While businesses in the gaming, cannabis, tobacco, and adult entertainment industries are legal in the areas where they operate, strict regulation of their content has made it difficult to promote their services online. Google however is now behaving more amicably towards adult-oriented businesses, adding new lines under the “adult-themed content” section of their terms of service. Where once a listing on Google could not link back to their business’s webpage if that site contained explicit or regulated content, the new line reads, “We may allow a legitimate business website that contains adult-themed content if the business provides relevant adult services.” This means that Google will allow some adult service businesses that have adult-themed content on their websites to be listed on Google Maps.
The update does not go any further than this, with the rest of the prohibited content section remaining as-is. This means that these listings still cannot show any provocative imagery, whether censored or implied. Even when these adult venues attempt promotion via chased promotional content, Google still very often filters the imagery as an automatic precaution, all of a business’s photos suffering the status of “unapproved” even if meeting all of Google’s usual criteria.
Those who work in heavily regulated industries would already be used to these hurdles in advertising. Google may be loosening its controls over their content but the grip on them is still very tight. If your business happens to now allow its website to see promotion on Google Maps, it may be worth adding in, just with the caveat that any other content added to that listing will be under as heavy scrutiny as ever.