Parents Freak When They Get Son's $110K Google Bill

Spanish boy signed up for wrong advertising program
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 11, 2016 11:07 AM CDT
Updated Oct 15, 2016 4:35 PM CDT
Parents, keep an eye on your kids' internet activities.   (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo, File)

(Newser) – If you're going to try to monetize yourself online, make sure you carefully read the fine print. Or ask your mom or dad, as a 12-year-old boy in Spain should've done; instead, he mistakenly racked up a $110,000 or so Google bill. NBC News reports on the unfortunate online plight of Jose Javier, a young trumpet player who simply wanted to get some ad hits (and some cash) for his band. Jose had placed the ad through the company's AdWords program, which he believed would bring him per-click profits. But the service that actually does that is called AdSense—AdWords does the exact opposite, making the ad's creator pay whenever someone clicks on it (the Google explainer page for these two products notes the differences).

And so from mid-August to October, while Jose thought he was reaping internet treasure, he was really building up a giant tab, Quartz reports. Jose's mom got the first bill for just over $21,000 in early September, and the boy's parents put a block on his account. But then they got another bill for close to $87,000, and Google, after reviewing the case, now says the family won't have to pay either one. "We have not received any monies from this user and we are canceling the outstanding AdWords balance," a spokesperson says. As for how a 12-year-old set up the AdWords account in the first place: His mom tells local media he used the bank account number for one of the savings accounts his parents had set up for his future expenses. (A Canadian teen ran up a $7,600 bill playing Xbox.)

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