How does Google get away with not paying?

by dp40oz
19 replies
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All these horror stories of people who've gotten their accounts banned has left me wondering how Google legally gets away with not paying them their final check. Granted if you were blatantly breaking their rules they shouldn't have to pay you but they should have to give you a description of what it exactly was you were doing. From what I hear this doesn't happen.

Also a "terms of service" does not hold complete and total legal power. I know this from when I was threatened to be sued by a huge well known website until they realized their terms of service was garbage. You can't just say in your terms of service "We hold the right to terminate any account we see fit" basically as Google does and expect it to legally hold up. Especially if a large sum of money is owed and the offense that caused the money not to be paid is minor or never explained.

So my question is how does Google get away with it? How does Google never get sued for this from legitimate sites that were banned for no good reason? And has anyone fought Google legally over this?
#google #paying
  • Profile picture of the author Headfirst
    You signed a contract with them. You violated the terms of the contract so you don't get paid.

    Google isn't "getting away" with anything. These are the terms of the agreement you entered with them.
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    • Profile picture of the author dp40oz
      Originally Posted by Headfirst View Post

      You signed a contract with them. You violated the terms of the contract so you don't get paid.

      Google isn't "getting away" with anything. These are the terms of the agreement you entered with them.
      Sure but when they don't explain what it is you did to violate their terms, then that is not legal. A company can't just say "you violated our contract" and thats it. Their must be detailed reasons. Just because Google holds a lot of the cards doesn't make them god. You made them money and now they've decided not to pay you for it. Thats the key here you still MADE THEM MONEY. That should be emphasized. Yes if its click bombing, sure they give their advertisers their money back but if its something like your ad was misplaced or no privacy policy, well Google is still charging advertisers for those clicks. You still made them money and they decided not to pay you.

      Like I said a terms of service is not an end all be all. I know this from a 1st hand experience and that didn't involve me getting paid money which would have been even worse for the website I had dealings with.
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      • Profile picture of the author Headfirst
        Originally Posted by dp40oz View Post

        Like I said a terms of service is not an end all be all. I know this from a 1st hand experience and that didn't involve me getting paid money which would have been even worse for the website I had dealings with.
        It all depends. It sure can be the be all end all. In mist cases it comes down to lawyers and war chests. It's a risk assessment. Is it cheaper to settle? If they win, do you have the money fir them to come after you for the legal expenses?

        Don't make a blanket assumption about a tos because of one experience. Always speak with a lawyer if you are unsure of the validity or strength of a legal document.
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        • Profile picture of the author dp40oz
          Originally Posted by Headfirst View Post

          It all depends. It sure can be the be all end all. In mist cases it comes down to lawyers and war chests. It's a risk assessment. Is it cheaper to settle? If they win, do you have the money fir them to come after you for the legal expenses?

          Don't make a blanket assumption about a tos because of one experience. Always speak with a lawyer if you are unsure of the validity or strength of a legal document.
          Im sure their TOS will hold a lot of strength legally but I don't see how legally they get away without paying people when from what I hear their justification is "you did something wrong, we're not telling you what it is but its something and now we don't have to pay you" I just don't see how that is not challenged legally more often. The only thing I can think of is that these people who claim their adsense accounts were banned were doing things obviously against the TOS and do know exactly why they were banned.
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  • Profile picture of the author dburk
    Hi dp40oz,

    Google doesn't want to reveal all details of your violation because they know that some unscrupulous operators would use that knowledge to game the system.

    It would also tend to define a bold line of what is acceptable. You might ask why would Google see that as a bad thing? Google realized early on that when they make it very clear where the minimum expectations fall that a large number of webmasters would stop putting effort into improving their website once they reach that minimum expectation.

    The problem with that is that it tends to lower the overall effort many webmasters will put into their websites, creating a standard based on the lowest common denominator. Google made a decision years ago to avoid that issue by making specific details of where they draw the line a bit ambiguous so as to encourage webmasters to go the extra mile to be on the safe side. It is a strategy that has worked well to encourage many webmasters to put extra effort into building higher quality websites.

    Lets face it, Google doesn't want to encourage content publishers to build the absolute minimally acceptable websites and end up with network of the highest number of the lowest quality websites to serve their ads.
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  • Profile picture of the author paulgl
    You did not read the legal binding contract:

    PARTICIPATION IN THE GOOGLE ADSENSE ONLINE PROGRAM INDICATES THAT YOU ACCEPT THESE TERMS AND CONDITIONS. IF YOU DO NOT ACCEPT THESE TERMS AND CONDITIONS, PLEASE DO NOT REGISTER FOR OR PARTICIPATE IN THE GOOGLE ADSENSE ONLINE PROGRAM.

