Nova Scotia’s government has suspended its $60,000 web advertising contract with Google, after ads promoting the province were found on a website deemed offensive.
The website, www.discovervancouver.com, hardly seems offensive at first glance. The site has sections for concerts, festival, news, classified ads and guide for things to do in Vancouver. On Tuesday, the Nova Scotia tourism ads included the website’s banner and border ads.
However, the complaints were about the site’s open discussion forums, where any user can post comments. On Wednesday, some of the topics included; “WWE Wrestling, real or fake” and “The ideal female body measurements.”
However, a fair number of the comments were racist, sexist and homophobic. There was a code of conduct on the website saying users could not post sexist or racist comments or sexually explicit material, but the forum appears to have been unmonitored.
The Nova Scotia government pulled the ads Tuesday when the website’s content was brought to their attention.
Tina Thibeau, spokesperson for Nova Scotia’s tourism department, said the government was unaware that the ads were on a questionable website.
“We are taking every due diligence to make sure this doesn’t happen again,” Thibeau told CTV Atlantic.
Nova Scotia’s online advertising is handled by a third-party company, Halifax-based Colour Creative Persuasion, who entered into the contract with Google. Officials from Colour Creative Persuasion said it was Google’s responsibility to monitor the websites where the ads were placed.
The government admitted that someone should have been checking the websites carrying Nova Scotia advertisements.
“It’s something we have to work on,” Thibeau said.