13 марта 2009

Aaron Greenspan: Why I Sued Google (and Won)

08:01 09.03.2009

Aaron Greenspan: Why I Sued Google (and Won)

Aaron Greenspan: Why I Sued Google (and Won):

On January 15, 2009, I walked over to the Santa Clara County courthouse in Palo Alto, which conveniently fell within the same county lines as Google’s home of Mountain View, and filed a civil small claims lawsuit for $721.00—the amount Google owed Think when it disabled the account—using form SC-100. For a total of $40.00 in court fees, I arranged for Google, Inc. to be served by certified mail. The hearing was scheduled for March 2, 2009.

Since lawyers are not permitted in small claims court, Google instead sent Stephanie Milani, a Litigation Paralegal. During the short last-ditch-resolution period before the hearings on the afternoon schedule began, Ms. Milani argued that I must have done something wrong to deserve my fate. When I asked her what, she didn’t know. The AdSense engineers had not told her.

“Google can terminate your account for any reason,” she told me.

“Not any reason,” I said. “Not because I have blue eyes. Or brown eyes.” After being told to quiet down by the courtroom guard, we decided that we had reached an impasse, exchanged documents, and went back into the court room.

Arguing before that day’s pro tempore judge, I pointed out that my company had done nothing wrong to deserve termination of the contract, that Google could not prove any wrongdoing, that Google’s fraud detection algorithm was imperfect by definition (since one cannot intuit moral intent through mathematical analysis), that advertisers must already agree to bear risk as part of the AdWords terms and conditions (clause 5), and that Google had gone to great lengths (including eliminating the ability to view account records) to make it difficult to dispute anything—all while owing Think money. In fact, terminating accounts for “posing significant risk” just when they started to earn significant amounts of money seemed like a great way for Google to cut accounting liabilities in a difficult economic climate. After my explanation, the judge had a question.

“What was the reason Google gave you for disabling your account?”

“Beyond, ‘posing a signficicant risk to advertisers,’ they didn’t give a reason.” I said. “I don’t know.”

Google’s Ms. Milani didn’t know either. She argued that advertisers had already been refunded my $721.00, even if they hadn’t asked for a refund. She claimed that Google could terminate accounts for any or no reason, and that I had agreed to such terms by signing up for AdSense in the first place. She even said that I’d admitted to violating the terms of service when I sent in my appeal form, because I had mentioned that my new domain name was only a placeholder site.

In fact, clause 6 of the AdSense for Content Terms and Conditions does not allow Google to terminate accounts for “no” reason—only “any” reason. Much to my amusement, the judge interrupted her to make a point that sounded familiar.

“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.”

Ms. Milani reiterated her previous arguments, but the judge didn’t buy them. “I don’t think I have the power here in Palo Alto small claims court to make you reinstate his account, but I think you owe this young man $721,” he said finally. “I think there might be money in Google’s treasury for that.”

In the end, printed on a baby blue sheet of paper by the clerk’s aging dot matrix printer, the judgment was actually entered for $761.00 total, due to the $40.00 court costs. I couldn’t help but to smile in front of the judge.

“But it’s not fair!” Google’s paralegal protested. “What if everyone whose account was canceled sued Google?”

It’s a valid question. Yet until Google changes its policies to become more transparent, which might also reassure skeptics that AdWords and AdSense, which have oddly limited reporting capabilities, aren’t just two sides of the same ponzi scheme (for why else would one want to terminate legitimate accounts with high monthly liabilities when they’re supposed to be making money for Google on each click?)—I will give this answer:

Maybe everyone whose account was canceled, should.

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What to do?

you have site designed in a dark theme, saying dark background, white font.
By default google toolbar autocomplete cracks html for inputs or selects containg "email" "name" "address" and other buzzwords and changes background to yellow. As a result when visitor fills form, he enters text as white on yellow and can not easy validate his input
What to do?



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