Persuade Google not to be Evil – Complain About The Advertisements They Publish on Behalf of Narconon

narconon logo largeI’ve written about Narconon here before (especially their UK operation). It’s a front group for the Church of Scientology which provides expensive ‘drug rehabilitation’ services internationally. Upon closer examination, this turns out to consist of a sauna programme which includes overdoses of vitamins and minerals (the ‘purification rundown’) and basic Scientology ‘training’ (beginning with the Training Routines).

This programme is ineffective, and positively dangerous, especially for people with drug &/or alcohol problems. For example, the purification rundown requires people to take niacin in overdose quantities – this can seriously harm a healthy liver. What could it to the liver of someone who has been abusing alcohol?

Narconon does not have any active drug rehabilitation facilities in the UK –  however, they still present a threat, by running ‘educational’ programmes  in schools which promote Scientology ideas and, at one time, a desperate and irresponsible website promoting a ‘home detox’ scheme which is examined here and here.

Thankfully,this site was eventually taken down by the Advertising Standards Authority (the organisation which features in my last post) after a detailed complaint. For those who are interested, I h ave preserved the insanity of ‘getoffdrugsathome.co.uk’ using The Wayback Machine.

This post contains a suggestion for those whose countries do have Narconon ‘rehab’ facilities – complain to Google and work to deprive Narconon of a powerful promotional tool.

Narconon uses Google AdWords to promote itself – a service which displays your advertisement alongside Google search results when it contains your specified keywords. Enter ‘drug rehabilitation service’ and Narconon might turn up there. If you spot a Narconon ad, you may be able to complain about it.

On what grounds would you complain? Google’s rules provide a selection and two in particular look promising.

Grounds for Complaint Part One

z2Narconon facilities claim at least 70% and up to 95% success rates. The best drug genuine rehabilitation facilities don’t come anywhere near this (because it isn’t practically possible) and Narconon has no evidence to support their figures.

Consequently, if Narconon make this claim in an advertisement, it is violation of Google’s terms and conditions. Google removes offending advertisements and warns the offender. If they repeat the offence they could be banned.

Grounds for Complaint Part Two

z1Many Narconon facilities now present themselves as independent entities when they are, in fact part of Narconon International.

Narconon is currently engaged in a Federal lawsuit with the National Association of Forensic Counselors (NAFC) who certify drug rehabilitation workers. The NAFC is suing Narconon facilities on the grounds that they have:

  • Used their logo to imply NAFC approval
  • Claimed to be certified by them

When this is not, in fact the case.

Advertisement from any of the Narconon facilities named here may fall foul of this rule.

How to Complain

What you need to do is go to Google and search for ‘drug rehabilitation services’ or something similar until a Narconon ad that breaks these rules alongside your search results. If you visit a lot of sites concerned with Scientology (even critical ones) Google is more likely to serve a Narconon ad when you enter these (and similar) keywords onto a search.

Take notes of the search terms used and the date/time of the search (a screen-grab of the offending page might also come in handy later) then  make a complaint via Google’s online feedback form starting with the question at the bottom of the page.

z3You probably need to select the middle radio button ‘An ad violates other AdWords policies, and go on from there. If you place a complaint, please let me know about the result, in the comments below or through the feedback page.

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