So here’s a fun one. Many years ago, I started a YouTube channel to which I mostly uploaded videos of audio of my vinyl record collection and very occasionally personal projects. I haven’t uploaded anything in years and frankly forgot about it except that every so often someone will comment on a video—”Wow! Thanks, been looking for this!”—which would be emailed to my Google email. In case you don’t know, Google owns Youtube.
About a week ago, I got an email from something called Google AdSense that said they did an internal audit and owe me money. Wary of a scam, I Googled this and figured out that this was a monetization program for Google Youtube…so, not a scam. Turns out, that after about a decade, my Youtube channel had generated revenue and Google wanted to pay me.
The amount is not huge, but also not insignificant: about SG$400, or around US$350. Certainly, worth logging in to retrieve, which I did. Turns out I needed a PIN and Google snail-mailed me a new PIN since I didn’t have the old one. So far, so Google.
I logged in with the PIN then was asked to add my bank details…and now the fun started.
When I hit SAVE an error message popped up that read: “We couldn’t complete this action. Contact us. Learn more. [OR-BAIH-10]. Dismiss.”
The “Learn More” was a hyperlink that takes me to…Google Pay, Google’s money transfer service. Nice fella on their Live Chat function told me he couldn’t help with AdSense issues and sent me a link to the AdSense Help Center.
Despite the injunction in the pop-up error message, I quickly realized that there is literally no way to contact AdSense. No email. No phone. Instead, “Help” is provided by a “community forum.”
Multiple posts to this “community” either garnered no response or useless responses. I noted that people (are they?) who replied to my posts were awarded status levels based on precious metals: gold, silver, bronze, etc. In other words, getting “help” from Google is akin to participating in the Olympics. It’s a global sport in which the spectators are also the athletes. If the warrant underlying that system doesn’t scare you, it should.
A few days later, Google emailed again, via a “noreply” address, to remind me to “take action” so they can pay me. I went through all the steps again…and again had the same result.
I assume that if I can’t figure out the magic formula to unlock Error OR-BAIH-10, Google eventually will consider me either dead or uninterested and will simply absorb the funds it owes me back into its moist money maw.
Searching further for some sort of contact, I found a webpage that said Google AdSense used to have Managers for Accounts, but now uses AI to manage…I guess, everything? Do I get a silver medal for discovering this?
To underscore the situation, mega-corp Google has entered into a financial arrangement with me in which we both profit by advertisements appearing on A/V content that (for the most part) neither of us originated. As due course of this financial arrangement, Google refuses to provide any method to contact them when they owe me money.
Apparently, this is both legal and desirable. The future of frustration. The bold new world AI is going to provide to us peons who are silly enough to trust it.
So…the action I will take is to leave this account open until either I’m paid or Google steals the funds we created together out of a dubious copyright arrangement. Then I will delete my YouTube channel and all other relations I have with the Google ecosystem. That will be difficult since Google has, in many ways, simply become the public space of the Internet. But it’s a step I will take, at least to the greatest extent possible…hopefully after they pay me the four hundred bucks!