Google agrees to pay $ 11 million to suspended AdSense account holders

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Google agreed to create a $ 11 million fund as part of a class action lawsuit to terminate or deactivate a publisher’s AdSense accounts, but not to withdraw any balances the publisher had at the time.

The class action lawsuit filed by a California company called Free Range Content, Inc. alleged that Google would close an Adsense account shortly before making a payment and then refuse the publisher the balance owed on the account.

2. The AdSense program is hugely popular. This popularity means billions of dollars are paid to AdSense publishers annually – Google’s usage of website owners who host their ads. However, as the plaintiff and many other publishers have found, Google AdSense accounts often close shortly before a regular payment is due and then deny the publisher all of the expected payment, regardless of any ads the publisher has already served to visitors to its website during the payment period .

3. This practice has caused numerous bitter complaints, which are described in various places on the Internet. For example, one AdSense publisher who describes himself said: “It is common knowledge that AdSense is turned off a few days before the supposed payout. I haven’t lost a large sum – only $ 2,000, but I know one person who has lost $ 40,000. It was all legitimate traffic coming straight from Google itself, no click fraud, no purchased traffic, etc. PS: I used AdSense from 2008 to 2013 – over 5 years so it’s not just new users getting banned. ” 1

While plaintiffs ultimately believed they had won the case, they also acknowledged in the settlement agreement that they “acknowledge that Google has raised objections relating to both liability and damages, which posed a significant risk that the Plaintiffs would not have prevailed ”.

On the other hand, Google has “always denied – and continues to deny – any alleged wrongdoing. In particular, Google denies that its conduct regarding Google AdSense is in violation of applicable law and stands ready to continue its strong defense, including against the Summary Judgment and Trial. Nonetheless, considering the uncertainty and risks associated with any summary judgment and trial, Google has concluded that further defense of this lawsuit would be tedious and expensive. “

Since both plaintiff and Google realized that this case could have gone either way, they both felt it was in their best interests to settle rather than move on to an expensive case.

As part of the settlement agreement, a fund of $ 11 million will be created with no more than $ 5,000 to class law attorneys, no more than $ 2,750,000 to class action attorneys, and $ 116,045 to attorneys for Costs and expenses are reimbursed. The rest of the money will be used to pay peer group members who have had their accounts canceled or deactivated by Adsense and who have not received their current account balance.

The amount of the payment depends on various criteria

The amount of money paid to a claimant depends on the payment group it would fall under. This depends on whether a dispute notice was sent in a timely manner, when it was canceled, and what Adsense agreement his account was bound to. With “Payment group 1” the publisher receives 100% of the balance, “Payment group 2” 50% and “Payment group 3” 30%.

The minimum amount that can be claimed is $ 3.00 and any remaining distributions will be distributed as a “cy pres” award to be given to the Public Justice Foundation and Public Counsel.

For those whose Adsense accounts have been canceled or deactivated by Google and the balance has not been paid out, you can visit http://www.adsensepublishersettlement.com/ to file a claim.

Should Google’s Actions Be Considered Criminal?

Some are also concerned about Google’s clumsy actions and their actions without consequences.

For example, a Hacker News user was baffled that such an action would not be considered a criminal act. Terminating an account for violating the guidelines is one thing, but taking your money is another thing entirely.

After we posted this story, the Bad Packets Report pointed us to an old Pastebin post from 2014, allegedly by a Google employee, that said these bans were an attempt by Google to increase revenue . Whether or not this post is true is unknown and could be entirely fictional, but it is interesting read.

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