Earlier this month, the site CougarLife.com, which connects older women with younger men, got a bit of a nasty shock from Google. The search engine giant, which was receiving $100,000 a month from CougarLife to manage its advertising and place it on content pages, told CougarLife that its ads, which had been appearing since October, would no longer be accepted. The reason? Cougar sites are not “family safe.”
CougarLife suggested placing a different ad: instead of one picturing older women and younger men together, they proposed an image of the company’s president, Claudia Opdenkelder, 39, without a man in the picture.
Their Google representative was not cooperative. “The policy is focused particularly around the concept of ‘cougar dating’ as a whole,” the e-mail from Google said. The rep asked if the company was open to changing “the ‘cougar’ theme/language specifically (including the domain if necessary).”
For all of Google’s concerns about being “family safe,” we’re surprised to find similar advertising for sites that match older men with younger women and sugar daddies with sugar babies, like DateAMillionaire.com, still get placement where CougarLife does not.
“It’s age and gender discrimination,” said CougarLife president, Claudia Opdenkelder. “It’s just about older, successful, independent, strong women who enjoy someone that’s younger. Some of the men sites, they are borderline prostitution, and Google has no problem having them advertise.”
CougarLife is currently considering filing a discrimination complaint in Canada, where the company is based, and also looking into possible legal options here in the United States.