Google sent me mail today. Real mail. Actual paper in an envelope with my home address kind of mail. It was sent from ‘Google New Zealand’, which is actually Google Ireland Limited and, of course, sent from Switzerland.
The reason ‘Google New Zealand’ is actually Google Ireland Limited (based in Switzerland) has made the headlines recently. Dubbed the “double Irish” and “Dutch sandwich” tax avoidance scheme, Google avoided about US$2 billion in worldwide income taxes last year by moving $9.8 billion in revenue into tax havens. Despite making an estimated AU$1 billion in advertising revenue from their Australia and New Zealand AdWords and AdSense advertising platforms last year, ‘Google New Zealand’ posted a financial loss. By deviously booking their Australian and New Zealand search ads through the tax haven of Ireland, ‘Google New Zealand’ has drastically reduced its local tax liability, to the point of being morally criminal.
Now, back to my mail from Google New Zealand aka Google Ireland in Switzerland. It was from their AdWords advertising platform which I occasionally use when clients request it. As a search engine optimisation (SEO) specialist I never advocate for Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising over organic SEO – the economics and return on investment (ROI) just don’t add up. But every now and then, like when a client wants to be seen immediately online, I cave in and let them have their way.
Here’s where the lies start to set in, and they are starting to be a daily occurrence from the overlords at Google. The letter reads as follows: