Saturday, July 17, 2010

ACTION ALERT: Demand honest advertising in online business listings

In our recent project to create a Google Map of all CPCs in the country (that will hopefully replace our typed-out list once we get it integrated), we've noticed a number of CPCs advertising themselves as something they're not. In more than a few situations, CPCs have created Google business listings and categorized themselves as abortion clinics. In other situations, they list "abortion services and referrals" and "contraception referrals" under their services. As we all know, crisis pregnancy centers by definition do not offer any of the above.

NARAL Pro-Choice America has noticed this tactic as well.
Focusing primarily on and, NARAL has published a letter to these high-traffic internet business directories asking them to hold CPCs accountable for false advertising:
Our Letter to and

NARAL Pro-Choice America and more than one million of its members and activists across the country call on and to remove deceptive anti-choice ads that violate your terms-of-use policy.

We understand that you are probably unaware that the advertisers post misleading listings.

To date, we have identified approximately 112 anti-choice organizations advertising under "Abortion Services" on and, even though the directories have a category called "Abortion Alternatives." We have verified that none of the 112 anti-choice organizations provides or refers for abortion services.

We are confident that you will agree that ads posted by anti-choice organizations under the category of "abortion services" violate your terms-of-use policy. These listings are clearly "purposefully deceptive," "false, misleading," and "fraudulent."

We ask that you remove the material immediately, and protect the millions of people who rely on and every month to provide accurate information.

You can add your name to the letter here.

CPC Watch does not have nearly the capacity of large-scale organizations like NARAL, but we are still doing our part to help keep high-traffic business directories free of deceptive advertising. Through our Google Maps Project, we are informing Google of misleading categorizations and false statements about provided services. But we still could use more help.

What can you do? For starters, help us alert Google that their listings are inaccurate. Here's how:
  • Go to Google and type "abortion clinic" followed by the name of your city or town (or any city/town you want).
  • Compare the agencies listed in the Google Maps area with our CPC list. Know, however, that we are in the middle of updating our records and may not have all CPCs listed. If possible, click onto the center's website. CPCs are almost uniform in the way they present themselves on the web; read about them here.
  • If you see a CPC that is listed as an abortion clinic, an abortion provider, or is categorized under abortion services, abortion referrals, etc, you can report it to Google. Click "reviews directions, and more" to get to the main listing page.
  • Click "more" and then "Report a problem."
  • Fill out the form. Select “Listing contains incorrect information or spam” and select "category." In comments, type: "This center is listed under ‘abortion services’ but it does not provide or refer for abortions." Keep it simple; there's no need to get inflammatory.
You can also help us continue to build our Google Map. With the map, people who view the Google business listings for an included CPC will see that the center is in a map called "Deceptive Health Centers." If they choose, they can click over to our website and read about CPCs, then decide for themselves if they wish to utilize their services or look elsewhere for reproductive health care and counseling. View our progress here!


Madeleine said...

I went through and did this for all of the CPCs in my area! Hard to say if it will lead to any change, but it definitely felt good.

Thanks for the tip!

Canaduck said...

I did a bunch of these but then Google wouldn't let me do anymore...or something. The "report a problem" option became grayed out.

For the record I am in Vancouver, BC, and I was SHOCKED to see so many "pregnancy crisis centres" in the area. Is there a Canadian group that deals with these creeps?

True Dentistry said...

This is what needs to happen if we want to make a difference. Thanks for pointing this out and wanting to do something about it.