A yellow rectangle might have cost Google $10m after training accident

Have you ever slipped up while training at a job? Most of us would admit the occasional mistake while training, but one Google trainee accidentally pushed a dummy advert live, dropping a blank yellow rectangle on a huge number of websites around the internet.

The error was a result of a accident while a group of trainees were being shown how to use the in-house ad system at the tech monolith. It’s a small mistake, and it was only visible to players in the US and Australia.

The advert was placed at a higher rate of return than any other ad and went through several third-party exchanges, meaning the advert was spread far and wide, reaching a broad audience in the two regions it was pushed live.

“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 blank yellow rectangle was live for around 45 minutes on December 4th, before it was canned.

However, while this seems like an insignificant mistake the Financial Times have estimated that the mistake has Google somewhere in the region of $10m (£7.9m) because of payments due to publishers and other costs associated with the clean up process.

Google claim that they’ve put new controls in place that should stop the error happening again, which you might expect for a mistake that has cost the company several million. 

For a genuine mistake, it’s an unfortunately high profile one, and it shows how even a small mistake from a tech giant like Google can have huge and costly ramifications. Here’s hoping the employee has a long and fruitful career with Google ahead of them after this slip-up. 

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