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Ummmm...it sounds like the guy totally violated google's terms of service. He was hosting ads on a domain-squatting site that had no content. The advertisers were refunded their money, and the guy's account was closed down.

As somebody that buys ads from google, I would be pretty pissed off if I found out that i was paying $1 a click for my ads to be on a parked domain...which is why they have their terms set up the way they are.

Yeah, it sounds like the appeals process sucks, and that they didn't give him a real reason, but "you are a leeching douche-bag cancer to the DNS" should be a pretty good hint.

As somebody that buys ads from google, I would be pretty pissed off if I found out that i was paying $1 a click for my ads to be on a parked domain...which is why they have their terms set up the way they are.

But they've now rolled out Adsense for Domains anyway..

Besides, surely it's the context that matters more than the content of the page? If you sell diapers for monkeys (let's say!) and your ad appears on a parked domain called monkeydiapers.com and someone clicks on it, that visitor is probably more likely to be a buyer than someone who clicks on the same ad on a comedy Web site, right?

Not logged into my Adwords account since sometime but surely it would be optional to advertisers whether they want to display ads on parked domains, isn't it?

I agree with your example regarding propensity of the person being a buyer but the advertiser may not want to show his site on a parked domain for, say, branding purposes.

whether they want to display ads on parked domains, isn't it?

When I first noticed that I was getting a ton of worthless traffic, and paying several hundred bucks a week for it, I dug into the AdWords UI, and found only one option to disable, "Content Network". Soon after that, they added the ability to place ads on specific sites...but not the ability to say, "anything except spam sites, including Google's own spam domain hosting service". Of course, Google doesn't talk about their own spam domain hosting service much. But, it's clearly Google being evil. (Apparently most Googlers aren't even aware of this "service" from Google, so I guess it's kept quiet internally, as well.)

do you have a screenshot (see comment below, also)

I'm not sure. The options I get are:

Google Search Search Partners The Content Network

and then by "platform" .. Desktop vs iPhone + smart devices.

You can set content network to targeted though, but I don't see any way of totally opting out of parked pages. I agree with you, however, that this is not necessarily what advertisers want, although ultimately I think it could work out if Google maintains quality.

"the guy" submitted the story here. That means you could call him names directly rather than indirectly.

And risk a lawsuit for libel?

Well, then you could call him "a leeching douchebag that is a cancer to the legal system" and be right. So its win-win either way.


What you say may well be true. But Google was not willing to send a representative to say that in court, or have someone type it into an email, or have one of their many automated systems put that into an email. Google is certainly capable of communicating it's side of things, yet they did not.

We should not have to construct Google's side of things for them. Google is not a retarded person facing the death penalty, unable to defend themselves. They are a multi-billion dollar company with an army of lawyers and an even bigger army of computers, and if one of those computers had displayed a message to this person explaining their side, it is likely we none of this would have happened.

Legally speaking, I think the judge had to rule this way. He didn't contradict the part of the contract that says Google can terminate any account; he just said that regardless of any account termination, Google still has to pay you money if they owe you money. Duh. The account holder presented evidence that Google owed money, and Google presented no evidence that they didn't. End of story.

I remember when Paypal seemed like the most awesome idea since the invention of money, and I remember when they waited until there was a lot of money in my account and then tried to close that account. Is Google only examining accounts to see if they fit the terms of service once they owe the account a lot of money ? It would seem uncharacteristic of them, based on what I know of the company, but it is not implausible. It's the type of shitty thing big corporate bureaucracies do.

Looks like Googe send in a pretty useless paralegal to defend their case. Instead, if they had send you (or someone with the same arguments as you), they'd have probably won.

I think it is fairly obvious what this guy did wrong. I am just surprised Google's paralegal was not apt enough to figure this out.

The argument wasn't that he hadn't done anything wrong, it was that he was not informed what he had done wrong. He admitted to violating the ToS.

AFAIK, to win a small claims court, you still have to prove that you deserve the money. I see nowhere in the story he admits to the judge that he violated to ToS. He simply used the lack of customer service at Google/AdSense to win this case. As I mentioned it is amazing that Google sent an unprepared para-legal to defend themselves.

On the contrary, it would have been amazing if Google had sent a highly trained lawyer to deal with this. The amount in question, about $760, is probably less than a day's wages+benefits for a Google lawyer.

If you want to optimize for justice, there are plenty of failures in Google and Google's ad programs. They seem to be pretty clear about their intention of optimizing for profit, though.

As the article states, lawyers aren't allowed in small claims court.

The same para-legal would have sufficed with better preparation -- finding out the reasoning for account termination (i.e., non-content domain).

Do small claims have any bearing on legal precedent? Could someone site the legal reasoning in this case to also sue Google for their small claims, or even higher amounts?

No, (at least in Canada) they do not. Small claims is not judged by a "real" judge and those courts do not have the ability to set precedent. Same with most traffic courts. Of course you can always bring up the judgment in another small claims court, just won't be taken as rule of law.

> I see nowhere in the story he admits to the judge that he violated to ToS.

It was the difference between their right to terminate for no reason and any reason.

1. He didn't mention that to the judge. 2. That is not an admission of anything tangible.

"Since lawyers are not permitted in small claims court, Google instead sent Stephanie Milani, a Litigation Paralegal."

Drat. She's not on LinkedIn.com. I was going to invite her to this forum to have her tell the other side.

It sounds like she just wasn't told (or didn't bother to look up) why Google terminated his account. She couldn't even say for sure if he violated the TOS!

There's nothing wrong with placing ads on a site where there is nothing but ads. What if someone was looking for something? They click the ad.

If you are buying ads space from Google I'd be more concerned about their endorsement of people allowing their widget to blend into other people's sites. I was on a website a couple months ago where the person set up Adsense so nicely that it nearly fooled me into thinking it was part of their menu. If it had been your ad, I would have unwittingly clicked and you'd owe Google and the owner of that site money.

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