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(Unsubstantiated) Claims of deception by Google from anon claiming to be ex-employee
Adsense accounts kicked, analytics stats skewed
brotherhood of LAN

 7:26 pm on Apr 29, 2014 (gmt 0)

Note that this is a pastebin tbut I'm sure it'll go viral soon and we'll hear more about it and perhaps get some clear cut facts.


I am a former Google employee and I am writing this to leak information to the public of what I
witnessed and took part in while being an employee.

...To sum it up for everyone, I took part in what I (and many others) would consider theft of money from
the publishers by Google, and from direct orders of management...

So the other part of the new policy change was to incorporate other Google services into assisting the
"quality control" program. What they came up with will anger many users when they find out. It
involved skewing data in Google Analytics.



 8:41 pm on Apr 29, 2014 (gmt 0)

A few things stand out here

1) If Google wanted to reduce their Adsense loss then why didn't they just tweak their cut? OK, doesn't give an immediate cash injection but a long-term solution

2) Targetting the high adsense earners seems a bit weird. Why not just ban everyone under $100 a month (for example)? Surely one of the big players is going to kick up a fuss at some stage?

3) This started in 2009 and it's only just been leaked? There must be quite a culture of fear in the adsense team for this to have remained hidden for five years.

I'm not saying that this isn't true, but there's a few unanswered questions I'd like addressed before I buy into it.

brotherhood of LAN

 9:36 pm on Apr 29, 2014 (gmt 0)

Google responds by calling it complete fiction [thenextweb.com]...


 2:14 am on Apr 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

I don't buy it. For one thing, it doesn't match my experience at all (and I'm on a higher end than he even mentions) The language sounds more like a pissed off publisher, not any of the Googlers I myself know. And if they really wanted to squeeze the publishers, there are lots easier ways to do it.

Plus it would be monumentally stupid, because it would be bound to get out. Google does stupid things, but they don't do monumentally stupid things.

And the one thing the guy got right - they don't want lawsuits.


 3:05 am on Apr 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

It would be interesting to hear from any advertisers if they ever received any money back.


 5:03 am on Apr 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

It seems an odd thing to do. Google save some money short term, but they then lose all the future revenue from that publisher's sites.

I do not believe that they would go after high earners in particular. Why? It is percentages and margins that matter.

I can remember no flurry of bans in April 2012. People here would have noticed.

Adsense often given publishers who infringe the TOS in a minor way a suspension with a chance to clean it up rather than an outright ban. I have been there (there is a thread on WW, but the TL;DR version is they thought my navigation links manipulative).

I am also very sceptical about the claim that there are countries where Google can be seen as an employer of Adsense publishers. What countries? I think that IF there are such countries Google I would expect Google to simply not accept (individual) publishers from those countries.

[edited by: graeme_p at 5:05 am (utc) on Apr 30, 2014]


 5:03 am on Apr 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

When enough people sense something, let's call it smoke. Nothing out in the open, just some collective "sense". That leads to that old adage, where there's smoke there's fire. There is a reason that saying exists now and always will exist. Nobody can doubt there have been some pretty wide spread grumblings.

To me, this is meh. I get ripped off in every day of my life but I still shop where I shop because it's convenient for me. I've had crappy McDonalds hamburgers before, but you know I just keep going back.

Quite frankly I don't have income with Adsense so to me it's all good. If I was that worried about the behind the scenes stuff, I could close out my account and remove the ads. It's the best thing that's happened for me and is something that I always try to improve upon and make more money with. Google doesn't owe me anything. Like any corporation they do what they have to do. I'm along for the ride.

I'm a believer in karma. If stuff is really going on, then sure at some point it will come to light.

Really though, are we going to take one anonymous voice posted online as being credible? Next.


 6:31 am on Apr 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

Credibility has been questioned time and time again... just not in a article with some reach... I suspect there's part truth and part lie (possibly heavy on the lie side) in this "revelation". :)

What MIGHT come from this is some of those spending money might be prompted to take a second look at the bang for buck (ROI) in this venue.

Time will tell.


 10:27 am on Apr 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

(I'm an advertiser, and I get money back from "adjustments" every month. Amounts vary widely.)


 11:31 am on Apr 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

To me, it sounds very unlikely to have happened.

It shouldn't take more than a few hundred bucks to hire a paralegal competent enough to "research" and write a "leak" like this on manufactured evidence. Heck, the PR spin industry has been doing this for over a century.

