Google Relents, Gun & Ammo Shopping Results Are Back

2012_07_06-tm-tfb

UPDATE: See bottom of post.

Many of you emailed Google, tweeted and “liked” (8,600 likes) the post I wrote about Google censoring shopping results for guns and ammo. It worked! Google appears to have relented and gun and ammo results are back in the Google Shopping index.

Screenshot taken today (7/6/12)

I am pleased that Google realized that a sport, hobby and way-of-life which tens of millions of children and adults actively participate is not “harmful” to include in the Google Shopping index. If people are searching for “5.56mm ammunition”, they want to see “5.56mm ammunition”, removing the ability to compare prices of 5.56mm ammunition is just silly.

I was beginning to wonder where it would end. Were they planning on banning knives, handcuffs, ninja stars, replica swords? What about banning shooting books in the Google Books index?

UPDATE: It was definitely working for me a few hours ago, but now when I search I am not getting the same results. A reader from Canada reported that it is working for him. If I search for “rifle scope” in Google Shopping I get no results, but if I search in the main Google engine I get some broken results.

Main search index.
Google Shopping Search

It is working for anyone else?


Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


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  • http://www.exurbanleague.com/misfires ExurbanKevin

    *like*

  • Joseph

    Hurray!!

  • Samopal

    Huh, I noticed this yesterday but thought it was because I’m visiting Canada and was hitting a yet unaffected server. Good to see they reversed the decision.

    • Samopal

      Oh well, I guess they didn’t reverse it after all… I’m still getting results but that’s apparently because they haven’t completed their wipe of firearms results yet.

      Sad. You got me excited for a minute there, Steve.

      • noob

        When I upvote this comment, it’s not because I “like” what is happening. quite the reverse.

        I upvote it because people have to know the awful truth.

  • Alex Pawelczyk

    Awesome!

  • http://gunfreezone.net Miguel

    Not working down in South Florida as of 7/6/12 @ 01:03

  • zack991

    Still not fixed at all. I tried 10 different items and all so the same thing. Your search – >>>>>>>>>- did not match any shopping results. Google has NOT changed their mind at all, unless I see a memo released from them to say otherwise.

  • Billy Oblivion

    http://support.google.com/adwordspolicy/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=176077

    Straight from the horses…uh…mouth?

    Much like Stalin, they’ve figured that they don’t have to censor the results if they can censor the inputs ahead of time.

    • Mike

      I’d say it’s “stupid” rather than “Stalin”. I saw loads upon loads of more or less dodgy shops selling knives, throwing stars, “ninja swords” and other junk like that online, if Google wants to lose those clients, someone there must have left his brain in the bathroom the night before.
      That and their “to comply with the law” BS. Seriously, what law do they have in mind? How many US states forbid the use of, let’s say, hunting knives, or flares? From their long, long list, I can say that here, on the other side of the pond, BB guns are legal to own without permit, same goes for blank ammo, flares, fixed-blade knives and throwing stars. Only brass knuckles, switchblades/balisongs and concealed knives are explicitly illegal to own.

  • erick619

    No results here…

    Corpus Christi, TX @0200

    Hopefully they change their mind.

  • D

    since flare guns are still ad-words ok, i wonder how hard it’d be to make a lethal flare gun or lethal flaregun round? Something with a similar level of lethality as say, a .45 acp?

    • noob

      lethal flaregun?

      tell you what. get a “friend” to shoot a burning piece of magnesium into your chest and then report on the stopping power.

  • DZ

    Google has a HUGE server network, just as it took the censorship a few days to affect everywere, so will the new update. Boy I am glad they went back on that.

  • Brian P.

    They might be in the process of fixing it so that it does work again. Try giving them a little time, and see what happens.

  • Mike

    Works for me fine, “rifle scope” in GShop returns results, “5.45 ammo” returns results, “saiga” returns rifles in results.

    “We’ve created this policy to comply with legal regulations.”
    What sort of “legal regulations” could they have in mind? Or are they just talking out of their asses?

  • Curzen

    doesn’t work, at most I get results for airsoft

  • Charles222

    Works for me.

  • gunslinger

    just checked. .223, rifle, rifle scope, shotgun didn’t work

    acog, knife, crossbow did work.

    waiting.

    • gunslinger

      for some reason i didn’t subscribe…

  • John Doe

    Given how I’m pretty tied down to Google’s systems, I couldn’t really hate them for removing the results, but I like them even more for returning it.

    Working here in VA at roughly 0900.

  • Steve

    What you are seeing is leaks in the system. This isn’t a rollback, but a patch up in progress. They haven’t fully censored everything yet so it’s likely they are working on a way to do so without effecting any other results. They have to fix their feed, advertising, local search and search engine so they don’t show anything gun related. You’ll notice that you can still find complex items like “Gun Belt” or strangely named “Magpul” in shopping, but you can’t find anything else. Toy and Airsoft guns do come up, but you won’t find harmless simply named accessories like “holsters” or “ammo.”

    I think this is a huge mistake and I’d love to see them roll back a poor decision. Unfortunately, all signs point to this being set in stone for now.

    If you’re not suppose to trust a man if he has to tell you he’s honest or telling the truth, why do we trust Google when their motto is “Don’t be Evil?”

    Also remember, Fascist and Dictators come into power slowly by taking a little at a time.

    • Nicks87

      Great post Steve I think you hit the nail on the head.

      I wish more people would do the reaserch and be able to figure this stuff out on their own.

  • GunRunner

    I have always said we shouldn’t imbue a company with THAT much power to where they can censor a company or a market segment they don’t like. However they are a non-government entity and, really, they can do whatever they want since they don’t charge a dime for their services. It’s us that gave them so much power by being hungry consumers.

  • IARifleman

    still censoring my searches, FAL, AR-15, 1911, M193 5.56, all had 0 actual products, or products which are the intent of the search.

  • JM

    Not working for me. Used “P226″ and “holster” and turned up no results.

  • B

    No go for any gun related searches on my end here. I would suggest forming a boycott to where it hurts – contact companies paying for ads and get them to pull revenue from Google.

    • Mike

      Helpful reminder, the policies are identical for Google Shopping and AdWords, so the companies can’t advertise their firearm-related products in paid Google Ads either.
      Google cutting the branch they’re sitting on, much?

  • HK93

    Google is hardly a politically neutral company. I think perhaps they are testing something about whether filtering firearm related searches can have an impact on reducing sales of such products. I wouldn’t put it beyond a company like Google. “Don’t be evil”. Yeah, I believe that.

    • Lex

      Oh no, how dare anyone disagree with you about something. The horror.

    • Martin M

      Don’t be Evil? Sounds like DoubleSpeak to me.

  • Guglielmo Boogliodemus

    The two words ‘rifle scope’ return “About 7,940,000 results (0.24 seconds)”.
    All sorts of stuff starting at the top with ads from MidwayUSA.com and opticsplanet.com. I can send a screen cap if you’d like.

  • Paul

    I wrote google also but did not follow this on FB. It is still not working for me maybe you are hitting server with the “old code”

    Paul

  • Timmeehh

    Shopping results work perfectly, I searched for S&W and Ruger and got expected results.

  • B

    Did a DNS flush, just to make sure it wasn’t an old connection being hit – waited for the flush to work.
    The results speak for themselves. http://imgur.com/a/wMUxw#4
    Can’t get anything when looking for firearm related items, but I can still get one of the main ingredients to make meth. Good to know Google has it’s priorities straight.

  • george

    The soloution is for all you guys to actually STOP USING GOOGLE!

    • Lex

      Anyone who wants Google to stop removing guns from their results needs to do two things:
      1) stop using Google services
      2) call or e-mail Google and express how you feel about this (without talking about fascism) and mention how your family and friends will be joining you in the boycott
      3) don’t whine about how tough it is, if you’re really willing to kill and die for your rights you can live through slight inconvenience

      Seriously people, only gamers get as bitchy and entitled about business decisions as the gun community does.

    • Mike

      Look at the AdWords policy posted by someone earlier:
      http://support.google.com/adwordspolicy/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=176077
      I think I figured out what are they on to.

      “We’ve created this policy to comply with legal regulations.”
      So they did. What regulations? Chinese? Iranian? Terroristanian? Nope, read on.
      “Google doesn’t allow the promotion of guns”
      Hello Washington DC!
      “Google doesn’t allow the promotion of gun parts or hardware, such as clips, magazines, (…) stocks, (…) grips, (…) forends, handguards”
      Hello California!
      “Google doesn’t allow the promotion of ammunition, such as (…) high capacity magazines (that can hold more than 10 rounds)”
      Hello California again, and some other states I can’t remember!

      In short: Google is not being evil, they’re just following all the retarded laws your own state cooked up while being governed by some ignorant morons who can’t understand the simple fact that it’s not the accessories that make a gun more powerful. Want to fix it, fix your state gun laws.

