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Google Runs Out of Money, Writes a Bad Check

written by John Chow on July 14, 2007


Imagine walking into your bank to cash your Google AdSense check, only to find out that Google doesn’t have enough funds in their account to cover it. Well, that is exactly what happened to this AdSense publisher.

So, today I go to cash the check. I’m standing at the teller window, and realize, gee – this is taking a long time. She looks up at me and says, “There aren’t sufficient funds in the account to cover your check.” *stunned silence* I say, “Excuse me, could you repeat that?” She does.

First, denial and disbelief. I say, “Are you sure? Do you know who Google is? You’re kidding me, right?” She says she does know who Google is, but that this particular account doesn’t have enough funds to cover my check. I’m too stunned to move. I look down at the check handed back to me and look back up at her confused.

Next, shock and awe. I say to the teller, “How does a gazillionaire company like Google have a bank account with so little money in it?” She laughs. I laugh. What else is there to do?

If you think that is funny, you need to head on over and read the voicemail hell our shocked and awed publisher went through to try and get someone to answer why Google sent her a bad check.

I’m sure Google will eventually clear this all up, but it’s still pretty funny. I hope she doesn’t need the money to live on because it maybe another month or two because everything is corrected.

I wonder how many bank accounts Google has? You think all their accounts would have overdraft protection on it, but I guess not.

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Bloggeries July 14, 2007 at 3:27 pm

That’s totally unbelievable. Maybe they did have overdraft but that was exhausted already. Either way pretty crazy that it happened and I agree getting another check issued will probably take some patience.

Bob July 14, 2007 at 3:37 pm

They probably have a set limit per month and someone else just claimed a huge check or something.

Steven July 14, 2007 at 5:11 pm

From the way it sounded, the check doesn’t seem to be big. It sounded more like one of those that finally hit the $100 mark but I could be wrong.

Marc July 14, 2007 at 6:25 pm

Didn’t need to be big, if they were close to their limit, it can just be bad luck. Wrong check at the wrong time.

a video a day July 14, 2007 at 6:52 pm

i’m sure it’s bigger than $100, and i’m sure google would’ve got 100 in their account

a video a day July 14, 2007 at 6:50 pm

but still, it’s google we’re talking about

Pam Hoffman July 14, 2007 at 8:27 pm

This seems highly unlikely to me. Remember the guy on ebay with the wedding dress? It was a STORY – I got a direct source who spoke with the man.

If you want attention for your_____ (blog, site, you fill in the blank), what better way than to work up something OUTRAGEOUS!?!

And it’s working! John Chow carried the story, who else?

Think about it. The bank doesn’t clear the check right there in front of you. Everything gets _entered_ during business hours. At midnight, the process of sorting everything out gets going. SUPPOSEDLY your deposits are handled first, then your withdrawals. This may not still be happening (from personal experience) yet nothing with CHECKS goes on right then and there.

It’s all handled by computers way afterhours.

You can’t even call the bank to learn if there are sufficient funds on a check that someone wrote you (and once upon a time, you COULD) so that you could go and cash it.

Another point. The bank is most likely going to try to CASH that check since they can charge YOU if it doesn’t work out. They WANT your money – our bank is up to almost $30 a go!

Remember what I said before about the bank? For every dollar they obtain, it is a value of $10 for them. When they run your google check (or your friend’s) and it doesn’t clear, it means almost $300 to them!! Would you pass that up?

Neither do they.

I bet this turns out to be a publicity stunt; just like the man in the wedding dress on ebay.

2c worth,


simon July 15, 2007 at 12:19 am

You mean it just a link bait :mrgreen:

Debo Hobo July 15, 2007 at 8:25 am

Exactly, this person probably got banned and is trying to make a dig at Google. What better way to do it then to to bring thier business integrity into question. Google is not rinky dink, they have high priced accountants and book keepers (bean counters) to handle all of thier many accounts.

