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US Elite Doing Battle with Silicon Valley

US Elite took a hosing recently, and without benefit of any sort of happy ending. Apparently Google (and Twitter and PayPal) does not appreciate the fact that they sell knives. US Elite says that they've halted ads without warning, seized funds, and engaged in other nonsensical tomfuckery that will — or at least should — frustrate the hell out of you. The following is an excerpt from a blog post by Steve Keefer, CEO of U.S. Elite, about the negative impact these inconsistent policies have on their small business.

My company, U.S. Elite, offers high end outdoor and tactical gear. While we support the 2nd Amendment, we do not sell guns or ammunition. We do sell a lot of apparel, footwear, eyewear, pouches, packs, watches, and other types of gear (up until recently we were a Benchmade Knife dealer, but that’s the point of this story). Well, we were advertising some apparel and footwear with Google and all of a sudden we got shut down. Just like that! No warning, no notice, just green to red in a flash.

Scratching our heads, we checked in with Google and got this response: “Due to our Dangerous Products or Services policy, we no longer allow the advertisement of knives anywhere on your website. Although you may not directly have ads for knives, knives cannot be anywhere on the website advertised with AdWords.” Say what? So a line that we’ve nurtured for years, invested countless hours, factory visits, and tens of thousands of dollars in inventory, without any warning we’re off the site? Or on the other hand, give up a revenue driver that’s almost 20% of our business? Daaaaaammmnnn. That’s hardball.

Mind you, this wasn’t a conversation about automatic knives or anything regulated; this includes all knives, even the Benchmade Prestige Kitchen Set. Every damn knife. Off the damn site.

US Elite Gear is not the only company dealing with poor business practice and inconsistency. Raven Concealment Systems seems to do battle with Facebook's ad people on a weekly basis. We're all about capitalism — a business can have whatever policies it likes — but how about we apply the same standards to everyone, and make sure those standards are objectively reasonable? And let's not forget just how many of the companies in our industry are small businesses, the cornerstone of the American dream. Now they're doing battle with Silicon Valley behemoths. Let's help them out — spread the word!

Read more here.

Hat tip to Soldier Systems Daily

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