      • B

        I work as an IT manager now, so, what I am about to say I can say with confidence – Google could simply use IP addresses and filter out shopping results based on the law of the state that the IP originates in.
        In Kali? Fine, no high cap mags, nothing on the banned listed of guns, etc., while Oklahoma would get anything.
        It’s not a hard script to do – after all, they created one that bans all searches for firearms and related items. They chose the blanket route of ban it all, for everyone, rather than filter by specific region.
        You know who else does that? North Korea, China, and Middle Eastern countries.

      • Mike

        B, one simple question: is it possible to have an IP that could belong to another state, ie. some cross-border connection, for example an Oregon-based provider in Northern California?

      • B

        Mike,
        While the company may be located in one state, the IP address unless changed by a proxy, will always show the location of the connectee to the internet, not the home location of the company. Case in point – Cox Communications. Company HQ is in Georgia, yet my IP address is in Oklahoma, and I use Cox for my ISP.
        It is possible to spoof IP addresses with a proxy, but to do so would be pointless in the case of firearms. Just because you would be able to see around whatever shopping restrictions would be placed on your searches, doesn’t mean you’d be any more successful at importing the prohibited goods when you can see them.

  • Charles222

    Still getting generalized web results for ‘firearms for sale’. 2,740,000 of them, in fact. ;) Still think the lack or presence of firearms in Google Shopper is a non-topic. Google has done more for freedoms that are actually at risk just by opposing SOPA.

    • Nicks87

      Yeah sure non-topic.

      Just tell everyone to go back to sleep.

      Mitt Romney and Barack Obama will get married and fix the universe.

      You probably believe bearded islamofascists are hiding around every corner waiting to kill you and the only way to be safe from them is to get groped by the TSA pedophile squads.

  • http://quantum-box.com NewAgeOfPower

    Probably internal conflict inside Google. Maybe one faction/department supports gun control another doesn’t, etc.

  • Mike LaForge

    Worked for me.

    https://www.google.com/search?source=ig&hl=en&rlz=&q=5.56mm ammo for sale&oq=5.56mm&gs_l=igoogle.1.1.0l10.4855.7643.0.12248.6.4.0.2.2.0.82.291.4.4.0…0.0…1ac.CvuGMfwrITY

  • Charles

    Its interesting you post this and yet Google is still saying contrary
    http://support.google.com/adwordspolicy/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=176077&topic=1626336&path=1316546&ctx=leftnav
    They also say that scopes will be allowed so why would they block those?
    Or are they simply contradicting they’re policy? They say airsoft guns are not searchable but then they go on to say they are. Also, they must take longer in removing knives because I’ve been using it recently still for purchases.

  • Jim

    Yahoo also seems to produce limited results for “5.56 ammo”

    Bing produced the motherlode… *shudder*…. Bing.

  • thomas dubin

    Still not working for me. I am in NY, USA.

  • Matt R.

    Duck Duck Go produces an amount of results that appears to be only limited by the amount of time you have to scroll to the bottom of the page. It is the format where the bottom of the page is never reached and you keep getting more results when you hit the “bottom”….. (Similar to Facebook…)

    DUCK DUCK GO!!!!!

    –Matt

  • Mike

    Nope, Google is just following a myriad of retarded state laws. Get those changed and no company will have to follow them any more.

    • Samopal

      There’s no law saying you can’t advertise items that aren’t legal in every area of the US. Google Shopping is just an advertising tool, nothing is actually sold through it.

    • Lex

      I agree with Samopal, their justification doesn’t make any sense.

    • Mike

      Of course, Samopal. But then, explain it to retarded lawmakers who don’t know how guns work and, worse yet, don’t know how Google Shopping works. Imagine thousands of lawsuits because “Google Shopping sells illegal gun modifications in California, hurp durp”.
      Stupidity is bipartisan.

  • Timmeehh

    Still no problem for me. I did two searches, one for 9mm ammo and one for Walther PPK. Both worked OK.

  • clayton

    ammo search works, no results for firearms.

  • jpcmt

    Anyone notice it’s just google shopping searches that are not showing up? Who gives a crap? Do you all really use google shopping? Do normal google searches for all things guns and you still get your results. This is still a stupid policy but it’s hardly restrictive.

    • 032125

      Google shopping was extremely useful; it gave a snapshot of market prices and only returned results from sellers. Google AK-47 and you will have to wade through fan sites, history pages, forum hits, blogs, etc.