The bank as mentioned by Pam (hey pam, thanks for visiting my blog by the way I replied to the comment you left)must follow a processing hiearchy. The check would have been processed funds would have been on hold until the check cleared etc.

Shame on mobilejones for what sounds like a bogus post. I am not a fan of Google, they banned me years ago so I know the frustation that is felt when they shut down your account and keep your earnings. But to post this type of post is unethical.

cooliojones July 14, 2007 at 10:22 pm

I read this story before it broke over here, and it seemed kinda legit, but you never know. I want to say why would someone go through so much trouble to fabricate a story just to get traffic, and besides, if she does have an AdSense account it wouldn’t make sense to lie about Google because that’s just asking for them to shut her down. They shut people down for things that make no sense left and right.

Lewis Empire July 15, 2007 at 10:02 pm

All the money in the world.

Sam Breadstone July 14, 2007 at 3:30 pm

Man, why does google have so many accounts?

Marc July 14, 2007 at 6:27 pm

Mitigates liabilities. If anyone manages to defraud them, they can’t get cleaned out for massive amounts, only large amounts.

a video a day July 14, 2007 at 6:52 pm

is that so!

website copywriter July 16, 2007 at 3:16 am

Yeah, big companies — even paranoid small-time entrepreneurs — have multiple bank accounts so they’re very much into allocation of funds.

Goob July 15, 2007 at 10:37 am

Yeah, it makes sense not to keep all your eggs in one basket, so to say.

Lewis Empire July 15, 2007 at 10:03 pm

They may have a different account for every State or area because of accounting regulations. Plus, they probably wanted their free iPod so they switched to TD Bank in Canada…

Eric July 14, 2007 at 3:44 pm

I have two words for those who wish to avoid this – Direct Deposit.

feve July 14, 2007 at 4:41 pm

yeah, i’d say Google is trusted enough for direct deposit. and it’s a lot less hassle.

a video a day July 14, 2007 at 6:53 pm

that’s one way around it

Lewis Empire July 15, 2007 at 10:05 pm

Why would Google be any more trusted than a Mom-and-Pop retailer? I’ve read a lot of things about how low security is for Google. What are you going to do if money goes missing? Sue Google?

cooliojones July 14, 2007 at 10:24 pm

You think she was trying to get one of those nig ShoeMoney checks so she could take a picture and show the world?

Mybloggo July 14, 2007 at 11:44 pm

But not available in my country

Freebies July 15, 2007 at 10:29 am

Amen, I didn’t even know people still went to banks and cashed “checks.” :lol:

Goob July 15, 2007 at 10:29 am

Amen, I didn’t even know people still went to banks and cashed “checks.” :lol:

website copywriter July 16, 2007 at 3:22 am

And hope against hope that the money does go through when they say it will.

Paul July 14, 2007 at 3:46 pm

This is fairly common. I’ve heard of this several times before. Examples are all over the internet. It’s most likely an accounting error.

a video a day July 14, 2007 at 6:55 pm

i’ve never heard a problem with google adsense before

i hope i can make the 100 mark pretty soon. to be honest i’ve only made 1 dollar since

J July 14, 2007 at 9:50 pm

Don’t feel bad. I’m still at $0.00.

cooliojones July 14, 2007 at 10:25 pm

You all have got to be kidding me. No really. video, you’ve only made one dollar since your site has been up?

mason July 14, 2007 at 11:05 pm

I used to make so much, now I make like .01 a click LOL… then again i don’t really mess with adsense anymore.

Webmaster Money July 15, 2007 at 3:11 am

This is link bait from you… I had to go and check your site how it looks like because I think you have to make some cash with your site.

Poor Man's Tech July 14, 2007 at 3:49 pm

How is something like this even possible? The only thing I can think of that might be more disturbing is trying to cash your government pension and being told Sorry, but the government doesn’t have enough money in their account.


a video a day July 14, 2007 at 6:57 pm

hmm, then you’ll be in deep trouble and your country as a whole

Lewis Empire July 15, 2007 at 10:07 pm

Isn’t the US almost there already? Lucky they just print money at will. No problems there in the future…

website copywriter July 16, 2007 at 3:25 am

Probably just an accounting problem, I agree with one of the commentators.