I mean, if you're losing potentially thousands in a lost AdSense account every month, what's a few hundred bucks to vent anger, eh? :D There are enough disgruntled banned publishers who'll follow, forward, retweet, republish, discuss, debate and reblog for this 'story' to gain traction. And, it's not as if the 'whistle-blower' phoned The Guardian or The New York Times or WikiLeaks, etc.

Besides, considering the magnitude of Google's earnings and scope of business, what would this "Scam" accomplish? More office furniture for Googleplex? They must be desperate! :D

But then again, who knows, stupid things happen.


 1:59 pm on Apr 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

Like Netmeg, this does not match my experience, either. We've been an AdSense publisher almost since they started the program. Looking at month to month variations in income, what has effected AdSense income has been how much traffic comes to the website, not some imaginary Adsense ban on high Adsense earnings.


 2:19 pm on Apr 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

I can think of many ways Google could screw Adsense Publishers, but the practices described seem pretty odd since every closed account is lost money for Google in the long term.

If they wanted to close an account anyway for other reasons and would wait till the payout is near - that would make sense. But cash in $5000 dollar once and loose all the future revenue the site could have produced in the future does not seem like a strategy to make more profit.


 3:15 pm on Apr 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

An independent audit of Google's Adsense policies and earnings would likely reveal a smoking gun if there is one. That's the easiest way for Google to squash the rumors and regain the confidence of those publishers who feel the leak has merit. I know some who would like to see a thorough outside audit of Adwords too as their ROI has supposedly dropped quite sharply for no apparent reason. Since both programs are intertwined, if an independent audit were to be performed it would make sense to do both at the same time.


 3:29 pm on Apr 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

I imagine if you've been banned, you believe this "leak." If you haven't, you don't.


 3:51 pm on Apr 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

Doesn't match my experience at all.

I can see where someone might want to say something like this to get publicity.

Especially any competitors looking to gain ground in the market by spreading FUD.


 4:08 pm on Apr 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

An independent audit is worthless. The audit firm will be working for Google and thus has a vested interest to keep the business. Look at Enron that wasn't the exception but the norm.

I will say this though I have often thought Penguin was an attempt by Google to kill many of these directories that built up over the years. I imagine these directories were doing well in AdSense payments. These old sites that existed for 10-15 years were then collateral damage as they were picked up by these directories in their attempt to grow the directory to gain more AdSense revenue. And the dates do seem to match.


 5:40 pm on Apr 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

Well to be fair, my 1st AdSense account got banned right when I reached the payment mark , took me about 3 month. And that was a legit info website! The excuse was illegal activities(BS) ..... Spring/2010. Since then I only do affiliate marketing and keep another AdSense account dormant because of low traffic.


 6:47 pm on Apr 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

The audit firm will be working for Google and thus has a vested interest to keep the business. Look at Enron that wasn't the exception but the norm.

Unfortunately your statement has merit. I would still like to think there are accounting firms out there that hold their duties to report truth above any relationship they may have (or may get) from the company they are auditing.

I will say this though I have often thought Penguin was an attempt by Google to kill many of these directories that built up over the years. I imagine these directories were doing well in AdSense payments.

Except for a handful of noteworthy directories, I don't think most of them ever received any traffic beyond those looking for easy links. With low level link builders being paid for each link they create, clicking Adsense ads would consume time and cut into their profits. Automated software also became widespread and reduced the likelihood of directories receiving human traffic, even when links were being added. Historically, Google never gave typical directories great positions in search. Therefore, Adsense would not work too well on directories that receive most of their traffic from manual link builders and automated bots. Penguin and unnatural link warnings are an entirely different issue outside of the scope of this thread, but directories were impacted by this because most of them exist(ed) solely to exchange money for links.


 7:07 pm on Apr 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

Google disabled my account with around $4,000 pending commissions a year ago, when they disabled my account there was a check of about $2,000 in mail which I received after 2 days. I deposited that check to my bank and to my shock the check was canceled by Google and I also had to pay check bounce fees to bank.
The reason given was very vague that my website doesn't offer unique and relevant content. The traffic was very high quality as I am doing better with affiliate marketing with 3% conversion and more than 30% CTR almost doubling the earnings per click when compared to Adsense. So in total Google stole $6,000 from me. I should have never placed CrappySense on my site and gone with affiliate marketing in the first place.


 7:21 pm on Apr 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

I want to get this in perspective. Someone, nobody knows says they worked for Google and they now want to reveal some sensational details.
There is no proof that this is an ex-employee, and none of the claims can be substantiated. Anyone can write such claims in anonymity. I have my doubts, and I'm not going to get swept up and driven into a frenzy over anonymous, unsubstantiated claims, whether i've been affected by AdSense or not.


We must have all had calls from people claiming to be from, for example, Microsoft, and they detected a virus on our computer. Who are they? We'll never know, but anyone can make claims and remain anonymous.


 10:57 pm on Apr 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

Credibility check:

What would a genuine leaker gain by confessing to a crime in public?

It's one thing to make a confession in exchange for immunity from prosecution, but why do it online--and draw attention to your crime, at that--with no guarantees?


 1:39 am on May 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

What would a genuine leaker gain by confessing to a crime in public?

A clear conscious...

This guy simply confirms my (and probably millions of other publishers) as to why my monthly income from Adsense went from $1900 per month to now $50 per month (if i'm lucky).... i think that we've heard nothing yet and that this snow ball has a long way to roll yet. Fiction my ar..!


 2:11 am on May 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

Food for thought:

If you were G, would you rather risk everything and create a mafia like environment in your company, or simply tweak the code slightly by decreasing publisher share from %68(or whatever it is) to say %40 or %30 so that no one would EVER notice?


 2:31 am on May 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

Every company on the planet eventually has disgruntled employees. If for no other reason, I wouldn't believe it because it would be impossible for something like this not to get out. (Sooner than five years)


 2:57 am on May 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

Google has created a lot of enemies over time. I wouldn't give much credit to that anonymous message. If it was someone like Edward Snowden, then I would take it seriously. Someone who would say enough is enough. Someone who would show us real documents with all those colored groups. Someone who would quit and file a lawsuit for being threatened to be fired if illegal activities were publicized. But it's just a lot of words put together, uploaded to pastebin, that don't make a lot of sense in terms of planning and stability. At least I wouldn't involve a lot of employees in illegal activities of my company. I'd change the code and sleep well at night.

I read it once and really quick, and from what I understood is that they ban accounts that are about to be issued fat checks. They then take that month's earnings. This makes no sense to me. Why cut (not even bite) the hand that feeds you. Why don't wait a month or two more and get that amount legally without getting your hands dirty. That I don't understand.


 4:22 am on May 1, 2014 (gmt 0)


This guy is probably bound by a confidentiality/non-disclosure agreement. Hence the anonymity.


 2:31 pm on May 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

It doesn't make a lot of sense to me either.

The whole idea of banning publishers before their payout date to steal the money they made is quite ridiculous from a business-perspective. Why ban them if you could simply reduce the payout ratio?

I also never heard of widespread AdSense bans. Google is a very large company, to have a meaningful impact on the company's financials they would need to ban massive amounts of publishers. Even if they banned 100,000 publishers earning $1,000 a month they'd gain just $100 million. That's pocket money for a company like Google.


 4:40 pm on May 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

This is a beautiful piece of FUD.

I guess almost no one ever leaves Google because it took 5 years to have sufficient employee turnout...seems weird but ok.

Google employees apparently have no souls or understand how technology works. Hundreds of Google employees know about this terrible secret and none of them leak it because they have no souls. Or maybe they all wanted to leak it but none of them for 5 years realized that anyone could buy a cheap laptop and walk into a random coffee shop with free wifi and anonymously leak this to the internet. Seems legit to me.

Google was desperate for money so they kicked out honest publishers instead of dropping the payout % ... you know because Google isn't smart enough to do math and see this is a long term nightmare to their revenue stream.

Bing & Yahoo never uncovered this when they lured away any of these Google employees or these employees were still loyal to horrible Google despite quitting and going to work for the competition ... I guess it is possible.

As much as I think this is FUD (and I wouldn't be surprised if a new Google Adsense competitor launches next week) I do agree with the underlying concept that Google is a business and they are looking out for their best interests and not yours. If you rely on Google, you should rethink your business model. Using Google for a revenue stream is fine but you should never be dependent on any outside company that you can't control and this includes Google.


 4:45 pm on May 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

Firstly, I have never been banned, and it wouldn't make much sense to ban publishers because they are high earners.

However, it would make financial sense to implement bans (that were about to happen anyway) while there is a large unpaid balance in the publisher's account.

It is well known that huge multinational telecoms companies in Europe have very abusive and deliberate policies when it comes to canceling accounts (cancellation faxes are deliberately ignored) in order to boost their bottom lines, so I wouldn't be surprised to learn that Google's banning procedure was done in such a way as to benefit their bottom line.


 5:31 pm on May 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

But does it make sense? With all the ever growing scrutiny on Google's business practices around the world? For a short term relatively small financial gain?

Doesn't make sense to *me* anyway.

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