Lovehoney, the UK’s largest retailer of sexual wellness products, has created an instructional video to raise awareness of Google’s SafeSearch feature and explain how to turn it off.
The SafeSearch feature, when turned on, prevents Google searches from returning ‘explicit’ results, but Lovehoney believes it is being implemented inconsistently. For example, organic results and paid ads for the Lovehoney site – which contains sexual wellness advice – are blocked, while its products still show up on multi-billion-dollar retailers.
While Lovehoney supports the movement towards a safer internet experience for children, recent changes to the SafeSearch feature mean that it is automatically turned on for anyone whose age Google can’t determine (thought to be approximately a third of users). This, it said, results in large numbers of consenting adults being prevented from searching for sexual wellness products
“Although we are fully in support of Google’s SafeSearch feature for under 18s, there seems to be some clear inconsistencies that are ultimately harming sex-positive companies and the consenting adults that are trying to find products and information on the topic,” said Johanna Rief, Head of Sexual Empowerment at Lovehoney. “Unfortunately, it is just another example of Big Tech treating sexuality as something that is sinful, while allowing actual harmful content to slip through the net.”
Having raised more than 600 upheld complaints to Google about blocked ads – and being inundated with queries from customers unable to find Lovehoney’s site – the sexual wellness brand has decided to take matters into its own hands, hoping this might finally open a two-way conversation with the search giant.
The video is an animated guide and aims to help those ‘suffering from SafeSearch’ (symptoms of which include suppressed sexual happiness). The guide walks consenting adults through the process of turning SafeSearch off, in-turn showing them how to find Lovehoney without any issues.
Lovehoney has also created an advice page with additional information on SafeSearch and a step-by-step guide to switching it off. You can see this here.