ShoeMoney Sues Google Employee For AdWords Violations

TechCrunch recently ran a story about my arch rival Shomoney suing an employee of Google for violating the AdWords T&C.

Google has a policy to protect trademarked names from being bid on. For example, Google won’t allow you to use the word “Dell” in any AdWords ad because it’s a registered trademark. Unless you get permission from Dell, you can’t use it. Shoe has a registered trademark for “Shoemoney” to protect him against dirty marketers trying to profit from his name.

About four months ago, shoe noticed ads for “Shoemoney” that point to the domain Shoe’s attempts to contact Google and the offending parties went unanswered (so did a C&D). It took a court ordered subpoena to find out who the owner of the site was because the domain was set to private.

Shoemoney Google Search

With his real name in hand, Schoemaker finally managed to get in touch with the alleged violator. The defendant claimed to be unaware of any breaches of Google’s Terms of Service or the Shoemoney trademark. Schoemaker isn’t convinced, stating that “he played dumb every time and was very deceitful with his responses”. To make matters worse, the defendant attempted to clear his name by sending Schoemaker a screenshot of his account featuring a list of keywords he was targeting – a list that Schoemaker says was incredibly similar to his own.

His Name Is Keyen Farrell

I decided to do a little more digging into the case and found out the person Shoe is suing is Keyen Farrell and his farther, John Farrell. A source, who shall remain nameless, forwarded me a copy of the Shoemoney complaint. You can read it here (right click and save as).

It appears the Keyen Farrel is an employee of Google. His profile at LinkedIn states that he is an AdWords Account Strategist. However, the title has since been removed. Mr. Farrell was featured in this article stating he makes up to $45,000 per month bidding on Google AdWords.

If Mr. Farrell is indeed a Google AdWords employee, then he must know that you can’t bid on trademarked keywords. Also, the keyword Shoemoney has already been placed into Google’s filter so it won’t show up in an ad. It would require someone with inside access to be able to circumvent it. The fact that Mr. Farrell’s keyword list is very similar Shoe’s may mean he used his position at Google to take a peek at Shoe’s keyword list.

I am unclear as to whether Google has a policy that prevents its account strategists from bidding on AdWords. If it doesn’t, it should definitely put one in place. The conflict of interest is pretty clear and the abuse of power can be pretty high.

If Mr. Farrell does indeed work for Google, I have a feeling he won’t be working there much longer. That will be the least of his worries once Shoe gets done with him. I’ll add to this post as the case develops.

53 thoughts on “ShoeMoney Sues Google Employee For AdWords Violations”

  1. Greg Ellison says:

    I am glade that he finally found the person. Hopefully this guy will pay Jeremy for the damages that he caused. Greg Ellison

    Greg Ellison’s last blog post: My Birthday April 7th

    1. Nice! Perhaps there will be justice served for marketers everywhere!

      Chris Jacobson’s last blog post: Dissecting the Value of Twitter Followers vs. Blog Readers

      1. MAX says:

        I hope Keyen Farrell does get crapped soon.

        MAX’s last blog post: Bally Fitness ( – The Worst Fitness Center Ever!

        1. Ryan McLean says:

          I doubt that he will pay for the damage that he caused.
          The end result will probably be him fired and banned from Google Adwords for the rest of his life

          Ryan McLean’s last blog post: Creating Ebooks Easily – How To Make Money With a Flop

      2. Jake Stone says:

        This is a good lesson for all shady marketers, you need to cover your tracks better. With Google Cash Detective there should be many opportunities to copycat successful campaigns. I believe that the industry is moving towards shrinking margins and the way to make money in the future is to create online properties, just like Shoemoney is doing.

        Jake Stone’s last blog post: Jon Waraas – a man in need

  2. Simon says:

    Google should definitely fire this guy.

    What amazes me is the websites he’s sending these visitors to looks so lame.

    Simon’s last blog post: How To Tell Which of Your Pages are in Google’s Supplemental Index

    1. When you are setting up thousands of scam sites you don’t have time to make them look pretty~ ha

      BlogTipsForBeginners’s last blog post: Why YOU Should Start A Blog – The Top 10 Reasons And 26 More

  3. Keyen needs to be fired now. He’s bad for business & I doubt Google would want their name to be tainted some more because of him.

    I’m glad Shoe didn’t just sit back & let him get away with it. Keyen thought he was being slick, but it got him nowhere in the end.

    TYCP Entertainment Magazine’s last blog post: Courtney Van Dusen Interview

  4. Paul U says:

    I am not aware of that policy!

    To think that he is an employee of Google then he claims that he didn’t that policy. Certainly he is lying.