James Wilcox July 14, 2007 at 4:06 pm

Not only is this unbelievable, but it’s completely unacceptable. I realize Google is a ginormous corporation at this point, but this sounds awfully underhanded to me. It’s like when my work decided to change our paychecks from semi-monthly to bi-weekly and delayed our first paycheck by a week. You know they are trying to keep the money as long as they can to earn interest on it. Evil.

G July 14, 2007 at 4:17 pm

Once corporations get large enough they don’t simply have bank accounts, they a “corporate treasury”. Managing cash in the treasury is a tricky balance trying to optimize between internal/external investments, handling quarterly budget deficits/surpluses, accounts payable/receivable, and keeping just enough cash liquid in chequing accounts. So yeah, incidents like this are not terribly suprising.

Poor Man's Tech July 14, 2007 at 5:16 pm

You’re right, but you know that Google would be “all up in someone’s stuff” if the mistake was a little nobody cutting them a bad check.

Lewis Empire July 15, 2007 at 10:10 pm

I bet Google can afford to pay the best people to make sure this doesn’t happen. Sounds like a bit of a gimmick to me.

Harry Potter 7 July 14, 2007 at 4:42 pm

Come on is a joke

a video a day July 14, 2007 at 6:58 pm

well, it sounds pretty real to me

Pam Hoffman July 14, 2007 at 8:37 pm

Ponder this as well. In this day and age, way too much is TRANSPARENT!

Let’s say google DID have a bad check.

Well, let’s back up a second here. If they have ONE bad check due to insufficient funds, they have hundreds. Think about it.

If google DID have x amount of bad checks, who would know about it?


This would be EVERYWHERE – google can’t afford bad press like that. Remember what happened with eBay and google? Everyone knew about it pretty darn quickly. Even I.

The world is now like a small town. Everyone is all up in everyone’s stuff – unless you are completely unknown, have nothing going on in the world and won’t affect another darn soul beyond yourself and your household.

I’m willing to open my mind to the possibility – this seems HIGHLY UNLIKELY though!


David July 14, 2007 at 4:48 pm

Direct deposit is better and quicker!

Webmaster Money July 15, 2007 at 3:13 am

I dont understand why people use checks at all. It is slow and slow an slow and expensive.

mybloggo July 15, 2007 at 7:07 am

People use check Because Google Direct Deposit services not available for their country..Just like me

mybloggo July 15, 2007 at 7:08 am

“People Not using”

Real Estate Editorial July 16, 2007 at 10:26 am

DD is the way to go.

shman July 14, 2007 at 5:06 pm

Lol, nice… even google makes “small” mistakes.

website copywriter July 16, 2007 at 3:30 am

Google makes mistakes?!? :shock:


sandossu July 14, 2007 at 5:26 pm

Things like this can happen to everyone, but it’s unpleasant for her.

browie July 14, 2007 at 5:51 pm

I have a feeling it’s more of a glitch than google not having cash. Like others have said they have so many accounts, I’m sure.

Casey July 14, 2007 at 5:53 pm

Weird, haha. Would never expect that from Google!

Paypal2u Bloggers July 14, 2007 at 6:05 pm

Hahaha… I’ve laugh a lot today after reading this post. There’re still tears in my eyes.

How come all the money they get from Adwords didn’t appear on their bank account. I personally think that Google should paid highest attention to this matter.

Anyway… What do you think the future of Google. Is’t suffer the same fate as ENRON (the CEO running away with the hefty sums of money)… hahaha..

a video a day July 14, 2007 at 7:03 pm

it’s not that funny

Lewis Empire July 15, 2007 at 10:12 pm

The CEO died! I bet the Google guys don’t want that to happen! Right now Skilling is sitting in jail for the next 20…

Marc July 14, 2007 at 6:30 pm

I have to say though, given the volume of checks that they send out on a monthly basis, they must be running a pretty good % error.

