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Typos, change DBA name, sell business entity, have multiple companies and switch the domain from one company to another, etc..
It reminds me of a big board meeting we had at a company I worked for. I was dealing with the customer and always had to fight the programmers who hated adding code that helped the end user actually use the app. They had a "feature" where you create folder names, but they didn't think that it was necessary to allow the end user to delete the folder or change the name.
Every single person in the meeting voted against me. In front of our entire executive board, CEO, CIO, CTO, Board of Directors, in order to back up my point and sole vote, I went up to the Director of Sale's computer, which doubled as our supercharged demo machine that makes all the sales for the company. I created a new folder with the "F" word as the name and said, OK, I guess deleting isn't an important feature.
Everyone's face dropped and they looked at each other. Finally the CTO broke the ice, stood up, shook my hand and said a delete feature will be in the final version.
It also protects those who have joint AdSense accounts due to business partnerships. If your payee is made out to Company ABC, how would you like your partner-gone-bad to go and change the company name to his personal name on the 10th of the month. And you might not discover it until you investigate why your $15,000 AdSense check hasn't arrived weeks later.
There was also a battle of the payees between two partners who kept changing the name to his own name, then complaining to Google about it.
In all, it is a smart move safety-wise, and changing the payee name is not something that is done very often.
Sure, it could be a pain if something needs to be changed
I don't mind if it's a pain. Faxing in something to document a death, inheritance, marriage or sale of a company to prove the transfer is legal is fine with me. I'd even be willing to pay a fee. There has to be some way to do these things in a protected way. But saying it can "never be changed" is what disturbs me.
Some of these problems could be solved by direct deposit. Is Google still considering offering this?
I don't accept the hacker argument at all. If a hacker is in your data, you are totally screwed. No way around it and that isn't Google's responsibility. Nor should Google get involved in helping you with a partner playing games on you. If you have a bad partner you can't trust to handle the payee name on an adsense account, you have deeper problems than Adsense can help you with. (Maybe an argument over adsense funds will help you learn about your partner.)
For concern of hackers, you do what other net companies do, you send out an email to the account holder to inform/confirm the change. (If the hacker has your email account hacked, you are, again, royally screwed.)
I think Google's concern has to do with what's good for Google, not so much with protecting the publisher. Their concern is probably more related to all the adsense fraud and fake accounts and difficulty with tracking. The IRS forms they have to fill out like 1099's change radically if you have checks made out to different companies in middle of the year.
Nonetheless, they need to make name changes possible and find another way to deal with the issues that made them choose this way of doing business. They aren't the first or last company to have this problem. I'm sure it's only a matter of time until the realize this was a bad choice.
If security is the issue then it's quite simple to set up a confirmation process, we all do online banking it works ok there.
I suspect the issue is probably connected to the lack of technical ability G has in keeping the Payee names updated. Again a simple process of preventing ´Payee alterations say the week before payment confirmation, would be a way round it.
If G can't even get this part right how on earth will they ever be able to offer direct payments into Banks or other institutions like Paypal.
A company with big aspirations that just can't get the details right.
When I read this I laughed out loud. This kind of story is really insightful to the amateurish Google enterprise. I can't believe a real company operates like this.
Can you imagine Citibank dealing with two partners who keep calling the bank and changing the name on their accounts? C'mon guys.... you're up for an IPO!
Geesh. It is no surprise how poorly the public relations are being handled by Google. Look at the forums. Lots of distrust, doubt, people quick to suspect foul play, and then you go and dump 3+ pages of very small print on every on of your "affiliates" with a "say OK or you can't access your account" screen?
Google employees should be ashamed to work there.