer to buy some nice pot, and if i ever had to go to a rehab center once, i’ll choose one who doesn’t try to impose you any kind of doctrine. And one who hasn’t been banned from several countries already. kthxbye

    • I saw this at another site as well. Copypasta, exact same comment.

      OSA much? Looks like you’re running out of “make-anon-disappear”-tech. ;p

  12. Finnigan

    The more they spam, the more people will hate and ignore them.

    Honk if you hate Scientology. Search youtube for it to find out what the public thought of them BEFORE anonymous. That was during one of the first raids ever. If the public didn’t like them before, after almost 2 years of relentless media coverage about their every wrongdoing that is currently known can’t have helped.

    Slick TV ads and internet spam won’t save them. Nothing can now.

    • bob dobbs

      Vic, I’ve seen you copypaste this same comment, with just
      a few changes to the names of people referred to, on two
      sites. Are you sure you’re not a Scientologist?

  13. Lord Xenu

    Oh yeah, pumping millions into advertising is going to repair Scientology’s image, an image that the Mafia wouldn’t envy. What part of “dismantled” are you not getting Scientology? There are no more secrets. There is no more mystery. The world now recognizes you for what you are: A duplicitous crime syndicate.

    You had a good 60 years of brutalizing, fair-gaming, conning, scamming etc etc. But sadly for you, it’s over.

    • Finnigan

      At least the Mafia has a romantic image, at least in some movies. There is nothing romantic about paying for salvation. Google for John Carmichael on youtube. You’ll see just how nasty these people are. No one is going to ever find that romantic.

  14. C’mon Golson. You and Weintraub are really being naive. Check ye’ ole’ Wikipedia page on Scientology. The “thetans” can travel from planet to planet in re-incarnated souls. You really think they can’t get through a Google competitive filter ad block? Please.

    Besides, as has been pointed out, just who’s side does anyone think Google is on? Have you seen the Google Chrome logo? Some say it looks kind of like the late 1970s electronic Simon game. But doesn’t it REALLY look more like a flying saucer. Just sit back and enjoy the revenue.


    Disclaimer: Sadly and Pathetically, in today’s world there’s an off chance that someone reading this might think I’m actually serious here. I’d generally give OM readers more credit, but one never knows. So for the record, I’m not serious. Please don’t try to kidnap/reprogram me. (At least not today, I’ve got stuff to do later.)

    • It drew YOU and several other $cientologists to it, so yeah.
      Who cares if YOU like them! Some people DON’T and they have the RIGHT to turn them away if they don’t want them on their site.
      It seems that RIGHT is being violated and people want to know why.

  15. bob dobbs

    Nothing’s hidden or shady, ROFL? My how quickly Terryeo forgets.
    When 9/11 happened and there was continuos coverage of it on CNN, Scientology was running banner ads
    on the bottom of the screen for one of their front groups.
    It had a name that was almost the same as NIMH’s or the
    National Institute of Mental Health, a legitimate organization. It was Scientology’s intention to get people
    who wanted to talk to a mental health professional to call Scientology instead. When CNN found out who was actually running those ads they pulled them.

  16. That’s because Google is in bed with the Church of Scientology.

    Similar problems on YouTube (owned by Google), ie Scientology allowed free reign. For example, there’s a video of high profile Scientologist Ron Savelo ASSAULTING a member of the protest group ‘Anonymous’. This video comes from his camera, and Ron Savelo has NO LEGAL BASIS on which to have it removed. Yet, he continues to misuse YouTube’s easily expolitable system for flagging videos (for DMCA or TOS violations) to have this footage, this EVIDENCE OF HIM ASSAULTING A PROTESTER, removed from YouTube. Google know this is going on and will not do a damn thing about it because Scientology is paying them a lot of money.

  17. bob dobbs

    “Freedom of speech is good, so long as it isn’t Scientology’s. Is that what I’m hearing here?”

    No, that’s just something you’ve made up, knowing full well
    that Scientology is a fascist organization that hates free
    speech. People have read what L Ron said about free speech, that’s why they’re scared. You Scientologists are the ones
    who attempted to frame journalists Paullete Cooper for bomb threats for writing a book a book about you. Here’s what
    L Ron had to say about the press and their free speech.