What is ridiculous though, is that it wasn’t easy to remedy. I don’t mind when people make mistakes, but you have to own up to it and make it right as painlessly as possible.

Andrew Shim July 14, 2007 at 6:35 pm

I think Google has been having problems with their payment systems.

4 months ago, my monthly earnings showed different values for six month and one year period.

Then, my payment for June was delayed by 3 weeks. After 3 emails, they responded saying there was a technical error that affected a “small percentage” of publishers.


website copywriter July 16, 2007 at 3:35 am

Clearly, it’s not a question of whether Google has the money, because they have lots. It’s more of an error in procedure and accounting, if anything.

al July 14, 2007 at 6:38 pm

try to search for : google bad check
in google and yahoo. Seem only one story. If it’s right perhaps just a glitch. 0.00000000% percent of issued check.
peace :grin:

Mybloggo July 14, 2007 at 11:48 pm

Ya this only few ppl will face this in the world……

Webmaster Money July 15, 2007 at 3:16 am

There is more than 1 story.

Desty July 14, 2007 at 6:42 pm

More than likely adsense is incorportated as an individual entity, and Google is simple a majority shareholder. For legality reasons Google and Adsense would have separate accounts.

HSBC Credit Card Application July 14, 2007 at 6:56 pm

funny story.. imagine if this actually starts happening on a regular basis.
What happens if the check gets cleared a day late? is google going to pay the interest on that one day?

Lewis Empire July 15, 2007 at 10:13 pm

Are you kidding? They’re more likely to charge you for the right to get your money a day late!

Yumcha Girl July 14, 2007 at 7:05 pm

I just got my second Adsense cheque! Better cash it quick by sounds of things :wink: July 14, 2007 at 7:30 pm

That is incredibly hilarious. Better cash it the day it comes :-)

bob cobb July 14, 2007 at 8:35 pm

everyone should be using direct deposit anyway. No trip to the bank, and you get the money in your account quicker

Lewis Empire July 15, 2007 at 10:15 pm

Doesn’t anyone else see anything wrong with giving out your bank account number? Please at least tell me that it’s a separate business account. People say they trust Google then say that they are capable of evil. They’re a corporation just like everyone else. Would you send your banking info to Enron or Worldcom?

website copywriter July 16, 2007 at 3:39 am

Having an entirely separate account for AdSense direct deposit transactions is ideal. You just wire the amount to your personal account as soon as it gets in.

pbirm July 14, 2007 at 8:44 pm

Hey all I know is Google better transfer my check to my account or else all hells gonna break loose! :evil: I’m sure it was a rare event! But wouldn’t that me a nightmare if Google after all this time was a scam and they were on the verge of filing bankruptcy. The Enron of the Internet! Now that would be a story! Blogger would jump out of windows!

Jay Tillery July 14, 2007 at 8:46 pm

Come on John! You can’t be that gullible to believe Google doesn’t have $$ in the bank to cover checks they send out. I can’t believe I am even reading this story but the idea is to get people commenting on it and you did just that. Great way to drive traffic to her site as well. I did a search on “google” + “bad check” and the stories only point to her site and digg. John, I read in your e-book that you should take the time to check your posts before posting. You just hit the publish button on this before thinking what you were posting. Maybe it’s humor in your opinion, but I think it’s a good way to show people how to be dishonest.

Wan July 14, 2007 at 9:29 pm

Same as the Rich Twin Poor Twin story of losing $200K in adsense earnings.

Both are linkbaiting stories!!!

cooliojones July 14, 2007 at 10:33 pm

Oh just to let everyone know, there is no relation between me and mobilejones!! :) But I did want her to stop by my site and leave a comment.

mason July 14, 2007 at 11:03 pm

wow wtf.. never heard of that one.

