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

midian182

TechSpot Editor
Staff member

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.

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Uncle Al

TS Evangelist
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 ........
 

petert

TS Evangelist
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.
 
S

senketsu

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

wiyosaya

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

psycros

TS Evangelist
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.
 

cliffordcooley

TS Redneck
"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.
 

brucek

TS Maniac
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."
 

dogofwars

TS Addict
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.
absolutely and 10 million is pocket change for Google. A lesson learned we hope.
There is bugs that cost more than that ;)
 

Khanonate

TS Booster
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?
 
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Ming CHOW

TS Member
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.
 

baskiria

TS Booster
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.
And you got your comission at the end?