    Paul U’s last blog post: Clickbank now accepts the Philippines

  5. wosoho says:

    i can’t believe that google Employees will be risk for just 45000 one month, their salary Much higher than the amount.

    wosoho’s last blog post: Google怎么了?

    1. I don’t know what fantasy land you live in, but Google employees don’t make all that much. $100K or so is the average, which this guy is generating in just over 2 months!

      In his eyes, I guess the risk was worth it. Crazy stuff!

      Zander Chance’s last blog post: It’s Craptastic!

      1. Das Brain says:

        You got a point…Keyen Farrell thought he could get away with it, and didn’t think ShoeMoney would be on top of things.
        Well…he was definitely wrong, and the risk I guess wasn’t worth it. ShoeMoney sure knows his stuff.

  6. Shoemoney’s ties to Google are kind of ironic. On one hand he’s most famous for the picture with the $136,000,000 check from Google, but on the other hand he’s not afraid to sue their employee for stealing information. Shoe certainly knows his rules, so he’ll be around for a while. Also, what’s the deal with the rumor on Google buying Twitter? Is that dead?’s last blog post: On Global Poverty: The one that got away

  7. Upon first reading, the Farrell landing page reminded me of the Shoemoney style. I thought, wrongly as it turns out, that the bro-ha-ha was an exercise in self-promotion. But then I always look for the funny side.
    I hope you have a very happy day.

    FunnyChixDotCom’s last blog post: Outrageous Funny Picture for Today. Bizarre, Weird, Wacky, Whatever! FunnyChixDotCom

    1. Jake Stone says:

      No wonder many were fooled to think it as legit albeit goofy advertising. Now, what do you think, is the Joaquin Phoenix really marketing something or has he lost his marbles? It could also be just clever marketing.

      Jake Stone’s last blog post: Jon Waraas – a man in need

  8. Wow, crazy detective work; this was a great piece. Makes you wonder how many other instances of manipulation and profiteering may be occuring at major search outfits that have gone undetected. Google is generally a highly ethical company (at least they could do much worse, comparatively speaking), and I’m sure they’ll react strongly and insert safeguards if this transpired as you suspect.

    Darwin’s Finance’s last blog post: Advanta High Yield Notes: 8.5% – 11% Yield Worth the Risk?

  9. Hopefully Shoe can resolve this matter and get back his hard earned image without it being tarnished be scammers. This case is going to damage Google and hopefully will change they way Google operated.

    [email protected]’s last blog post: Positive Wednesday & Thursday Earings Watch

  10. Google is a highly ethical company. I am pretty sure that the employee will be fired.
    Shoemoney is justified by suing Google though. Such mistakes take consumer confidence off your brand.

    Making Web make Sense’s last blog post: Now run Ubuntu (Linux Operating System) within Windows

  11. Wow, that sounds like a HUGE problem. I hate dealing with trademarks and intellectual property issues, because it’s all part-and-parcel of unscrupulous people and their actions. If the weasels didn’t exist, we wouldn’t have to worry about this junk. Good luck Shoe. And thanks for sharing this John, even if Shoe is your archrival 🙂

  12. Teen Forum says:

    Good on Shoemoney for suing, this guy needs to be sorted out using his position in Google and breaking the rules of the company he works for!

    Teen Forum’s last blog post: Teenager Advice Zone Social Networking Profiles

  13. Karl Foxley says:

    I think it is great that Shoe has pursued this as it acts as a deterrent to others wishing to act in a dishonest way.

    Google need to be clear about what their employee policies are and maybe make them public in this situation to protect their brand.

    Thanks for sharing.


    Karl Foxley’s last blog post: The Easiest Way To Build New Affiliate Websites And Niche Mini-Sites

  14. Rahul says:

    Lets hope this case gets solved and quickly. Because the defendant does not even has a case. This is a win win situation for Shoemoney.

    Also lets hope Google takes this case seriously and that justice is done and soon. Cause, justice delayed is justice denied.

    Rahul’s last blog post: Global fight against Polio

  15. Nice move from Schoemaker. Put Keyen Farrell and others like him away.

    Amilcar Tavares’s last blog post: Caridade:Água

  16. Obviously Google has to tighten its internal controls after this incident. But the fact that this person has not been fired yet shows Google has not taken this case as serious as it should.

    Peter Lee

    Work At Home Blog’s last blog post: Less SEO Tags for More Visitors

  17. Good for ShoeMoney to sue! When will people realize that there will always be consequences for their bad actions? Karma!

    Online Business Resources’s last blog post: 4 Entrepreneurs Who Are Dedicated To Helping You To Start An Internet Business

  18. Vladan says:

    Incredible. How can this happened. This proves, that inside of Google there is no control over a keys persons like this one.

    Hopefully they will react and put some sort of control on a strategic persons like this.

    Vladan’s last blog post: How to connect and use VM Explorer from Trilead

  19. Well this one is really shocking news. But I think shoemoney is always in some kind of controversy.

    [email protected] Marketing Blog’s last blog post: An Affiliate Network Run By Affiliate Marketers

  20. This is crazy stuff. Google employees spending their time running Google Adwords campaigns!!! WHAT? Seems on the level of insider trading to me.

  21. Jimson Lee says:

    It just amazes me what people will do to make a buck.

    Justice may be blind, but it sees in the dark.

  22. Melody says:

    I’m actually…sadly not surprised. There was an AOL employee who had sold I think over 92 million AOL email addresses for 50k to spammers a couple years ago..

    There are people like this all over the workforce..

    Melody’s last blog post: My T-shirt Design Contest Entry

    1. Jake Stone says:

      What’s even more sad is that more people like this are entering the workforce constantly. American dream that was about prosperity through hard work has transformed into prosperity through any possible quick and easy method. Large market for affiliate marketers out there.

      Jake Stone’s last blog post: Jon Waraas – a man in need

  23. Silvia says:

    No doubt Shoe will be able to defend his brand,win the process and gain more popularity.

    Silvia’s last blog post: Полторы комнаты или сентиментальное путешествие на Родину

  24. This is the most impressive campaign Shoemoney has ever put up. A truly astonishing brilliant stunt.

    True story is that Farrell was leaving Google is he is now working for Shoe. Mark my words.

    Black Hat Domainer’s last blog post: Still more freebies

  25. fas says:

    Talk about taking advantage of your position. Well Google will surely fire him.

    fas’s last blog post: Why USB Drives Are So Clever

  26. Over the years I have had many accounts with Adwords, spending a small fortune with the Adwords service. So naturally I have picked up many cost saving tricks. I am aware that most people feel Adwords costs too much and delivers little results, this is completely untrue.

  27. Shoe will win this for sure!

  28. Hi John, I just saw this post from Shoe’s blog. Let us keep updated with regards to the development of this case. I’m very sure Shoe will emerge as the winning entity.

  29. diana rupert says:

    Ye should punished those who breaks the law. I’m sure his well aware of the Terms and Condition of Big G.

  30. Richie says:

    he will suffer of coz..huhu

    Richie’s last blog post: Norman Hakim Dan Fizz Fairuz Berpelukan

  31. Online TV says:

    Good that the thief does not work with google any more. and $45k per month???? This is so much!!!

  32. Seriously, you thought no one would notice??? And a Google employee no less.

    [email protected]’s last blog post: Friday Mix – No. 4

  33. Brenden Lee says:

    I Shoe suing Keyen Farrell and his father alone, or is he suing Google as well? Perhaps Shoe has a case for vicarious liability. I’m not sure if he’d have to prove that Farrell was acting within the scope of employment to have a case against Google as well. This whole thing is quite fishy.

    Brenden Lee’s last blog post: bumbleblee: #JustinNozuka ftw today! (video) @jillybb yuup he’s super talented

    1. John Chow says:

      Shoe is suing Keyen only. He is holding Google harmless in this affair.

  34. Melody says:

    Hey john is this a site of yours?

    –I randomly stumbled upon it..

    Melody’s last blog post: Winning the AzoogleAds/Playboy T-shirt Design Contest…

  35. Now this makes me think twice in using Adwords, I guess Google will fire this guy or can really damage Google image.

    Marketing Business Review’s last blog post: Working From Home Business That Pays You In Your First 24 Hours

  36. And I think that Google need to keep a close eye on their other employees.

    TYCP Entertainment Magazine’s last blog post: Courtney Van Dusen Interview

  37. Azam says:

    john if your name ‘JOHNCHOW’ is also a brand like ‘SHOEMONEY’ the i think you can also sue adword because they are using your name also i have send you an email with an image of that ad..
    reply me if its useful for you….

    Azam’s last blog post: Data Types in Java.

  38. Free Movies says:

    i think ,Keyen Farrell does get crapped soon.great post dear…keep it up.

    Free Movies’s last blog post: Top Ten Highly Anticipated Hollywood Movies of 2009

  39. Bill says:

    Great article, John. I didn’t realize ShoeMoney was your arch rival. I thought you guys were buddies (i.e. strategic partners)? Also, you misspelled a word. Farther => Father.

  40. Wow… That’s fierce of Shoemoney!

    Exposing SEO Techniques’s last blog post: Listen to Howard Stern Exposing a Screeching Beyonce

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