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In the event that you say anything that reflects poorly on Google
martingale

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 5770 posted 5:49 pm on Mar 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

When Google updated the recent TOS I sent an inquiry to AdSense support asking about this new restriction in the TOS, where you are forbidden to:

engage in any action or practice that reflects poorly on Google or otherwise disparages or devalues Googles reputation or goodwill.

In my email I asked google:

Do you intend this term to apply to public statements about AdSense made by AdSense customers in web forums, newspapers, blogs, and other publications? Or do you intend it only to apply to materials displayed along side AdSense advertising?

And in particular, I cited a specific example, asking whether if I posted the following to WebMasterWorld, would they consider that to be a violation of the TOS. My example of a potential violation was this:

Google really goofed with this new Terms of Service. I suspect their legal team was nodding off and wrote something that is a lot broader than they intended it to be, and very possibly illegal to boot. Really poor showing.

After a LONG time (AdSense is usually much faster getting back to me) I got back a reply. The reply stated that Google refused to further clarify the TOS and that I should seek my own legal council.Every other time I have contacted AdSense and given an example of something I wanted to do, and asked whether they would view it as a violation I have received a clear yes/no answer from them. In this case I got no such answer, just contact your attorney.

The only conclusion I can draw from this non-response is that Google does reserve the right to terminate your AdSense account if you post anything that reflects poorly on Google in an online web forum such as this one.

Be warned.

 

driris

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 5770 posted 6:56 pm on Mar 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

how google team will know about your account if you are hiding your id and website?

jetteroheller

WebmasterWorld Senior Member jetteroheller us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 5770 posted 7:07 pm on Mar 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

Google knows everything

I would have to switch of the Google toolbar,
if I would like to hide me.

Zygoot

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 5770 posted 7:14 pm on Mar 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

Idd the Google Toolbar is one possibility.
And if you have disclosed your exact earnings in one of the topics here then they will also know who you are.

HughMungus

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 5770 posted 7:21 pm on Mar 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

engage in any action or practice that reflects poorly on Google or otherwise disparages or devalues Googles reputation or goodwill

I read this to mean "don't do anything with your website wherein people who see your website and our ads will think that we condone whatever it is you're doing that we think is bad".

I do wonder, however, why they added this (surely there's a reason based on past experiences with publishers).

antman

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 5770 posted 7:28 pm on Mar 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

If saying bad things about Google will get you kicked out, would saying nice things improve your earnings?

I love Google!

ant

CheeseburgerBrown

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 5770 posted 7:37 pm on Mar 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

So now everyone can start phrasing their posts like lawyers:

"In the event that a hypothetical PPC Advertising Provider made a change to their Terms of Service along such-and-such lines, would a theoretical PPC Advertising Publisher be right to expect so-and-so?"

Google who?

dvduval

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 5770 posted 7:43 pm on Mar 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

If people get scared to give feedback in a public forum like this, even negative at times, I can't see how this could be good for google. In my opinion, it would put the blinders on to some extent, and make it more difficult for google to see where improvement is need.

Note: I have taken over dvduval's computer, and posted this message without his knowledge. Moohahaha! :)

europeforvisitors



 
Msg#: 5770 posted 7:43 pm on Mar 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

The clause is probably just there to give them recourse when a publisher makes a habit of slandering or libeling Google.

Try putting the shoe on the other foot: If Google made a habit of slandering or libeling you, wouldn't you want to terminate the relationship?

martingale

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 5770 posted 8:35 pm on Mar 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

I read this to mean "don't do anything with your website wherein people who see your website and our ads will think that we condone whatever it is you're doing that we think is bad".

That's what I thought too, and so I specifically e-mailed them and asked them to clarify that the policy applied only to content that appeared alongside an AdSense ad.

I was expecting a respone, "Yeah, that's what it means" but instead I got back "contact your attorney", which I take to mean they do reserve the right to cancel your account for "unrelated" activities, such as criticizing them in this forum.

moneyraker

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 5770 posted 8:51 pm on Mar 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

I'm pretty sure that when Google said 'any action', they really meant any action. However, Martingale's example is not really offensive enough, if you look at it. It still is constructive criticism to me. Now try giving them a 'really offensive' example. They'll probably get back to you with a resounding 'yes, we will prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law.'

EliteWeb

WebmasterWorld Senior Member eliteweb us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 5770 posted 8:55 pm on Mar 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

Sounds to me forum owners who serve adsense that talk about google and google adsense will be moderating posts so nothing negitive is talked about just so their accounts are not terminated. One simple email to the webmaster would make them shake in their boots in fear that they violated the ToS and may not make another penny from google. *Note, it was just a sound and not the truth nor is it believed by even myself or anybody around me.*

[edited by: EliteWeb at 9:07 pm (utc) on Mar. 23, 2005]

hyperkik

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 5770 posted 9:06 pm on Mar 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

Due to the content of your inquiry, the delay was most likely because your content caused the inquiry to be forwarded to Google's legal department.

Rather than saying, "Yes, it's okay to attack Google in that manner", or "No, that would violate the terms of service justifying the termination of your account", Google unsurprisingly declined to answer. Their suggestion that you have your questions answered by your own attorney is not unreasonable, in the event that you intend to make such postings about them. (Why should they green light any attacks on their company or services?)

RoySpencer

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 5770 posted 9:17 pm on Mar 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

Have I mentioned lately how much I love Google?

martingale

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 5770 posted 9:19 pm on Mar 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

For the record I don't have any interest in attacking their company or their policy, I think my posting record here will stand for that. But I'm a little bit chilled by having anything I do write potentially used as an excuse to terminate my account.

