Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Great news from Turn off the Blue Light, the anti-criminalization campaign in Ireland launched by sex workers and supporters. Google has changed its mind on prohibiting the group from buying an AdWord, one of those little paid links you see at the top of some Google searches.
I mean, it's a pretty small victory in the grand scheme of things, but what the heck. Take the wins wherever they come, especially when the issue is sex work. You just don't see many wins if that's your cause.
The power of social media and electronic distribution lists were certainly obvious to me after I wrote a column on this subject (it'll be the June 24 blog post below this one) and then used Facebook and two sex-work-friendly researcher-based distribution lists to get the word out as far as possible. I've now got new "friends" in Bangladesh and Thailand as a result.
Of course, none of this is to suggest that my Victoria column was the reason Google changed its mind, prompt and thorough use of Facebook and distribution lists notwithstanding. But maybe it helped a little.
The Blue Light organizers were prepared to protest outside Google's European headquarters in Dublin when they got word from Google that it had taken another look at the group's Web site and approved them to advertise.
Google had deemed that the group was selling sexual services,which it doesn't allow. But when the company took a closer look, it must have seen what Blue Light had been telling them all along: The Web site, and the Blue Light campaign, is strictly about human rights, not selling sex. 

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