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Google Inconsistently Ruling Over Permissions
Permitted my site, a year later slams me

 2:00 pm on Feb 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

When I started to collect Google logo art from artists and Google fans with a dedicated site in fall 2003 I involved Google right from the start to prevent future issues.

After a couple of changes they wanted to have (merchandise sales, dropped it to avoid conflicts) they told me that they are "flattered" about the interest in their brand and wished me well. Advised to do so I signed the branding agreement and sent it off, not to receive a response for 16 months until today (although the fax form states differently). But their statement clearly permitted the site.

It has not been changed in layout, ad positioning, content (just more of course) or anything else.

Now, more than one year later Google sends me a message about Adsense compliance not being achieved and tells me the ads are dicontinued immediately for this web site and I should not use their logo. PERIOD.

Well, that much about large corporations losing it.
Losing control over past positions, losing track of historic decisions and therefore losing trust. How can I trust what they say today when I need to consider their different decisions tomorrow?



 2:06 pm on Feb 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

Have you tried contacting them? Could be something as simple as a new lawyer, eager to prove their worth, contacting you without carrying out full checks.


 2:10 pm on Feb 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

I have, no reaction yet, will give it more time. When things get bigger one concern has to be to keep processes in flow and under control. It's always disappointing when someone starts losing control over right hand / left hand differences. Google, obviously is not growing large any smoother than HP, AOL or AT&T have.


 2:45 pm on Feb 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

Sorry to hear you go through this. But well, they do own the rights to their brands and marks. By hitching your website on another company's brands and marks, you are basically at their whim and fancy. Today, they agree; tomorrow, they don't (which is well within their prerogative). I suggest you start rethinking this particular website. Pity the time you put into this site, but better stop it at this juncture than a lawsuit anytime soon. It's tough, alright.


 3:19 pm on Feb 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

Chances are that different people at Google looked at your file and said "why do we have this guy?". Fast growing companies such as Google will have new employees all the time with different perspectives and attitude. The person who accepted your site may not be the person rejecting now.


 3:36 pm on Feb 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

The question of whether one Google department approved (or tentatively approved) a private collection of Google art is something quite apart from whether the site is also compliant with the AdSense terms of service.

Beyond that, Google does seem to have tightened up its policies on the use of its logo by third parties since it went public.


 4:57 pm on Feb 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

It's sad but true and I do appreciate y'alls input. I might step away from that site although lots of folks have been having a blast participating and finding some entertainment about the big G.

From a branding standpoint of view (and being a corporate communicator myself) this might lose them some positive reputation by some 2-3000 uniques web users daily. But you're right, it's up to them to decide if they want that.

It's the "web honeymoon turn conservative" boredom we're experiencing here.


 8:46 am on Feb 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

Now, how cool is that: after explaining the history to Google and point them towards the past communication plus the image impact that this collection of Google logo art provides to a broad audience they re-instated the Adsense account, dropped their demand to take the site off and apologized "for the confusion".

Way to go Google, as long as somesuch is happening, they have not become a second Microsoft, AOL or the likes.


 12:05 pm on Feb 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

Good for you, adfree. Drives home the point of the importance of keeping all records of communication and agreements.


 1:20 pm on Feb 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

Glad to hear it, I was beginning to get the impression once the big G makes a decision, they could not be persuaded to change their mind, even if the decision is unfounded and contradicts previous statements as in this case.


 1:35 pm on Feb 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

It has something to do with corporate culture too I believe. In many other companies my message (and many others as well) would just be handled by rock solid rules.

If there are none: drop the case and apologize three times. Then: ignore the whole thing for good.

At Google there seems to be a sense of responsibility not to miss the last bastion of partner/user connection. Obviously my case was escalated and reviewed. Someone was actually THINKING about the whole thing and putting it into context, consequences for the whole bigger, mutual good.

That's win/win in the long run. Congrats Google.


 8:16 pm on Feb 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

Nice to hear for you Adfree. I was about to make the suggestion that they weren't a publicly traded company in the fall of 2003 when they first approved you but now after going public their rules change.

I hope gmail is around a while so I can call up any stored messages like Adfree needed to. It's not like I have a local copy of anything on there.


 12:33 am on Feb 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

This also another example of Google being reasonable -as opposed to those 'I did nothing wrong and was dropped' posts. And Google even apologised - how many times do you see companies doing that (apart from when they are ordered by a court)?


 12:29 pm on Feb 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

TNJed - spot on, it was in gmail as you guessed, any other account and I might have deleted that conversation or parts of it.

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