AdSense and Free Downloads

Google relies on automation for keeping out spammers and improving the user experience. For the most part it works very well, and Google will leave you alone.

The problem is when the automated process gets it wrong.This happens a lot, to both AdWords and AdSense customers.

Google treats this as collateral damage – it’s better value to ignore customer complaints than have a human look into them. Unless of course there’s some bad publicity to fix, as in this example.

Author and Iraq war veteran Cody Jackson has a website with AdSense ads on it. He decided to link to the various places where his book could be downloaded for free. That’s right, a book he had written, and made available for free.

The AdSense system decided that he was linking to copyrighted material (in other words, pirated). His account was closed, and his two emails to Google were met by automated responses. But publicity of his plight meant his account was restored. This does of course highlight that thousands of other innocent customers miss out for good. At least with AdSense there are other alternatives. Unlike AdWords, which in some countries has 90% market share.

Google employees better watch out – one day an automated process will decide that Google Inc no longer needs humans to work for it.

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