Does Google Despise Success? Internet Giant Slaps Down Small Catholic Start-up


Catholic Lane launched its new online home for Catholics on February 19, 2011 with a score of Catholic authors who came aboard offering their materials to the public – all because of their generosity and their commitment to Catholic Lane and its audience.

As a small Catholic apostolate with a no offices, a small staff, and no budget to speak of, Catholic Lane decided to rely upon Google Ads to help assist us with paying the web hosting and bandwidth bills.  We know that most people do not like Google ads because Google gives websites very limited control over the appropriateness of the ads they place, but unfortunately it has become an annoyance we must tolerate to help promote the Gospel of Jesus Christ on the Internet.

A mere 8 hours into our venture we received an email from Google explaining that they had decided to shut off our AdSense account with no explanation other than “we’ve determined that your AdSense account poses a risk of generating invalid activity.” Thanks, Google that really explains it all now, doesn’t it?

Our only recourse has been to fill out a web form that indicates someone will try and get back to us in about 10 days.  Scouring the Internet for information on this topic reveals  that others have been subjected to the same high-handed treatment and had their accounts shut down with no explanation as well.  Google’s decision to shut off AdSense is most often based upon their suspicion that a website is an attempt to simulate a real site by creating content from text copied from Wikipedia, etc. It also appears that a reversal of such decisions is very rare.

So the question is – Does Google despise success?  Here a new startup sees over 2,500 visitors on its first day without doing any advertising and uses Google’s services as a way to survive and Google decides to shut off its source of revenue?  Why is it that we suspect if our name was Google would not have batted an eyelash over the spike in traffic the first day? They just couldn’t imagine a Catholic site generating so much interest, apparently.

If Google had actually taken the time to look at Catholic Lane they would have immediately seen a site with over 35 Catholic authors, 2,500 visitors on its first day, and an active and vibrant community on Facebook. It would have become clear that Catholic Lane is a legitimate operation – one that appears to be very successful even after just its first day in the world.  Obviously Google didn’t do that.

Google’s corporate motto is: “Don’t be evil.” Well, how would you characterize this treatment of a tiny start-up company by an Internet giant?

We hope Google will reconsider its decision, but until then we’re calling upon fellow Catholics to denounce Google’s decision and to tell Google of their dissatisfaction.

We will not be soliciting donations from our readers, because we believe that Catholic Lane is based upon a good enough premise to succeed in the marketplace. We already have scores of Catholic writers ready to contribute their talents. We believe many Catholics will choose Catholic Lane as their homepage and we hope some day soon to have enough traffic to attract quality advertisers without relying on Mr. “Don’t be evil.” All we asked for was a level playing field to enter the market.

We’d like our fellow Catholics to let Google know what you think about this.  We would love to give you a Gmail address where you could express your outrage. But the only addresses Google supplies to place complaints about AdSense are these:

Google, Inc.
Attn: AdSense Complaints
1600 Amphitheatre Parkway
Mountain View, CA 94043

Or fax it to:

(650) 618-8507,  Attn: Google AdSense Support, Complaints


About Author

Joshua LeBlanc has been active since 2002 in the Information Technology field, managing computer systems and networks for numerous Catholic apostolates and organizations. He is the co-founder and president of, a 100% Catholic webhosting service. He created and hosts the Annual Catholic Blog Awards. Josh is also the founder of Having spoken and written on a wide range of Catholic issues, Josh is the host of “Finding your Keys: The Field Guide for the Everyday Catholic” on Radio Maria USA and also co-hosts a weekly live television show, Champions of the Truth, which airs in the Lafayette, Louisiana area. He is also a regular contributor, founding member, and panelist on the podcast, a show which focuses on the relationship of Catholic faith and new media. Joshua holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy and the Liberal Arts from St. Joseph Seminary College in Covington, LA (where he discerned that God was calling him serve in a capacity other than the ministerial priesthood) and is currently a candidate for the Master of Arts degree in Theology and Christian Ministry from Franciscan University in Steubenville, OH. He is married to Annie.

  • Unbelievable! grrrrrr!

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  • I hope this resolves itself very soon. Trusting in Divine Providence to take every circumstance and challenge and use it for Good.

  • I’m with Mary B. I think Providence has a hand in this. Let’s wait and see what happens.

  • There was an article in the Washington Post about this just last week or so. There are companies that generate fake websites specifically to increase Google hits for a real business–sometimes thousands of them. As I remember it, they then link the real business’s website to the fake ones. Google always looks at the number of sites to which a site is linked.

    This moves the real business closer to the top of anybody’s Google search, making it float above the thousands or even millions of others. Some pretty big companies have been involved in this, and Google is scrambling to correct it, because it decreases the credibility of Google’s usage figures, which are of course the basis for their ad rates.

    Just about the only thing that you can do is write a real paper letter–on nice, high-rag paper!–to the COO or somebody, just outlining what happened and assuring them that you’re real. Try this address:

    Ms. Susan Wojcicki
    Vice President, Product Management
    1600 Amphitheatre Parkway
    Mountain View, California 94043

  • Tarheel

    This is sad. Google if you read this please note.
    1. I was using Gmail when I got an email about this site.
    2. I first visited the site using Google Chrome.
    3. I saved it as a favorite on my Google Chrome.
    4. I used Google Chrome for Facebook access to ‘Like’ this website.

    I can half-way understand the dilemma with trying to restrict fraud with fake websites. But if you look at this one closely you will see clearly it is not fake.