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Claims Surface that Google stole money from AdSense Publishers
Bluejeans




msg:4667152
 9:02 am on Apr 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

Explosive allegations that could spark a class action lawsuit.

[valleywag.gawker.com...]

Was there widespread banning of AdSense accounts starting in 2009 as the original document says?

 

hannamyluv




msg:4667169
 11:09 am on Apr 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

I'm not buying it. A policy like that would pretty much be shooting themselves in both feet. I actually would have been less (though not much) skeptical if there was not a dollar amount of $5000 listed as the bar.

Do you know how difficult it is for someone to actually hit that? Sure, people do but if you are making that amount per month you are actually likely on your way to becoming a much larger advertising venue for Google, so why just wholesale ban them? Seriously, $5000 (even $5000 X hundreds of alleged accounts banned) is like chump change to a company like Google so even the concept that they did it to save money is ludicrous.

It is some pissed off former publisher trying to cause trouble is all.

[edited by: hannamyluv at 11:16 am (utc) on Apr 30, 2014]

child please




msg:4667064
 2:02 am on Apr 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

What to make of this?

[pastebin.com...]

[edited by: martinibuster at 11:14 am (utc) on Apr 30, 2014]
[edit reason] Spliced from another post. [/edit]

phranque




msg:4667065
 2:05 am on Apr 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

welcome to WebmasterWorld, child please!


(Unsubstantiated) Claims of deception by Google from ex-employee [webmasterworld.com] - (Google Finance, Govt, Policy and Business Issues forum at WebmasterWorld)

martinibuster




msg:4667171
 11:19 am on Apr 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

There have been a few clickbait-y articles in a few of the otherwise reliable silicon valley rags. I read the pastebin post and the environment it describes doesn't feel like what I have experienced at the Googleplex or at any of the other Google offices I have visited.

Several parts of that pastbin post sound off. For example, it claims that Google was suffering internal losses in 2009 and onward. Really? That's an outlandish claim.

Then there's this:

- A reason has to be internally attached to the account ban. The problem was that notifying the publisher for the reason is not a requirement, even if the publisher asks. The exception: The exact reason must be provided if a legal representative contacts Google on behalf of the account holder.


Do you recall Google ever having told a publisher with an attorney the exact reason why they were banned? I may be wrong or even quibbling, but to my memory I have never read of a circumstance where a publisher was told the exact reason they were banned. Usually publishers are given a euphemistic general reason but never the exact reason.

martinibuster




msg:4667182
 11:57 am on Apr 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

This makes no sense. First he lays out how a malicious third party can click bomb a publisher site out of AdSense:

A competitor or malicious person would actively go to their competitorís website(s) or pick a random website running AdSense and begin multiple-clicking and overclicking ads, which they would do over and over again. Of course this would trigger an invalid clicking related ban...


But in the same breath states that it could not be proven that a third party was involved:

...mainly because it could not be proven if the publisher was actually behind the clicking.


That's contradictory. He's certain that it's a third party then states that it was uncertain and could not be proven.

Identifying a third party clickbombing is childs play to Google. If a publisher is logging in from a range of IPs and the click bombing are coming from another range, that's pretty easy to detect. Google deals with more sophisticated ruses than that.

This is the heart of the pastebin article and I believe it identifies the author as a disgruntled publisher who was banned from AdSense:

Many innocent publishers would get caught up in bans for invalid clicks which they were not involved in and were never told about.

This issue has been in the awareness of Google for a very long time but nothing was done to rectify the issue and probably never will be. Thus if someone wants to ruin a Google AdSense publishers account, all you would have to do is go to their website, and start click-bombing their Google Ads over and over again, it will lead the servers to detect invalid clicks and poof, they get banned. The publisher would be completely innocent and unaware of the occurrence but be blamed for it anyways.

netmeg




msg:4667194
 12:29 pm on Apr 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

I don't believe it. It doesn't match up with any of my experience, or anything I've seen.

I've got lots of issues with Google and a few with AdSense, but this one just doesn't scan.

hannamyluv




msg:4667200
 1:20 pm on Apr 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

It doesn't match up with any of my experience, or anything I've seen.

Yep. It just is not logical, if you know anything about how AdSense and AdWords works. If it was truly a scam to make money, then the more profitable scam would to ignore publishers who are gaming the system. Sure, you have to pay them, but you still get to keep half of what the AdWords advertisers pay.

The supposed scam laid out in this paper would be so short sighted as to border on being high when thought of. If that was truly their policy, then there would be no reason to have an AdSense department.

"Hey, let's shut down every publisher that does well, because we don't want to pay them... which, um, means we don't get paid from AdWords going forward... hmmmm... Bob, maybe this is not such a great plan."

Now, if the person were to have only claimed that Google deliberately waits to ban until right before payout... That I might buy. But that they are on a witch hunt for their own publishers? That just does not make sense.

SmallP




msg:4667202
 1:27 pm on Apr 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

Oh for goodness sake. Why would anyone believe that article? As soon as you hit $5,000 a month you get ear-marked to be shut down, so that they can take the revenue?

Why on earth would they do that? If they leave you running another 3 months or so they are going to get that revenue as their percentage, anyway. It makes no sense whatsoever.

That's a really silly story.

Definitely a peed off publisher, in my opinion.

netmeg




msg:4667205
 1:39 pm on Apr 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

I've hit that (and more) and I'm still here.

incrediBILL




msg:4667266
 4:02 pm on Apr 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

I've hit that (and more) and I'm still here.


Me too.

I've known sites making $80k/mo and don't forget our own former member Marcus Frind with PlentyofFish making PlentyofCa$h.

hannamyluv




msg:4667274
 4:38 pm on Apr 30, 2014 (gmt 0)


I've hit that (and more) and I'm still here.

Me too.

I think many who post here regularly have. But, people making more than $5K a month still only makes up like 2% of all AdSense publishers. Many people try and few actually succeed in crossing this threshold.

That being said, that top 2% is also likely responsible for 60%-80% of AdSense's revenue. So yeah, targeting them willy-nilly would make AdSense pointless.

atladsenser




msg:4667284
 5:23 pm on Apr 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

I agree with the general consensus here. The story is pure red meat for anyone who might feel betrayed or aggrieved by Google and/or AdSense; it offers up an easy, soup-to-nuts explanation for anything bad that's happened to a publisher -- that conveniently leaves out anything any publisher might have done to trigger a ban.

hannamyluv, just curious -- what is your 2% statistic (those publishers making more than $5K per month) based on?

hannamyluv




msg:4667288
 6:19 pm on Apr 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

It is just a general guess. We discussed it in this thread here:
[webmasterworld.com...]

But, logically it makes the most sense that only a small percentage make more than that. Just from a personal standpoint, I have only ever met a handful of publishers who make enough from AdSense to live off of (which $5k a month would do for you for most cities here in the US). But just about everybody and their brother has a website or blog, many of which run AdSense.

Plus, I did run an affiliate program for a short while and the spread holds true for affiliates. Only about 2% (tops) of your affiliates will make 80% of your money. Any affiliate manager will attest to that. And there is no reason to think that AdSense would operate any differently.

atladsenser




msg:4667291
 6:23 pm on Apr 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

One additional thought on the Pastebin story: if Google really needed to make more money for itself from the AdSense program, wouldn't it be easier just to increase its 32% take a couple of percentage points? (Google pays out 68% of AdSense earnings to AdSense publishers.)

hannamyluv




msg:4667304
 6:33 pm on Apr 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

wouldn't it be easier just to increase its 32% take a couple of percentage points?

Yep. This whole story was just a poorly thought out attempt by some idiot. There are SOOOO MANY more plausible conspiracy theories that they could have written. Anything from under reporting clicks to shaving EPM to burning puppies from the local animal shelter to save on heating bills.

This one makes no sense from so many angles and was obviously written by someone who has not grasped how big the internet is, how big Google is and how much billions of dollars really is. It was written by someone who thinks $5000 is a lot of money.

webcentric




msg:4667332
 7:08 pm on Apr 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

Call it slander. Call it whistle-blowing. Call it pure fiction or pure fact. If nothing else, it's put G in damage-control mode, probably got more than a few publishers bent out of shape and has a few investors worried about the fallout. Oh, and a few advertisers wondering if they should jump ship. Don't think we've seen the tip of the repercussion iceberg this could cause. Could there be a little transparency forthcoming from G in the future? Couldn't be a bad result. They set themselves up for this one.

hannamyluv




msg:4667334
 7:13 pm on Apr 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

Oh, and a few advertisers wondering if they should jump ship.

To where? No one pays better than AdSense. Even if this were a legit claim, if you are a big publisher, where could you go?
has a few investors worried about the fallout

From an anon conspiracy theory posted on a random website with more holes than swiss cheese? I doubt it. They have had legitimate issues with search results that were made known by respected newspapers and even that did little to affect investors.

Would it be nice if they had more transparency? Yes. But history has also shown that when they have transparency, spammers and cheaters take advantage of it. :(

jpch




msg:4667338
 7:19 pm on Apr 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

I think the story has a lot of holes in it and it hasn't been my experience with Google at all. However, Google could reduce a lot of fear behind their payments for publishers with large earnings if they would simply pay these publishers more frequently.

If payments occur around the 21st of each month by that time you have about 50 days worth of earnings sitting at Google. If they decide to ban you right before you are paid that's going to hurt your cash flow.

webcentric




msg:4667341
 7:28 pm on Apr 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

Just speaking to climate per se. It's just more negativity stacked on top of the negativity related to the SERPS and other issues. Even false claims need debunking or they can take on a life of their own. That takes energy and resources.

Of course, then there's the adage that bad press is better than no press at all so G will probably find a way to benefit from this in the end. You're right about transparency and, actually, I think G is getting more transparent where Adsense is concerned in general.

There's a fine line between between transparency and cutting your own throat so I understand the cloaked nature of G's disclosures (or lack of any disclosure) most of the time. It does open the door to conspiracy theories though. What would happen for example, if the person who authored this accusation, was actually able to make it believable under some real scrutiny? Every business faces this kind of vulnerability in some way or another. I guess I'm just interested in seeing what comes of it from a transparency perspective.

ergophobe




msg:4667344
 8:06 pm on Apr 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

Let's just say this leaker is no Edward Snowden!

A real employee with real gripes would have had no problem coming up with data, maybe actual names of sites that were banned and who knows what else.

hannamyluv




msg:4667355
 8:44 pm on Apr 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

simply pay these publishers more frequently.

While I understand why they do not (it is standard business practice), it would be a nice bonus for larger publishers if they did this.

super70s




msg:4667374
 9:58 pm on Apr 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

Do you recall Google ever having told a publisher with an attorney the exact reason why they were banned? I may be wrong or even quibbling, but to my memory I have never read of a circumstance where a publisher was told the exact reason they were banned. Usually publishers are given a euphemistic general reason but never the exact reason.


Yeah with them it's "we ban, you decide why."

One of my sites was banned last year, apparently because I had the .htaccess file in my main site set up to prevent anyone from accessing the banned site except through the main site due to abuse of the banned site's script by spammers.

I wrote Adsense and told them I'd taken down all their ads from the banned site and they said fine your general Adsense account is okay.

But the incident is still listed as "unresolved" in Google Analytics, so apparently they don't do a whole lot of following up in that.

And as far as I know there's nothing explicitly in their TOS about how an Adsense site must be accessible from anywhere on the Web, or I wouldn't have put their ads on that site to begin with.

nickys




msg:4667394
 1:59 am on May 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

Did any major news sites pick up the story?

netmeg




msg:4667397
 2:34 am on May 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

Not that I've seen. Just a few industry/tech publications. MSM won't touch it; it's all unsubstantiated.

Bluejeans




msg:4667517
 3:57 pm on May 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

Good points all! Actually I found it on Gawker if that's MSM.

netmeg




msg:4667555
 5:50 pm on May 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

Well no. I think more NYT when I think MSM. Even Huffpo.

nomis5




msg:4667591
 2:53 pm on May 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

The word "Allegations" in the title really is an overstatement of the facts. First it should read "Allegation" in the singular and second it should really be prefixed by something like "an unsubstantiated".

Now, if more than one person was making the allegation and they had the guts to put their name to the allegation then maybe it might be newsworthy. But the author is hiding behind anonymity (for the moment anyway!) and that in itself is a significant drawback to any credibility in the allegation.

avalon37




msg:4667596
 3:02 pm on May 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

If this alleged former employee has been a non employee for a while now, why not come totally forward with your name? What's the concern? Blackballed in the industry and he/she will never work again in e-commerce/online marketing? I don't take anonymous sources seriously.

jmccormac




msg:4669335
 7:33 pm on May 7, 2014 (gmt 0)

I don't take anonymous sources seriously.
How very Nixonian of you. :) Google has become the Evil Empire that Microsoft once was and people want to believe the worst about them. Whether this leak is true or not is irrelevant. Some people will believe it and others won't.

Regards....jmcc

This 31 message thread spans 2 pages: 31 ( [1] 2 > >
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