Feeds

Did Google order staff to 'steal' web ad cash from publishers? THE TRUTH

Mountain View advertising king scrambles to set record straight

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Google has denied allegations made by a self-styled “former Google employee” – who claimed he was ordered to take part in “theft of money” from “thousands upon thousands” of publishers using Google AdSense.

According to a missive posted anonymously onto Pastebin on Tuesday, the web king told its staff in 2009 that it would begin axing accounts of online publishers who were making too much cash out of displaying Google ads on their sites.

The Mountain View company dismissed the claims as "complete fiction."

Among other things, the uncorroborated whistleblower alleged that the "first big batch of bans [on publishers] happened in 2009." The explosive post claimed:

We were told to begin banning accounts that were close to their payout period (which is why account bans never occur immediately after a payout). The purpose was to get that money owed to publishers back to Google AdSense, while having already served up the ads to the public. This way the advertiser’s [sic] couldn’t claim we did not do our part in delivering their ads and ask for money back. So in a sense, we had thousands upon thousands of publishers deliver ads we knew they were never going to get paid for.

Google reaped both sides of the coin, got money from the advertisers, used the publishers, and didn’t have to pay them a single penny.

They kept saying it was needed for the company, and that most of these publishers were ripping Google off anyways, and that their gravy train needed to end. Many employees were not happy about this. A few resigned over it. I did not. I stayed because I had a family to support, and secondly I wanted to see how far they would go.

The alleged "extreme quality control" practice went on for years with the largest number of bans coming in April 2012, it was claimed.

The supposed insider accused Google of threatening AdSense employees with lay-offs if they failed to "enforce the company's wishes." All the fun of working at Mountain View apparently washed away with the alleged demands.

It was further claimed that complaints from some publishers whose money didn't materialise were "erased without even being opened" by Google.

Legal action from other publishers was settled out of court, according to the Pastebin post.

By December 2012, Google – it was claimed – brought in a new policy, dubbed AdSense Quality Control Color Codes that was internally known as AQ3C. It allegedly grouped publishers into different categories based on how troublesome they were to Google's bottom line.

Google's tactics eventually led to incorporating its other services into "assisting the 'quality control' program," the alleged whistleblower claimed.

"What they came up with will anger many users when they find out. It involved skewing data in Google Analytics," according to the Pastebin post.

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Musicians sue UK.gov over 'zero pay' copyright fix
Everyone else in Europe compensates us - why can't you?
Bladerunner sequel might actually be good. Harrison Ford is in it
Go ahead, you're all clear, kid... Sorry, wrong film
I'll be back (and forward): Hollywood's time travel tribulations
Quick, call the Time Cops to sort out this paradox!
Megaupload overlord Kim Dotcom: The US HAS RADICALISED ME!
Now my lawyers have bailed 'cos I'm 'OFFICIALLY' BROKE
Forget Hillary, HP's ex CARLY FIORINA 'wants to be next US Prez'
Former CEO has political ambitions again, according to Washington DC sources
Euro Parliament VOTES to BREAK UP GOOGLE. Er, OK then
It CANNA do it, captain.They DON'T have the POWER!
prev story

Whitepapers

10 ways wire data helps conquer IT complexity
IT teams can automatically detect problems across the IT environment, spot data theft, select unique pieces of transaction payloads to send to a data source, and more.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
10 threats to successful enterprise endpoint backup
10 threats to a successful backup including issues with BYOD, slow backups and ineffective security.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Website security in corporate America
Find out how you rank among other IT managers testing your website's vulnerabilities.