    Google shall not be liable for any payment based on: ....

    a result of any breach of this Agreement by You for any applicable pay period. Google reserves the right to withhold payment or charge back Your account due to any of the foregoing or any breach of this Agreement by You, pending Google's reasonable investigation of any of the foregoing or any breach of this Agreement by You, or in the event that an advertiser whose Ads are displayed in connection with Your Property(ies) defaults on payment for such Ads to Google.
    Most people do not read each and every bit of TOS, guidelines, etc.

    Huh. Funny thing. That last line I quoted makes it clear that if google does not
    get paid, then you don't get paid. That's really covering all bases.

    Paul
    Signature

    If you were disappointed in your results today, lower your standards tomorrow.

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    • Profile picture of the author dp40oz
      Originally Posted by paulgl View Post

      You did not read the legal binding contract:



      Most people do not read each and every bit of TOS, guidelines, etc.

      Huh. Funny thing. That last line I quoted makes it clear that if google does not
      get paid, then you don't get paid. That's really covering all bases.

      Paul
      I still think if any legal pressure was put on them they would eventually have to disclose to webmasters why the TOS was broken. I think thats my biggest issue. Ive never heard of a contract or a TOS where you can make a business money and they can decide whether they will pay you or not, and if they decide not to they don't need to give you any reason for it. It just seems a bit sketchy.
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      • Profile picture of the author dburk
        Originally Posted by dp40oz View Post

        I still think if any legal pressure was put on them they would eventually have to disclose to webmasters why the TOS was broken. I think thats my biggest issue. Ive never heard of a contract or a TOS where you can make a business money and they can decide whether they will pay you or not, and if they decide not to they don't need to give you any reason for it. It just seems a bit sketchy.
        Hi dp40oz,

        Yes, you may be able to get specific information about why you were banned if you wage a very expensive court battle. However, since you would be the plaintiff, they wouldn't be required to reveal that information and would only do so if they saw it being in their best interest for the proceedings. Google has a strong vested interest in keeping such information confidential and probably wouldn't be compelled to reveal the information outside of the Judge's chamber.

        The bottom line is you are probably never going to be able to force Google to reveal information that would seriously damage their business and they would likely fight vigorously to defend the viability of their business.
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      • Profile picture of the author Headfirst
        Originally Posted by dp40oz View Post

        I still think if any legal pressure was put on them they would eventually have to disclose to webmasters why the TOS was broken. I think thats my biggest issue. Ive never heard of a contract or a TOS where you can make a business money and they can decide whether they will pay you or not, and if they decide not to they don't need to give you any reason for it. It just seems a bit sketchy.
        Sure, but do you have the $250k it would take to get started waging a legal battle with the big G?

        Odds are they would owe you a whole lot less than it would cost to fight it.
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        • Profile picture of the author Aki Fagno
          Originally Posted by Headfirst View Post

          Sure, but do you have the $250k it would take to get started waging a legal battle with the big G?

          Odds are they would owe you a whole lot less than it would cost to fight it.
          Precisely. That's the big deal if you decide to initiate a legal battle with Google.
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      • Profile picture of the author yukon
        Banned
        Originally Posted by dp40oz View Post

        I still think if any legal pressure was put on them they would eventually have to disclose to webmasters why the TOS was broken. I think thats my biggest issue. Ive never heard of a contract or a TOS where you can make a business money and they can decide whether they will pay you or not, and if they decide not to they don't need to give you any reason for it. It just seems a bit sketchy.
        I agree they should have to at least tell you why you've been banned.

        The thing is, If you are ranking good in the SERPs & piss off the wrong person at G, they could remove your site from the SERPs.

        If I ever lost my account I would simply move on. Actually I'm working on plan B now (before anything ever happens) with a few of my own sites.

        I've been running their Ads for 4-years & follow the TOS the best I can, I still know they have to be running an automated system to help ban sites, no way they could keep up with all the publishers with a human review.

        I also know they don't have time to deal with anyone that isn't making them millions of dollars a year.

        My advice to everyone banned or not banned, start working on new sources of online income, it's out their, you just have to be creative.
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  • Profile picture of the author johnalex157
    Because google is god.. and nobody can question god..
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    • Profile picture of the author yukon
      Banned
      Originally Posted by johnalex157 View Post

      Because google is god.. and nobody can question god..
      Google is far from being God.

      If you don't believe me look up BIDU, & the history they have with Google.

      Baidu owns 75% of the search market in China. A couple of years ago Google thought they would take over China like every other country for search, they thought wrong, China kicked their a$$ out of the country.

      So, Google setup shop in Japan trying to route China traffic, another failure at attempting to bully their competition.

      BTW, I did the research a couple of years ago while all this was happening & in the news.

