david vs goliath

Lowly AdSense publisher Aaron Greenspan had his day in court with Google...and won. Goliath was slapped with a $721 judgement, plus an extra $40 in court fees.

Almost exactly a year ago, Mr. Greenspan added his site, Think Computer Corporation to the AdSense roster of publishers. Nine months later his account was cancelled and the $721 he was owed by Google was never paid.

Google never gave Greenspan a reason for the cancellation, and claimed it didn't have to. According to the AdSense T&Cs, as well as the Google paralegal who represented the search behemouth in Santa Clara county small claims curt in Pala Alto, "Google can terminate your account for any reason."

Tell it to the judge - well, actually, that's what Google did. His response: "But you couldn't terminate my account because of the color of my eyes, could you? I have brown eyes. You couldn't terminate my account because of that."

Not everyone behind a cancelled AdSense account has Mr. Greenspan's tenacity. But if they did, imagine how much clearer the rules would be.

Rebecca Lieb

Published 6 March, 2009 by Rebecca Lieb

Rebecca Lieb oversees Econsultancy's North American operations.

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Comments (4)


Essex Search Marketing

I have had something similar happen to my adsense account in the past.  I have never done anything illegal and always run my adsense account fairly.  I know do not use adsense because of it.  I wonder if the courts in the UK would take the same stance?  Anyone have any cases / stories?

over 9 years ago



I had adsense running on my email marketing website. I have since removed it after hearing so many compliants about it. No thank you Google :)

over 9 years ago

Vincent Amari

Vincent Amari, Online Consultancy at Business Foresights Ltd

Very happy to hear about this win from a small publisher.

The stance Google takes on terminating someones income has always been something that I've never likes, and suprised there has not been a more aggressive fight against it.

I really thing MS and Yahoo should take advantage of this ruling, and promote their own versions as more 'publisher friendly'

"We will never terminate your account without a reason, and promise to comminicate with you in advance and explain our reasons for any concerns"

... or something like that ;-)

over 9 years ago


Harvey Mechanic

That author was fortunate, as he lived in the same county as Google's headquarters.  For the rule for California courts is that a corporation or association may be sued only in the county where the principal place of business of such corporation is situated (some exceptions apply)
---End of Excerpt--

Further, the Google agreement for services for Adsense probably indicated that any action needed to be in Santa Clara County.

Harvey Mechanic
Attorney at Law
Member of New York Bar

over 9 years ago

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