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.
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?
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
The same para-legal would have sufficed with better preparation -- finding out the reasoning for account termination (i.e., non-content domain).
It was the difference between their right to terminate for no reason and any reason.
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.