Google accused of not paying publishers; company denies charge [Internet] [Times of India]
(Times of India Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) NEW DELHI: A person claiming to be a former Google employee has alleged that the internet giant withheld payments it owed to several publishers who used Google AdSense, the company's advertisement serving model. However, in an email response to Times Of India, Google has strongly refuted the claim.
It all started with a Tuesday post on Pastebin, titled "Google AdSense Leak". Posted anonymously, the long account alleges that Google introduced a new "policy" in 2009 wherein it allegedly disabled or "banned" certain AdSense accounts to whom they owed money for serving ads.
This was allegedly done in the garb of "extreme quality control", with accounts often disabled just before the payments were due. "The purpose was to get that money owed to publishers back to Google AdSense, while having already served up the ads to the public," says the anonymous poster. The "leak" also alleges that AdSense accounts were colour-coded for internal purposes according to perceived threat of legal action from publishers who were popular or enjoyed a clout.
In the AdSense model, a user offers space on his website or blog for Google to serve ads. Google and the publisher then split the money paid by the advertiser.
Google has issued a strong statement debunking the allegations. "This description of our AdSense policy enforcement process is a complete fiction. The color-coding and 'extreme quality control' programs the author describes don't exist. Our teams and automated systems work around the clock to stop bad actors and protect our publishers, advertisers and users," said an official Google statement on the leak.
TOI spoke to some AdSense users whose accounts were disabled. The opacity of Google when blocking these sites was a common complaint. Nikhil Pahwa, who runs a digital news blog called Medianama, says that the AdSense account for some of his "smaller sites" was disabled in 2011. Efforts to reinstate it last year came to nought. "We put plans to launch new sites on hold, because it would mean that we would have to set up a sales force for selling advertising on those sites," says Pahwa.
Hitesh Gupta, who runs the website vcbytes.com says five of his websites suffered back in 2009 because of his Google AdSense account being disabled. This had happened within 50 days of the account being set up. Gupta did not directly blame the search engine in the light of the unverified anonymous account, but only because he did not know why his account was suspended. "We had pure clean content targeted at the youth. Google did not give us any reason for suspending the account," says Gupta who had been running about a dozen portals along with his friends back in the day.
The reasons for disabling AdSense accounts, as listed on Google's own support page, include, "clicking ads on your own site" (also called "click-fraud"), pornographic content, copyright violation, illegal content, and deceptive ad placement among others.
According to a 2013 study from research firm eMarketer, Google had over a third of the online advertising share last year, making it the number one seller of online ads.
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