Webwork

WebmasterWorld Administrator webwork us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 5770 posted 11:04 pm on Mar 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

Suppression of critical speech is a sign of an institution in decline. I don't think the sweep of the policy is meant to suppress critical thought and expression. If a company want to attract the best, the brightest, the most creative individuals then suppression of expression is the last thing they would want to be known for. Which might explain some problems with current U.S. political processes, but we won't go there . . .;0)

Instead, if you dominate by suppression you attract docile dim bulbs, which is why I'm hopeful that I'll qualify for membership in AdSense under the new, more restrictive, anti-free speech standards. ;)

Ahem, . . . Google . . . Webwork here. I just want to say that I didn't say it, and if I did then I didn't mean it, and if I did then I didn't understand what I was saying when I said it, and if I did it was because when I was a child I was an orphan raised by wolves, and if I wasn't . . .

In reality I suspect there's a lot more required than dissent or objection or critique to fall within the rule. More likely things like "Google is a pack of thieves, they took my AdSense earnings that I rightfully generated by having my family click on the ads on my site."

[edited by: Webwork at 11:36 pm (utc) on Mar. 23, 2005]

sailorjwd

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 5770 posted 11:22 pm on Mar 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

I think it opens them up to legal action because now they have tied themselves to the content of their publishers' sites by indicating they have control over the content. So, if they don't police the content then they can possibly be sued. It is kind of the opposite of 'we have nothing to do with the site contents' that you find on search results or cache displays.

Atticus



 
Msg#: 5770 posted 11:23 pm on Mar 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

Google's mother wears army boots.

bears5122

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 5770 posted 1:11 am on Mar 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

I guess I don't see it as something that would effect small publishers, but could have a drastic effect on large publishers.

Imagine your major newspapers who run Adsense on their site. Does this mean that they can't right an editorial on the Google toolbar and the spyware involved? Does this mean that any negative stock analysis from a finance site could ban your Adsense?

It's an extremely tacky thing to put in the TOS, and to me, a sign of the type of people you are dealing with. Putting something like that in your TOS shows me that your company is not confident in your services.

bbkid

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 5770 posted 3:17 am on Mar 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

Google's mother wears army boots.

lol, is that an insult?

Atticus



 
Msg#: 5770 posted 7:38 am on Mar 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

bbkid,

Yes. While some scholars consider the more specific 'combat boots,' to be proper, I find 'army boots' to be funnier and more to my liking.

If you do a Google search for: mother wears army boots (without quotes) you get a really interesting derivation for this phrase.

Note to mods -- if including the search phrase: mother wears army boots is consider to be inapproprite in this forum, please revise to: mother wears widgets

eaden

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 5770 posted 7:58 am on Mar 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

engage in any action or practice that reflects poorly on Google or otherwise disparages or devalues Googles reputation or goodwill.

Watch out made-for-adsense scraper sites!

They surely reflect poorly on google as they sponsor them.

Powdork

WebmasterWorld Senior Member powdork us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 5770 posted 8:32 am on Mar 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

I was expecting a respone, "Yeah, that's what it means" but instead I got back "contact your attorney", which I take to mean they do reserve the right to cancel your account for "unrelated" activities, such as criticizing them in this forum.
You should also consider, however, that given your example, they would have to expect you would post their response on webmasterworld. Giving you an answer would, IMO, weaken their TOS if their original intention was to keep it vague.
jhood

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 5770 posted 3:27 pm on Mar 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

Lawyer-bashing is always popular but in this instance the question was unreasonable, or at least poorly framed. The TOS prohibits "any action" that reflects badly, etc., etc. "Any action" means any action; you can't ask for a definition of any without rendering the entire statement meaningless.

Virtually every contract has some clause of this kind and it is there to cover those instances that aren't covered by any other clause. Legislative lethargy aside, spitting on the sidewalk is still illegal in most cities not because it's a problem but because it gives the cops an excuse to roust somebody when they can't find any other good reason, pending further investigation.

In other words, it's not worth worrying about and it certainly does not prohibit -- or even discourage -- reasonable discussions in forums of this kind. My god, man, get a grip.

Liane

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 5770 posted 3:53 pm on Mar 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

Have I mentioned lately how much I love Google?

Hehe!

The more I read all these adsense threads ... the happier I am that I never got involved. Jeeesh!

30 years ago, I had an employer who would issue this type of blanket threa ... um statement in office wide memos. All it ever accomplished was to ensure that employees had more to gripe about at lunch hour! I thought Google was above this sort of thing.

dauction

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 5770 posted 3:58 pm on Mar 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

Google ..please fire your Company Lawyers..Look at the nonsense they having oyu say to your supportors.

Look at all the Lawsuist they are losing for you!

Time for fresh batch of Company lawyers..Come on G ; show the lawyers who's hanging brass in your company ;)

hunderdown

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 5770 posted 4:32 pm on Mar 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

The TOS DOES say "action or practice," not "statement or allegation." It's a legal document, which was reviewed/created by the legal department. If they intended to restrict speech, IMO, they would have used language that focused on speech.

This is NOT what they did.

We can relax.

However, this does lead to another issue, the one raised by sailorjwd. By saying that they might police AdSense sites, are they putting themselves in a situation where they MUST police AdSense sites?

Interesting.

Powdork

WebmasterWorld Senior Member powdork us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 5770 posted 11:10 pm on Mar 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

Hunderdown you have a valid point. In case they are going to police Adsense sites (I hope so). Before my last post in this thread I removed the adsense from a site I have about the sandbox. It doesn't bash Google, but it doesn't earn much either. It's not worth risking the whole deck for when all I have to do is not use Adsense for income on that particular site.

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