Google v. The Lecture List

Google v. The Lecture List

The Lecture List is a non-profit site that aims to promote public speaking across the UK. The site was launched with a generous grant from NESTA but for the last two years has been entirely supported by the time and money of its founding editor Billy Clark. Billy collects Google Adsense revenue to help with the hosting costs (which are ever growing as the service’s popularity increases).

Recently, Google has decided that the site has infringed their terms of service and have decided to deduct the value of six months hosting.

I’ve complained to Google (see letter below) and I know that if you value the existence of services such as The Lecture List, you’ll want to complain to Google as well.

If you’d like to share your outrage at Gooogle’s behaviour, please contact:

Ema Linaker
UK PR Specialist
+44 (0) 20 7031 3130
ema@google.com

Debbie Frost
International PR Manager
+1-650-253-4660
dfrost@google.com

Thanks,
Dug

Dear Google, On 27/10/05, Google AdSense <adsense-adclicks@google.com> wrote: > Therefore, we have deducted $971.38 from your account. This amount
> represents the earnings previously credited to your account from invalid
> clicks. If you deduct $971.38 from Mr Clark's account, you will be terminating The Lecture List. The Lecture List is a high-profile UK educational charity that relies entirely on Google Adsense to pay its hosting bill. Remove Adsense revenue and you remove the hosting. Aside from the fact that the $971.38 was NOT the result of illegal clicks and that you cannot prove that it is, you are making a grave mistake. I'm sure Google wants to be supporting (or seen to be supporting) noble, public-service initiatives such as the Lecture List and that on reflection you will change you mind and refund every penny to Mr Clark. I don't wish to sound threatening, but I can assure you that the disappearance of the Lecture List (and Google's corporate greed) will not be a private affair. You may wish to consult with your legal department and your press office before replying. > We also request that you remove the following language from your
> website:
>
> "Click on a Google Ad
> It's just pennies, but every little helps." Thanks, we'd be happy to remove this (because of course, as a charity with too much cash on our hands, we don't want people clicking on our Google ads), but could you confirm you are OK with the copy on our home page: "Any ad revenue is entirely reinvested into the Lecture List's operating fund" > If we find your account to be in violation again May I point out that YOU DIDN'T FIND us in violation, I wrote to you for advice on making sure the Lecture List didn't break any rules. Finally, it's a well known fact of life that charities are often excused from the terms of onerous contracts such as yours. A simple example of this is that charities don't pay tax and donations to charities are tax deductible. I find it surprising that while the Unites States Treasury is willing to cut non-profits some slack, a publicly owned company such as Google takes a harder line. All the best, Dug Falby Technical Consultant
The Lecture List