updated 03:18 pm EDT, Wed April 30, 2014
Purported timeline alleges advertising host mistreatment since 2009
An individual who purports to be an ex-Google AdSense employee is claiming that the search engine is intentionally blocking payments to otherwise-deserving websites. The person making the claims posted a document to Pastebin on Tuesday alleging proof, with a timeline spanning 2009 through 2012, that Google gives preferential treatment to some sites, and shuts down other sites and keeps the money accumulated.
Google AdSense allows publishers in the Google Network of content sites to serve automatic text, image, video, or interactive media advertisements that are targeted to site content and audience. These advertisements are administered, sorted, and maintained by Google, and they can generate revenue on either a per-click or per-impression basis. The program has been running since 2003 in one form or another.
Google categorically denies the claims saying that the document is "a complete fiction." Google admits to shutting down some sites, to "stop bad actors and protect our publishers, advertisers and users." Google's policy on a website shutdown is to refund any accumulated funds in a shuttered account to the advertiser, and not to company coffers.
The document alleging proof of Google's misbehavior claims that "We were told to go and look into the publishers accounts, and if any publisher had accumulated earnings exceeding $5000 and was near a payout or in the process of a payout, we were to ban the account right away and reverse the earnings back."
The ex-employee goes on to claim that the employees "felt really uneasy about the whole thing, but we were threatened with job losses if we didn't enforce the company's wishes. Those who voiced concerned or issue were basically ridiculed with 'not having the company's best interest in mind' and not being 'team players.'"
Google employee Matt Cutts said on Hacker News that "I can tell you from personal experience that the terminology is incorrect and the allegations are completely at odds with my direct experience. I'm also hearing multiple, strong confirmations from the ads side that this post is completely fake."