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The Story of the Day Google AdSense Wrote a Bad Check

Adsense-By-The-NumbersMobile Jones has one of the funniest yet familiar sounding posts (and an update) regarding Google sending her a bad check.

It tells the story of one AdSense publisher trying to communicate a simple problem with a company that has, for good reason, become a little too impersonal for their own good.

I’ve personally had pretty good service from the AdSense team, particularly since they opened an office here in Australia, but I’m sure many bloggers will find the story familiar, not necessarily because they’ve been sent bad checks (although I did have a lost one once and had to wait 6 weeks for another to be reissued) but through attempting to get a personal response.

Looking forward to seeing what the next step in the story is!

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. HH! says:

    I don’t know how many adsense accounts are out there but taking care of all them must be a huge mess. The problem is in the customer service department.

  2. Mike Goad says:

    I guess I need to get switched over to electronic payments. I can just hear my wife now, “And the reason we’re still getting a check from them is…?

  3. AhBoon says:

    That was a biggest joke I’ve ever heard from Google.
    In fact I’ve got once the check was late. I have received their second check but the 1st yet to come to me. I wrote to cancel the 1st one, and got it on the next month. Same as Darren.

  4. cooliojones says:

    Darren, do you think that if more publishers demanded more from Google by way of customer service, that they would eventually bend and give it to us? I think a billion set aside will pay for a good 10,000 employees to help.

  5. MoneyNing says:

    cooliojones: I don’t believe publishers will get a better treatment unless the competition offers a better product and google is “forced” to improve in order to compete.

  6. I’ve not had any bad payments (thankfully), but when I expanded from publisher to publisher/advertiser recently, I had a heck of a time getting any sort of response (related to what I was asking) via the AdWords team. I swear they sent me the same canned-e-mail response three times.

  7. Tony says:

    There is a lesson in all this. If you look at any big company not just Google you will see “Treat em Mean Keep em Keen” I am starting to wonder if the treating your customers nicely is not the best policy. I have yet to deal with 1 large company that has treated me nicely yet I still do business with a lot of them.

  8. This just sounds like a confused bank teller.

    Also, Google says AdSense checks aren’t for cashing:

    https://www.google.com/adsense/support/bin/answer.py?answer=32858&topic=8452

    This, I gather, means that you’re supposed to deposit the check into an account rather than go to Google’s bank and try to cash it. I’m sure she would have had no trouble with the check had she done so.

    The bank teller probably could have explained this correctly rather than giving her the ridiculous line about “insufficient funds”, but I don’t think incompetent bank tellers are really big news these days.

  9. Chee Kui says:

    Lol.. seriously, I thought this is so out of the world. I mean, we’re talking about Google..
    I am surprised things like that would happen..
    Phew..

  10. April says:

    It’s odd to me that people find it strange for a large company to drop the ball like this. It has always been the larger companies that have screwed me over.

  11. Dave Starr says:

    I am an AdSense publisher. I was also an AdWords advertiser. About two months ago Google emailed me that I could not continue to use my AdSense login. I had to change to a “Google Account” email. The one I wanted to use was the one I used for AdWords as well as GMail. “No, you can’t do that” I was told. After two weeks of emali … some from a polite but most obviously ESL customer service rep, I emailed way up the chain to folks on the Google corporate site .. and a return email from a person in AdSense I had worked with before. It said “fixed … we deleted your AdWords account.” Huh? Isn’t that where Google makes their money to begin with?

    Yep … in order to achieve some sort of internal revamping of email login rules, Google would rather lose an AdWords customer than simply allow people to use a legitimate, Google-based email.

    The final word from the obviously “hard of thinking” AdWords support folks? An email that said, “Your account is terminated, do _not_ attempt to open another”. Hmmmm I wonder what the chances of that are?

  12. Sam says:

    What I find interesting about this story is the power that bloggers have to influence general opinion, in this case about big corporates, for better or for worse.

    IMHO, and with no disrespect to the poster, a handful of dissatisfied customers out of 70 million bloggers (this figure is taken from the image included with the post) is a pretty good hit rate for Google! Even if you consider that the number of adsense users is much less than that, that’s still pretty good.

    It used to be that few people would hear about the bad customer service incidents from a generally well-behaving company. The difference is that now bloggers have a much wider audience, and linking spreads the word around very quickly. This ability to influence is power, and I think bloggers should use this power responsibly. Better than to post a story-in-progress is to post the whole story once it has come to an end. I’m a bit put-off sometimes by bloggers’ tendancy to shoot from the hip.

    They teach in business school that a happy customer tells 3 others about the service they received, while an unhappy customer tells 13. I think the business books might have to be re-written on that one!

  13. Niranjan says:

    It seems that there are so many people who are frustrated with google :P .

    I really hope that it wont happen with me :-S

  14. Samir says:

    An unfortunate story. And since I had more to say about it than I could put here without writing an obcenely large comment, I made a post of it.
    Google Writes a Cheque, Hilarity Ensues

  15. AskaX says:

    well it could be happen to anyone, there is no such thing as 100% on business no matter how big they are….

    and 1 thing… hopefully not happen to me :p hehehe…

  16. Sue says:

    As has been mentioned before, both here and on the mobilejones site, the checks are for deposit only. I personally think Google went out of the way to help her, but she either didn’t understand the rules, or know what “for deposit only” means.
    Well, the tale gets her a lot of traffic anyway, I’m sure.
    And if anyone is concerned about letting Google have access to your bank account, create one strictly for your adsense deposits and/or other ad revenue and go the electronic funds transfer route. It really is the best way.

  17. Debo Hobo says:

    That’s google for ya! Accountable to no-one.

  18. Rich Minx says:

    Dave Starr: The same thing happened to me because I have an Adsense and AdWords account with two different logins. They asked me to consolidate to one login, so I tried but the system told me that wasn’t allowed. Since then (nearly six months) I’ve simply being clicking ‘Skip This For Now’ when asked to change. Hopefully I can keep doing that forever…

    It is very difficult to contact people in person at Google and get past the automated emails.

    On the bright side, they just emailed me that I can now use direct wiring (my account location is based in New Zealand and so it’s a new service.) Bye bye waiting for snail mail checks!

  19. etienne teo says:

    i think they have quite a few accounts on hand, and recently john chow also got his problems with his adsense check! http://profit-line.blogspot.com/2007/07/john-chow-unable-to-cash-out-his.html

  20. mkp says:

    There has to be a logical financial reason for this to happen. I’ve never had a Microsoft check bounce. Oh wait, I’ve never received a Microsoft check.

  21. Jimson Lee says:

    Mistakes happen!

    Come on, haven’t we all bounced a check or went over our credit limit on a credit card once in our life?

  22. Peter Cooper says:

    Why are people still using the check system with Google anyway? I can understand if you’re in a country Google don’t cover, but the ease of Google putting the money into your account nice and fast within 30 days is just a million times better and easier. Get with the times check folks :)

  23. mobilejones says:

    #8. The check I received was out of cycle and not drawn on Citibank. It was drawn on Wells Fargo.

    There are other instances of problems with Adsense checks. Interesting that those are difficult to find with a Google search – at least someone here said that. I haven’t tried. I did find one on digg though.

    http://krynsky.com/my-check-from-google-bounced

    I’m betting there are others.

    Darren, I’m pretty sure that Adsense isn’t the best option for monetizing mobilejones.com. Certainly, my intention is to close my Adsense account once this situation has been resolved. I recall that when Guy Kawasaki posted about the low return from Adsense on his blog you made some recommendations as to the tools and ad networks he should use. Any ideas for me?

    In addition, given the new metrics of “time on site” over page views announced by Neilsen, how does that change things for we tiny publishers? Would love to hear your thoughts on how that will change the game.

  24. Andrew Shim says:

    They’ve got some problems with their payment system me thinks. My check was delayed for 3 weeks last month due to a “technical” error. hmmm….

  25. Stuart says:

    Well I’m no big fan of Google’s but in their defence I have to say that this month’s cheque was actually early – by at least a week.

    And another interesting point is that both this month’s cheque – and last month’s cheque – were drawn on their usual US bank but posted from Sweden.

  26. feelphones says:

    my best check 181.27$ !Now i try to more than

  27. harriett says:

    I’m so sorry – I posted a comment twice – please delete one! Not trying to spam you!

  28. Paul Bradish says:

    I use direct deposit for that very reason. The less checks in my mailbox and more direct deposits to my bank account, the less problems that may arise (bounce, lost, etc.) – not to mention the fact that I don’t have to take a trip to the bank.