back to article Google sprays customers with cash in AdWords cockup

Google mistakenly credited huge sums of money into an unknown number of UK customers' AdWords accounts, after some were handed a £100 voucher from Mountain View to redeem on the service. AdWords user Pete Williams told The Register that Google wrongly plonked £75,000 into his account after he redeemed the voucher. "I got one …


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  1. Sam Liddicott

    it costs google nothing

    It costs google nothing because (as I understand) the advertising slots are dynamically auctioned off.

    If there is more money to spend it will slightly raise the price of adverts and so everyone else will be subsidising this give-away.

  2. lglethal Silver badge

    To quote the late great Bill HIcks

    "By the way, if anyone here is in marketing or advertising...kill yourself. Thank you. Just planting seeds, planting seeds is all I'm doing. No joke here, really. Seriously, kill yourself, you have no rationalisation for what you do, you are Satan's little helpers. Kill yourself, kill yourself, kill yourself now. Now, back to the show. Seriously, I know the marketing people: 'There's gonna be a joke comin' up.' There's no fuckin' joke. Suck a tail pipe, hang yourself...borrow a pistol from an NRA buddy, do something...rid the world of your evil fuckin' presence. Thank you."

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      and here he is....

    2. Anomalous Cowlard


      We-the-punters bear the cost of commercial propaganda, that is, messages designed to push us into buying something, not to disseminate facts. Besides, marketing considerations result in all sorts of schemes designed to extract the maximum amount of money from us instead of delivering the best product or service, and, to add insult to injury, these characters sport a total disregard of privacy.

      If I got to decide I would institute a policy where advertising as we know it would be banned. Instead, sellers/manufactures/providers would, upon request supply factual information of their products and services. Any non-provable statement or a provable statement that could proved false would result in draconian punishment, those violating the no-push (explicit request) provision would be treated even harsher.

    3. Lamont Cranston

      Is there anybody left on the internet,

      who hasn't heard this quotation before? It's the thinking man's lolcats.

  3. dotdavid
    Big Brother

    No word from Google

    "Despite all the weird bumps and dips of cash showing up in his account, Williams told us he "still [had] no word from Google on what's going on.""

    That's the worst thing about that company (yep, including the fact that they track your every move ;-)) - they're as transparent as a brick wall. I love their products, but a bit more honesty would be nice from time to time.

    Big Brother because big brothers are supposed to look out for you?

  4. Anonymous Coward

    Job done.

    I was one of the many folks, all perhaps hoping they were the sole recipient of this cock up and if it would ever show up on Google’s audits.

    I wonder how many people took full advantage of this ‘opportunity’ and splashed out on a few high worth keywords? Today, they wake up to a hangover of the excess cash being charged to their accounts. In the meantime, this Google style quantitative easing has increased the amount taken from people who were competing on these keywords. You begin to wonder if the £50 goodwill will be a drop in the ocean for Google, compared to the other increases to them of this ‘marketing campaign’. Hell, even that £50 will be pushing up the amount the others have to pay. Nice to know what Google thinks of its regular advertisers.

  5. goldcd

    £100 - I just got a £75 voucher

    although it's seemingly showing up as £80 when I redeem it...

    1. Anonymous Coward

      It increments

      As best as I can tell the vouchers increment if you don't use them. I started receiving £25 ones years ago, that then went up to £50, then £75, at which point I'd moved back with my parents and registered their company website with Analytics, at which point they started receiving £50 vouchers and are now receiving £75 vouchers.

      Having said that, I could be wrong.

  6. dave 46

    Google really do have zero customer service

    As subject, if it wasn't for their dominant position in advertising nobody would use them - Google docs? You'd have to be insane.

  7. NoneSuch Silver badge


    "But some found that Google had credited their account with £75,000 and then removed £150,000, leaving some customers in the red."

    Obviously a steep restocking fee. They should have read the adwords fineprint.

  8. Anonymous Coward

    Speak to me! Speak to what I am experiencing!

    "...we will have not Google contacts in other parts of the world who work with advertisers using currencies other than the US dollar. For these reasons, I am not able to speak to what you are experiencing"

    For those reasons? Looks to me like an impenetrable language barrier is the biggest problem.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Doe they stop money laundering if this is the scale of their transactions. I could buy some adwords and like carousel fraud have people buy goods then drop them back and repeat.

  10. Richard Jukes


    Nice to see that google are rewarding their regular customers whom spend much $$ a month with them by giving them a voucher. Oh wait, only customers who have not used adwords for quite sometime have recieved a voucher.

    I'll get my coat, obviously im a jealous and bitter loyal adwords customer who spends £150 a month on adwords and would like some nice free vouchers...

  11. Paul 87

    Sounds like ....

    ... someone seriously cocked up their exchange rates! Maybe they replaced the US Dollar with the Zimbabwe dollar :)

  12. Charles Smith

    I got a voucher, but...

    We deleted it from our email.

    As a company we've put Google Adwords on a blacklist. It is not worth the effort when they disapprove valid adverts for no apparent reason. We tried to talk to a human being at Google about this but had no success so after seven years of custom it's been "Bye bye Google..."

    I guess when you have millions of advertisers they won't notice a tiny pinprick like that, it just needs more to join a revolt against poor customer service. The crediting blooper in the article suggest to us that Google are losing touch.

  13. Shannon Jacobs

    Maybe it's a karma thing?

    When a company that preaches too much about not being evil goes EVIL. At least that's how it seems to be going from my perspective--but I can't say so on Google, since they are censoring me. (You see, it all started with a complaint about Google-supported spam, but apparently complaining too much is a violation of the Google ToS as they interpret the legalese.)

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