      It’s not easily discernible if anything is actually for sale on a given site, you don’t know what prices are without going there (blind clicking links is a great way to pick up interweb nasties) and you can’t specify price ranges for a given good. Price an AK search at >$450 and you won’t have to weed through airsoft hits, toy guns, etc.

      So yeah, fuck Google for breaking a good tool.

  • http://www.thisisjeffwong.com Jeff from CA

    They should ban searches for cars if they want people to be safe. More Google employees have been killed or injured in car accidents than have been victims of small arms fire.

    • Mike

      They will, it’s official and stated in the AdWords policies.

  • http://zbranekvalitne.cz/ Czechnology

    Might only be some cached results and the policy hasn’t changed…

  • Blackhawk2001

    Google works in Indiana, anyway. Didn’t try “Google Shopping” because I don’t use it anyway.

  • Erik

    Um… I don’t know wtf they’re doing. I just searched for AR15s and 5.56MM Ammunition and got results for both.

    • Erik

      Oh and as of last Monday I wasn’t getting results for either of them.

  • FindYourInnerWoodsman

    it seems to be working here in the lower part of missouri while doing a search for 9 millimeter ammo as well. it’s not only returned search results for 9mm ammo but also accessories as well.

  • ytsejam

    I get NO results when searching:
    shopping.google.com

    for:
    5.56 ammo
    22lr ammo
    .45 acp ammo

    however, I get SOME results when searching for:
    9mm ammo

    Plus I get alot of hits, but NO ammo when searching for:
    5.56mm ammunition

    At this moment, it would seem that google hasn’t changed their decision to censor shopping results.

  • Ken

    I switched to Bing as my main search engine for my Chrome, and I never looked back. Less junk ads, more accurate results. Try it if you don’t believe me.

  • Mike

    Once again, I would like to remind you those Google policies affect both GShopping and AdWords. That means paid ads for companies selling guns, parts and accessories are no-go as well.
    See, you don’t have to call anyone to make him withdraw his ads from Google – Google already did it for you! Isn’t their helpful intrusiveness wonderful? ;)

  • JTD

    Just searched for “Glock” and “5.56 ammo” on the shopping page. No results for either.

  • Rickyrick

    Hmmmm fishy. I tried mini 14 with zero results, I tried mini 13 and got tons of results.

    BTW, the thread on tfl got locked.

  • flyinbolts

    Kinda funny… Though I’m still moving away from my google email and using them for my main on anything.

  • http://www.shadez-of-gray.com/ Frank S.

    As I know you are aware of the “Google Guns Crackdown” I’m not sure if you have heard about the restrictions through some of the other shopping sites on the web. Amazon for example is on the crackdown for an “part” of a gun including magazines.

    The biggest is Google though and how it will affect the shopping results for guns. Once they change to Google Shopping it will be all but over, I have heard from a number of shops and it is really discouraging.

    Thanks for the updates!

  • Sarah

    Google shopping has recently been revamped. Sellers now have to pay google to be listed. The world does not revolve around guns and ammo. Do a product search for non-gun related items. You will be just as disappointed. I’ve been trying to find complaints online about the google shopping change. Half the results I get are from gun and ammo people crying about how google is still censoring them! Untrue. Not listing guns and ammo in google shopping is not censorship. Please spread this among your gun and ammo friend online. I’m sick of reading about you people whining. Google is not censoring the sale of guns and ammo. Google has drastically reduced/eliminated product listings of all items sold on the internet because sellers now must pay to be listed.

    • Phoenixbob

      Sorry to burst your bubble Sarah but some of us gun dealers were whining because some of us gun related dealers had received notification that our livelihood was not welcome and would no longer be supported. Thanks for your concern you can get back to your moveon.org meeting.

  • Jessica

    Google does enough to drive me insane sometimes. The crappiest part about it is that there’s not a competitor even close to touching them! I manage a holster company (http://www.deepconceal.com) that runs exclusively online and crap like this from Google has a direct impact on my livelihood. I hope the seeming retraction of their anti-gun initiatives stick…but I’m not holding my breath

  • Griffin

    Nope. Still censored. :(

    Want to buy a cellphone holster on Google? Too bad, you’ll get zero results. A non-fiction reference book on the history of firearms, too bad again zero.

    However if you want to buy fantasy rape, murder, or torture fiction you are in luck.

    Murder turns up 2,270,000 results. Rape and torture return thousands.

    • inspectorpacket

      Located in Metro ATL, Georgia

      http://shopping.google.com

      enter 5.56 in the search box.

      I am seeing DPMS rifles and such, including bolt carriers. Seems the approach may have been adjusted?

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