      I bought into BIDU back before Google got booted from China, my stock is up 598.27% (not a typo).

      Baidu owns the China search market, China is 20% of the worlds population.
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      • Profile picture of the author vij
        Originally Posted by yukon View Post

        Google is far from being God.

        If you don't believe me look up BIDU, & the history they have with Google.

        Baidu owns 75% of the search market in China. A couple of years ago Google thought they would take over China like every other country for search, they thought wrong, China kicked their a$$ out of the country.

        So, Google setup shop in Japan trying to route China traffic, another failure at attempting to bully their competition.

        BTW, I did the research a couple of years ago while all this was happening & in the news.

        I bought into BIDU back before Google got booted from China, my stock is up 598.27% (not a typo).

        Baidu owns the China search market, China is 20% of the worlds population.
        Yes, its almost like China takes special interest in pushing US interests out. Partly the reason why many rx and gambling domains are now registered with chinese registrars. They don't care 1.5 hoots for US laws and practices.
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        • Profile picture of the author paulgl
          There was a guy last year who boasted he took google to small
          claims court and won. He did. Problem was, the defendant can
          appeal. Google did. And they won the final judgment.

          This is part II of the man's blog post, crying in his beer about
          the big mean google.
          Aaron Greenspan: Why Google Bothered to Appeal a $761 Small Claims Case (and Won)

          Google used the same tactic I pointed out above. You signed up for adsense. On
          doing so, you agreed to ALL rules. They did spell out a couple of rules, one which
          should be noted is: "created a page where ads were the only links"

          People in the past have pointed out the man's win, but failed to report that he
          eventually lost.

          People should not sign up, then don't follow the rules, then complain
          they don't get paid. Google does not cancel people for no reason, contrary to
          popular belief.

          Paul
          Signature

          If you were disappointed in your results today, lower your standards tomorrow.

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          • Profile picture of the author yukon
            Banned
            Originally Posted by paulgl View Post

            There was a guy last year who boasted he took google to small
            claims court and won. He did. Problem was, the defendant can
            appeal. Google did. And they won the final judgment.

            This is part II of the man's blog post, crying in his beer about
            the big mean google.
            Aaron Greenspan: Why Google Bothered to Appeal a $761 Small Claims Case (and Won)

            Google used the same tactic I pointed out above. You signed up for adsense. On
            doing so, you agreed to ALL rules. They did spell out a couple of rules, one which
            should be noted is: "created a page where ads were the only links"

            People in the past have pointed out the man's win, but failed to report that he
            eventually lost.

            People should not sign up, then don't follow the rules, then complain
            they don't get paid. Google does not cancel people for no reason, contrary to
            popular belief.

            Paul

            He lost the case when he decided to create a parked page with regular Adsense Ads, instead of Adsense for domains.
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  • Profile picture of the author afam4eva
    I got banned by Google adwords and i've asked them severally why iwas banned but they've refused to get let the cat out of the bag. Now if i kiss google's butt like someone suggested. how will i know i won't commit the same offense because i don't know what it is.
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  • Profile picture of the author smwordsmith
    All these horror stories of people who've gotten their accounts banned has left me wondering how Google legally gets away with not paying them their final check.
    How Google gets away with it is in their TOS.

    Granted if you were blatantly breaking their rules they shouldn't have to pay you but they should have to give you a description of what it exactly was you were doing. From what I hear this doesn't happen.


    Even if you violate the TOS unknowingly (vs. blatantly), Google is not going to read the TOS to you to show you what you did wrong.


    Also a "terms of service" does not hold complete and total legal power. I know this from when I was threatened to be sued by a huge well known website until they realized their terms of service was garbage. You can't just say in your terms of service "We hold the right to terminate any account we see fit" basically as Google does and expect it to legally hold up. Especially if a large sum of money is owed and the offense that caused the money not to be paid is minor or never explained.
    Whether an offense is minor or never explained does not negate the fact that it is still an offense.

    So my question is how does Google get away with it? How does Google never get sued for this from legitimate sites that were banned for no good reason?
    You are assuming that there are legitimate sites that have been banned. I doubt that this is the case, as someone said earlier.

    And has anyone fought Google legally over this?
    Looks like, according to the responses in this thread, that someone has but lost. You could try a class-action lawsuit but the only ones who will get rich there are the lawyers.

    Participating in Google's AdSense program is completely voluntary. They pay you, you don't pay them.

    Google's AdSense TOS is freely available and completely understandable. And Google has a "no exceptions, no excuses" policy when it comes to TOS violations.

    If you sign up for AdSense with the idea that you are going to 'game the system' in anyway, you will lose. Like thousands of others before you.

    Play the game by their rules and you win.
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    Sheila

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