A Google training exercise has gone disastrously wrong after a trainee was able to inadvertently place a dummy ad on a ‘huge number’ of websites and apps. The dummy advert has cost the firm around $10 million.
The error was the result of an accident while a group of trainees were being shown how to use the in-house ad system. The mistake meant a blank yellow rectangle was active on the sites and apps for about 45 minutes on December 4. The ad was only visible to people in the US and Australia.
If that doesn’t sound bad enough, the trainee placed the order at around 10 times the normal price for the ads. At $25 per CPM (cost per thousand impressions), it was much higher than the usual $2 to $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 wider audience.
“As soon as we were made aware of this honest mistake we worked quickly to stop the campaigns running,” said Google, in a statement.
The exact cost of the error has not been made clear but according to The Financial Times, it would cost Google about $10 million in lost fees and corrective costs to rectify it.
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.