The Google Whistle Speaks Its Mind–and it’s worse than you thought


This is an honest house.


That’s why we’d like to see your husband.


Facing certain criminal charges that might be brought against some people that are innocent, we just feel that it would be…


It’s really for his benefit.


No, it’s not.


No, it’s not.


Debbie, tell them to come in.

From All the President’s Men

Written by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein

Screenplay by William Goldman

Google make a lot of products, Android phones, Google Glasses…but one product they don’t make is the Google Whistle.  As in whistleblower.  New ones dribble out every day from our,  Google whistleblower, Editor Mike.  Here’s a taste.

Remember when Google was caught advertising counterfeit London 2012 Olympics tickets last year?  According to the BBC:

Google is profiting from ads for illegal products generated by its flagship automated advertising system, the BBC has found.

The ads include unofficial London 2012 Olympics ticket resellers, as well as cannabis and fake ID card sellers.

These ads were promptly removed by Google after the BBC brought them to the company’s attention.

Google has also taken down links to illegal Olympic ticket resellers following requests from the police.

But the search giant told 5 live Investigates that the company keeps any money it might make from companies advertising illegal services before such adverts are removed.

So we asked Editor Mike if that was also Google’s practice for all ad publishers on pirate sites who have sold advertising inventory to Google before they are caught.  Notice the difference–one was selling an illegal ad for an illegal product in the case of Olympics tickets, the other was selling legal products on an illegal site–or a site Google judged to be illegal.  (Possibly because it was on an existing blacklist within Google.)

Editor Mike tells us that Google absolutely keeps the money it had been paying to the illegal site.  In fact, it happens so frequently that it seems like it’s part of Google’s business model.

In the case of illegal ad inventory, you would think that Google would refund the money to the brand.  If they did, the brands should be getting fairly sizable refunds every year.

There’s another easy way to prove this for a US-based company–hand over the 1099s for the pirates.  You know, the Chicago way.  He pulls a knife, you pull a 1040.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Editor Mike may have identified a pretty lucrative part of Google’s business:

NBC’s special unit said it recently discovered advertisements for Blockbuster and the U.S. Forest Service on cyberlockers that had trafficked in its content without permission. The ads had been supplied through Google’s AdSense, which places ads related to keywords.

Blockbuster said it had “policies and controls” to stop improper ad placement, but called it an “ongoing challenge.” The Ad Council, which handles ads for the Forest Service, said any time its ads ran on questionable sites, it requested that they be taken down immediately.

After a request from NBC, Google removed the ads, said NBC Universal’s Mr. Cotton.

A Google spokeswoman declined to comment on the ads but said that, as a policy, AdSense ads aren’t supposed to be displayed on sites that contain or link to copyright-infringing content. She noted that the company disables “thousands of accounts proactively, as well as at the result of requests.”

Right…and Google keeps the money…proactively.

Stay tuned folks….