Blog Make Money July 14, 2007 at 11:16 pm

I get direct deposit so i do not have to think about bounced check. But the story is interesting.

Wahlau.NET July 14, 2007 at 11:25 pm

can that happen? How much is the check amount?

Mybloggo July 14, 2007 at 11:42 pm


simon July 15, 2007 at 12:14 am

How big is that check :?: :?:

website copywriter July 16, 2007 at 3:40 am

Probably three figures at best.

Etienne Teo July 15, 2007 at 12:41 am

Maybe the guy who was suppose to cash in did not do it and the boss had given him a lecture already~ :roll:

Bob July 15, 2007 at 2:05 am

Google Has more money than they know what to do with, this story is being spread by someone who is
upset with Google for losing rank. They should be careful Google has rooms full of lawyers with not much to do.

dubaibase July 15, 2007 at 3:35 am

It is crazy thing to hear like this for a new bloggers like me…


CatherineL July 15, 2007 at 3:36 am

I’m glad Google pay me direct into my bank account.

Fable July 15, 2007 at 4:59 am

Wow. That’s pretty unbelievable. I’d be horrified if that happened to me. Lucky for me they deposit my earnings directly into my bank account, too. :)


cooliojones July 15, 2007 at 3:21 pm

You better believe that I’m getting that direct deposit option too! Cuts down on these types of issues, or things getting ‘lost’ in the mail.

Goob July 15, 2007 at 10:31 am

I’m not sure what’s more unbelievable. That Google didn’t have enough funds or the teller didn’t know what Google was…

ouchs July 15, 2007 at 12:26 pm

The day every Google checks bounce is the day I make $1,000,000/day :evil: :lol:

mobilejones July 15, 2007 at 1:46 pm

I’m only going to comment on all the cynicism once – other than on I do agree that it’s always a good idea to question what you read. However, if my goal was to drive traffic as some have mentioned, then I would have ads on my site. I’ve been an Adsense publisher since 2005. So, I do know how to monetize traffic. The absence of any ads to captialize on traffic from this story was intentional.

The story is true. I’ll have an update on how this all gets resolved soon.

As to the EFT option, if Google can’t recover from a system fault to an address change for a full month, I really don’t want them mucking about in my checking account.

Jason July 15, 2007 at 1:58 pm

It’s not that suprising. A lot of big companies forget to pay the little guy. My brother used to work in accounts payable to a shipping and receiving business. I can’t name the big companies, but I know for sure that they don’t pay until you hound them for the money.

website copywriter July 16, 2007 at 3:44 am

But it’s probably safe to assume that there are more “little guys” in the AdSense payout world than big ones. It was either an isolated case of extremely bad luck, or it’s a complete sham from the beginning, IMHO.

ben July 15, 2007 at 8:28 pm

This sound funny actually, but i really wonders how this GOOGLe can run out of money ? Big…really! how come no money!.

it’s really hard for me to trust this story as i never recieved any check from google :)

Hmmmm so how true is true then?

ronnrezel July 15, 2007 at 11:47 pm

Yeah it maybe true that google runs out of money!
And that is why the reason they come up with new Adsense rules :mrgreen:

read more about what happen to Google Adsense

Etienne July 16, 2007 at 2:18 am

i just spoke of you in my blog, and how mobilejones also got a ridiciously call on this. Anyway i was also checking on how google still stands as the number 1 for Most Significant E-Biz Development

Real Estate Editorial July 16, 2007 at 8:46 pm

Big Company or Small Company no excuse for a check to bounce.

Michael Fultz July 16, 2007 at 9:21 pm

As they say, the deal ain’t done until the checks are cashed.. I wonder what kind of NSF fees Google has to pay…

lionstarr July 17, 2007 at 3:19 am

Don’t do evil – but write bad checks…

James July 20, 2007 at 1:50 pm

It is sign the end is near. :mrgreen: