Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Blocked keywords on Google.cn

About 5 months ago, Mr Xu Zhi Yong's name was blocked by google.cn. It stated that it is possible  to break Chinese laws/regulations displaying the name. It is obviously lying from my point of view. Worse, I was an adwords customer of Google United States. I asked google united states to advertise something in China and I paid for it and google received my payment. And Google.com automatically redirects to google.cn. And my advertisement was not displayed at all. And I was charged by the amount of my payment.

Regarding this issue, I engaged an attorney in Octorber. His company sent a letter to the legal department of Google.com at the beginning of November. Google signed the receiving of it already about 1 week later since then. Unfortunately, there are no respondence from the search giant.

I am hesitating to proceed to further legal actions. But my engaged attorney cannot give me a promise of upper limit of attorney fee once the case started. And I would not have the right to stop it. He told me that Google definitely would fight against me. So the decision of moving forward could be a big financial burden of myself personally.

I decided to publish the content of the legal letter here so that anybody who want to help can contact me. Please comment this blog or drop me an email on yetaai at gmail dot com.

This letter was delivered on,
November 5
, 2009             

 

Via U.S. Mail

 

Google, Inc.             

Legal Department                                                                                   

1600 Amphitheatre Parkway 

Mountain View, CA 94043 

 

Re:               Blocked kewyord on Google.cn;

Confidential - For Settlement Purposes Only

 

To Whom It May Concern:

 

We represent Dongjin Du in the above referenced legal matter.  I write to you in hopes that we may amicably resolve some concerns Mr. Du has with one of his advertising campaigns using Google, Inc.’s (“Google”) AdWords Advertising ProgramAs
this letter is a settlement communication, it is protected by the
settlement privilege codified in California Evidence Code section 1152
and any similar statute in any other jurisdiction. 

 

On or about March 14, 2006, Mr. Du began advertising with Google using Google’s AdWords Advertising Program.  On August 16, 2009, Mr. Du created an advertising campaign around one keyword, _____,” which, in English characters, is the name, “Xu Zhiyong.”  The target area of the campaign was China.

 

The keyword and advertisement was accepted by Google.  On or about August 20, 2009, Mr. Du learned that a search for his keyword on Google.cn produced zero search results.  Instead what would appear was
a note from Google stating that the search results were not displayed
due to local laws and policies.  A search for the same keyword on
Google.com, produced almost 200,000 search results.  Unfortunately, since Google.com is immediately redirected to Google.cn in China, Mr. Du’s advertisement was not displayed in its targeted area.  Mr. Du terminated his advertising campaign on October 28, 2009.

 

Google has publicly admitted to filtering certain keywords given to it by the Chinese government and that the restrictions applied to thousands of terms and websites. 

Xu Zhiyong, a Chinese politician and legal scholar,
was arrested for tax evasion in July 2009, but was released one month
later by the Chinese government.  News sources reported that Mr. Xu’s
name had been blocked
starting at the time of his arrest from search engines in mainland China.  Given that Mr. Du began his advertisement campaign within a month after the arrest, Google was well aware that the keyword was blocked and yet, failed to inform Mr. Du of that fact.

 

Mr. Du’s concern is two-fold.  First, the AdWords Terms and Conditions fail to mention that the chosen keywords may produce zero results due to blocked keywords or websites.  Moreover, Google failed to inform Mr. Du that his keyword was blocked by his target area (i.e. China) and therefore, his advertisement would never appear on Google.  Had Mr. Du been aware of this, he may not have chosen to advertise with Google, or he would have chosen another keyword.  As a result, of Google’s actions, or inactions, Mr. Du lost potential revenue during that period.  Second,
given that his keyword was blocked, Mr. Du’s advertisement could not
have appeared on Google.cn, his only target area.  Yet, according to
his online campaign report, his advertisement had 96 clicks between
August 24 and August 30, 2009.
  Based on these facts, it appears that Google charged Mr. Du for invalid clicks.

 

              For these reasons, we request the following from Google: (1) identification in the AdWords Policies and Terms and Conditions that certain keywords may produce no results due to blocked content; (2)
identification in the AdWords Policies and Terms and Conditions that it
need not inform the advertiser that its keywords or advertisements have
been blocked;
and (3) an investigation and a report as to how Mr. Du’s advertisement campaign received 96 clicks between August 24 and August 30, 2009 when the advertisement never appeared in the target area i.e. Google.cn.

             

              We
hope to resolve these issues amicably with Google, without having to
resort to any litigation.  To that end, we look forward to a response
to our requests described above. 

 

              If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

 

 

Yours very truly,

 

 

 

****                                                                                                                *****

 

 

cc:              client by email

enclosure




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