Three tech companies pull ads from Limbaugh show; LifeLock remains and should be boycotted

Three tech companies did the right thing by pulling their advertising from Rush Limbaugh's right-wing radio show after Limbaugh called a female law student a "slut," and "prostitute". But the security company LifeLock steadfastly remains an advertiser. It should be boycotted.

As of yesterday, Carbonite, AOL, and GoToMeeting (owned by Citrix) have all pulled their ads from the Limbaugh show. GotoMeeting and Citrix issued this statement, which is simple and to the point: "We have listened to our customers & have decided to cease our advertising on The Rush Limbaugh Show immediately."

Far more personal was the statement by David Friend, CEO of Carbonite, an online backup service. In his company blog, he had this to say:

"No one with daughters the age of Sandra Fluke, and I have two, could possibly abide the insult and abuse heaped upon this courageous and well-intentioned young lady. Mr. Limbaugh, with his highly personal attacks on Miss Fluke, overstepped any reasonable bounds of decency. Even though Mr. Limbaugh has now issued an apology, we have nonetheless decided to withdraw our advertising from his show. We hope that our action, along with the other advertisers who have already withdrawn their ads, will ultimately contribute to a more civilized public discourse."

Why AOL, Carbonite and GoToMeeting have stayed with Limbaugh this long is somewhat disconcerting, but at least they've finally done the right thing by pulling their ads.

The same can't be said for the identity theft company LifeLock. The company sells identity theft services, and despite intense public pressure continues to stand by Limbaugh, telling the Huffington Post, "At this time, we are not making any changes to our advertising program."

Bottom feeders will always be willing to spend money on people like Limbaugh, and LifeLock appears to be one of them. You should boycott the company not just because it support Limbaugh, though. Any company that promises it can protect you against identity theft requires that you put a good deal of trust in it. Would you trust a company that support a man who calls a young woman a "slut" and a "prostitute" merely because of her political beliefs, and says that she should post sex tapes about herself online? I certainly wouldn't. You shouldn't, either.

Pulling ads from the Limbaugh show isn't just good morals, it's good business as well. A company's brand has significant financial value, and once tarnished, it's tough to regain that value. Carbonite, GoToMeeting and others are helping their bottom lines by not advertising on a show that spews hate. The same can't be said for LifeLock.

Update: LifeLock has a very shady past, including being fined $12 million by the Federal Trade Commission for deceptive business practices. See my blog post "The shady past of LifeLock, Limbaugh's sole remaining tech advertiser" for details.

Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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