[LINK] Google Code of Conduct

Jan Whitaker jwhit at melbpc.org.au
Mon Feb 6 09:49:57 AEDT 2012

At 07:37 PM 4/02/2012, Jan Whitaker wrote:
>They also say that they want to hear from users and also require
>(this is a company code of conduct, to yes, require) employees to
>raise issues they see.

Case in point of Fail. The headline is misleading. It took involving 
the Office of Fair Trading to even get Google to respond beyond: 
'computer says no'.

Google restores banned travel website


Julian Lee

February 6, 2012

David v Goliath: In this case Mark Bowyer (above) v Google.

EVEN in this day and age, Goliath can still be humbled by a David - 
in this case a small businessman who went to the regulators after 
Google arbitrarily kicked him off its network.

In December, entrepreneur Mark Bowyer of the travel website Rusty 
Compass outlined his grievances to New South Wales Fair Trading after 
Google ruled his site ''posed a risk of generating invalid activity'' 
- the company's euphemism for click fraud.

He is one of a number of publishers to have found themselves 
arbitrarily locked out of Google for apparently contravening the 
rules around its AdSense advertising program.
Advertisement: Story continues below

Sharing revenue from ads served on sites covered by Google accounts 
for a quarter of its revenues and covers about 70 per cent of the internet.

Attempts to see Google's evidence and appeal directly to a Google 
employee came to nothing, forcing Mr Bowyer to complain to Fair 
Trading that Google was abusing its power by failing to tell him why 
his site was banned and Google was withholding money made from ads.

Last month, after an initial investigation by Fair Trading, Google 
told him that after ''thoroughly reviewing'' his AdSense account it 
had reinstated it and refunded him the $131 it had withheld when it 
had suspended his account last September.

A Fair Trading spokeswoman confirmed that ''full redress was provided 
to the consumer following our intervention''.

While reversal of decisions at appeal stage do happen, it is 
extremely rare for Google to reverse an appeal decision. (Mr Bowyer's 
appeal was turned down last year.)

The chief executive of E-Web Marketing, Gary Ng, said that given it 
was a case of David up against Goliath, Mr Bowyer could have either 
turned to social networks or appealed to Fair Trading.

''There's really only those two options when it comes to Google. It's 
when you make a lot of noise that they'll act.''

Mr Ng, who advises small businesses on search marketing, questioned 
Google's insistence of refusing to deal with aggrieved clients by 
phone or in person.

''How do we know what Google actually does when you launch an appeal? 
We don't. They won't tell you so it doesn't exactly fill you with confidence.''

Mr Bowyer said he was relieved to have the ''reputational slur'' 
lifted, but for four months he was left wondering the fate of his 
two-year-old website, which offers independent advice to people 
travelling to Asia.

''Google still hasn't seen fit to introduce a human into the process. 
Anonymous template emails are still the order of the day. And I still 
don't even know what happened,'' he said.

''Google's market power in platforms like AdSense, search and now the 
revamped YouTube give them a big hand in determining which start-up 
publishers and broadcasters make it and which don't. That's a lot of 
power for a company that refuses to have a conversation.''

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
jwhit at janwhitaker.com
blog: http://janwhitaker.com/jansblog/
business: http://www.janwhitaker.com

Our truest response to the irrationality of the world is to paint or 
sing or write, for only in such response do we find truth.
~Madeline L'Engle, writer

_ __________________ _

More information about the Link mailing list