Google Gets Slapped with Lawsuit for Denying AdSense Publishers’ Payments

The entire lawsuit stems from an alleged former Google employee that won't reveal his name

By on May 21st, 2014 11:15 GMT

Not too long ago, an individual who claimed to be a former Google employee was accusing the Internet giant of canceling AdSense accounts just so it wouldn’t have to pay publishers. Now, this case has escalated into a class action.

Despite the fact that Google has strongly denied allegations brought by the unnamed individual, Free Range Content, a company from California, is accusing Google of shutting down its AdSense account so that it could avoid paying them.

The class action claims that the Internet giant denies payments to thousands of website owners and operators, which is against the law. Therefore, it seeks damages for all AdSense publishers in the United States who have had their accounts disabled or terminated and whose payments were withheld by Google.

According to the original allegations, the scandal started back in 2009, but the whistleblower has kept silence until now so he wouldn’t be identified. He explained in a blog post that Google practiced color-coding, which basically meant that publisher accounts were set into categories. Those that could do the most damage by having their accounts banned were placed in a VIP group that was left alone. All others were fair game.

The ones that were most likely to be shut down were the ones that made more than $10,000 per month.

Google has denied allegations at the time. “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,” the Internet giant said.

Furthermore, Google explained that if any publisher was sanctioned, that was because they violated the Terms and Conditions of the services, or the set of policies designed to ensure the quality of the network for users, advertisers and publishers.

An investigation run by TechCrunch at the time found that the allegations were extremely weak. Firstly, the so-called Google employee did not use language consistent with Google’s internal lexicon. Furthermore, the company couldn’t have earned money by running such a scam because it is believed that it refunds advertisers if it doesn’t end up paying publishers.

Furthermore, this would be a really bad attitude for Google, a company that makes most of its revenue off advertising and which needs publishers all over the world.

The lawsuit was filed in the US District Court for the Northern District of California.

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