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Google trainee costs company $10 million after hitting the wrong key

By midian182 · 30 replies
Dec 7, 2018 at 6:18 AM
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  1. The mistake happened during a group training exercise in which Google employees were shown how to use the company’s in-house ad placing system. The Financial Times reports that one worker “went further than intended” and submitted a live buy order into the system.

    The error caused a fake advert, made up of nothing more than a yellow rectangle, to appear in numerous websites and apps across the US and Australia for around 45 minutes on December 4. “As soon as we were made aware of this honest mistake we worked quickly to stop the campaigns running,” said Google, in a statement.

    If that doesn't sound bad enough, the trainee placed the order at around ten times the normal price for the ads. At $25 per CPM (cost per thousand impressions), it was much higher than the usual $2 - $4 market price.

    Not only was the ad placed on Google’s AdX, but it was also placed on several ad exchanges, which helped ensure it reached a wide audience. Google has promised to “honor payments to publishers for any ads purchased.” It never revealed exactly how much this mistake cost the firm, but the FT believes payments to publishers and cleanup bills put it at around $10 million.

    Google says it now has safeguards in place to ensure such a costly error never occurs again. No word on what happened to the employee.

    Permalink to story.

     
  2. TechGamer

    TechGamer TS Evangelist Posts: 418   +60

  3. Cycloid Torus

    Cycloid Torus Stone age computing. Posts: 3,617   +986

    Wow...and I thought I felt really bad when my first ever program went into a loop and used up the Physics Dept budget for the month.
     
  4. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 4,425   +2,885

    Back in the day there was a new Xerox saleman that inked a $10,000,000 deal which was the biggest in the history of the company. When the contract was completed, signed, and recorded the salesman noticed a terrific mistake ..... the contract had stated the cost to the customer was only $1,000,000. The salesman had to meet with the president of Xerox and break the news, fully expecting to be fired but to his surprise his boss told him he would not fire him but had to figure out how to write off $9,000,000 in training costs.

    It will be interesting to watch Google and see how they treat this employee ........
     
  5. petert

    petert TS Maniac Posts: 297   +120

    Huh? HR and the direct line manager are responsible? You have to have a training protocol in place and enforced. Risk minimization and stuff. It is done with companies with as low as 100 people, I reckon google is bigger than that.
    And I don't understand what is going on here, the onus should be on Google, not on that unfortunate trainee. Like they bring you for an induction session, you press a button and 45 minutes later you find out you caused 10 million bucks damage. Google was stupid 100%, no doubt about it.
     
  6. senketsu

    senketsu TS Guru Posts: 819   +551

    absolutely and 10 million is pocket change for Google. A lesson learned we hope.
     
  7. dj2017

    dj2017 TS Addict Posts: 130   +113

    So, imagine people getting a tour on a carrier and having access to it's weapons. I would expect a multi billion dollars company does have safeguards when we are talking about trainees and doesn't wait for something to happen to realize that it needs them.
     
  8. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 3,070   +1,548

    (y) (Y)
    Letting a trainee on a live system for a company like gagme is, IMO, just plain idiocy.
     
  9. Squid Surprise

    Squid Surprise TS Evangelist Posts: 2,100   +1,134

    So one simple order can make Google $10 million in 45 minutes... shows you how crazy rich this company is!
     
  10. psycros

    psycros TS Evangelist Posts: 2,316   +1,929

    I wish every browser that's isn't Chrome included full blocking of ad networks, tracking and the rest of it. I want to see the entire spymarketing economy crumble to dust.
     
  11. Kibaruk

    Kibaruk TechSpot Paladin Posts: 3,614   +1,098

    Tell that to the shareholders lol
     
  12. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 10,785   +4,592

    "The mistake happened during a group training exercise in which Google employees were shown how to use the company’s in-house ad placing system."

    And there is the problem. Not having a training system for the trainee. As large as Google is they should know not to give trainees access to operational systems right off the bat.
     
    ForgottenLegion, Godel and senketsu like this.
  13. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 12,359   +1,389

    Lesson to Management: YOU DON'T do training on the live system -- use the development version :sigh:
     
  14. Rees

    Rees TS Member

    Could be worse: rm -rf / as root
     
  15. Faplyboy

    Faplyboy TS Rookie Posts: 22

    The best that could happened to him is to get promoted to a customer...
     
  16. brucek

    brucek TS Rookie

    They're lucky he didn't bother putting anything cutesy in his yellow rectangle, which I'm bet plenty of others do while playing with the "fake" "training system."
     
  17. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 12,359   +1,389

    I've actually seen rm -f */* (OUCH)
     
  18. treetops

    treetops TS Evangelist Posts: 2,261   +358

    Makes me not feel so bad about causing around 100$ damaging a pump hose fitting and a pressure gauge at work today :).
     
    SalaSSin and Whippets like this.
  19. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 10,785   +4,592

    We have all had our moments.
     
  20. dogofwars

    dogofwars TS Booster Posts: 116   +41

    There is bugs that cost more than that ;)
     
  21. Khanonate

    Khanonate TS Booster Posts: 138   +24

    Google says it now has safeguards in place to ensure such a costly error never occurs again. No word on what happened to the employee.

    Gulag?
     
    senketsu likes this.
  22. Ming CHOW

    Ming CHOW TS Member Posts: 21

    I was a Corporate Account manager and QA Officer. Had a state manager who stole my IT deal in a different state. Not only he stole the deal, he ruined any of my future deals with the company for an amount of AU $90,000+ per year for 20 years by today's prices. He was offered a choice by the CEO. Resign or be Fired. He left with a resignation letter that was emailed throughout the company.
     
  23. baskiria

    baskiria TS Enthusiast Posts: 56   +29

    And you got your comission at the end?
     
  24. EClyde

    EClyde TS Evangelist Posts: 1,589   +570

    Too bad. Google wipes their *** with this everyday
     
  25. TechGamer

    TechGamer TS Evangelist Posts: 418   +60

    But this is microsoft so no linux anywhere near training/standard domain controlled PC's.
     

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