    “We are not interested in sensationalism personalities, or the complexity of Scientology methodology being discussed by the general public. At a subdivision of this, we do not want Scientology to be reported in the press, anywhere else than on the religious page of newspapers. It is destructive of word of mouth to permit the public presses to express their biased and badly reported sensationalism. Therefore we should be very alert to sue for slander at the slightest chance so as to discourage the public presses from mentioning Scientology.” L. Ron Hubbard

  18. no matter what they do, scidiots are soon gonna disappear due to the word wide web – even if they use it for promotion, it will have a backlash. always and forever. and that’s good.

  19. I make a point of following every link. They get charged for it and it screws up their stats. Many others are doing the same and it has to start costing. Xenu must have messed up my tech

  20. James Lightfield

    As is typical of the shills for the psych/drug industries — many who who write under the “Anonymous” banner — they try and create some mystery using “front groups” when it is well known that L Ron Hubbard developed workable solutions and these are licensed to both the Churches of Scientology and to the non-religious social groups. Nothing hidden.

    Of course, the psych/drug industry shills are expected to do this — afterall they are of one-lifers: those brainwashed into thinking they die when the body dies.

    • anonymous

      notice how this scientology commentor mentions nothing about the article and instead lies about science. L Ron never got an accreditted degree from any accreditted college. Next, I will be calleda bigot, racist, and intolerant of religion by the scientologists because I dared to question them,

      • John Davis

        ANONYMOUS – How BOLD you are!

        You have the courage to question scientologists, but a) do not have the courage to give yourself a name and b) have no clue how to spell “accredited.”

        Give your name and I might take what you say a little more seriously.

        John Davis

    • Newsflash James: Your cult isn’t the only group that believes in reincarnation. Get over yourself.
      It is also really silly of you to assume that anybody speaking out against a highly controversial cult with a documented history of criminal activity are in cahoots with “big pharma.”

  21. Does David Miscavige think he can repair his own reputation, so thoroughly trashed in the courtrooms, the media, the streets and in his own orgs, by spending the entire IAS slush fund on flash ads for the cult he drove into the ground?

    One big ad campaign is not going to save 23 years of incompetent management.

  22. Andrew

    Freedom of speech is good, so long as it isn’t Scientology’s. Is that what I’m hearing here?
    Isn’t strange that those who love the freedoms of the internet cannot see past their own (ill founded) prejudices.
    If you are took time to read the Scientology philosophy I think you might find a real effort to combine the wisdom of the ages into an applicable philosophical/religious movement. One that acknowledges the goodness of mankind and doesn’t try to say that some god is going to take care of it all. Scientology offers an insight into one’s spiritual self one rarely glimpses at in this over-mechanised materialistic world. That’s refreshing and for one, I think it is needed.

    • Freedom of speech, as in, the First Amendment, only applies to the government abridging your rights to express your opinion. Weintraub has the right to refuse any advertisement he wishes, as does any other site or publication.

    • Finnigan

      Overly mechanized world? LOL. You ain’t seen nothing yet squire.

      And what about the e-meter? Is that not a machine? Maybe you should read up on Scientology yourself before your comment about it. Try a few independent sources like WIKIPEDIA as well.

    • Another Clue

      “Scientology offers an insight into one’s spiritual self one rarely glimpses at in this over-mechanised materialistic world”

      And you can have all that for…wait, there’s more!!

      For the low low price of $999999999999999999999999 we will also throw in two ginsu knifes ABSOLUTELY FREE!!

      I think I’ve seen you Andrew, weren’t you in charge of the basketball throw at the county fair or was that the ring toss?

      • Yet Another Clue

        You know Andrew, you might make more money working for Obama selling that Healthcare plan…you’re pretty good at pulling the sheet over people’s eyes. There just might be a place for you in gov’t.

  23. As much as people are getting frustrated about this topic which is starting to appear in a large number of articles now… I am a very positive person and you must look for the positive in every situation.

    For people like me who focus on making money from their websites, than this is an area that we can get some money out of Scientology group… haha! (Jokes).

    Happy making money online!

  24. bob dobbs

    And if it’s not Scientology itself, it’s a Scientology front group like Narconon. Those Narconon ads are everywhere, usually deceptively hiding behind another name.

    What’s really annoying is how Google News indexes all the
    Scientology public relations releases, as if they were actually news. Scientology starts churning those out whenever some negative story appears, to bury it.

    Anyways, the Scientology Office of Special Affairs internet
    patrollers will show up soon to comment here and explain this.