In one of the largest forfeitures in U.S. history, Google agreed to pay $500 million to settle a dispute with the Justice Department Wednesday for displaying ads for Canadian companies that sell illegal pharmaceuticals in the U.S. As CNET's Jay Greene explains, the settlement "covers the gross revenue received by Google as a result of Canadian pharmacies advertising through Google's AdWords program, and the gross revenue made by those pharmacies from their sales to U.S. consumers." Here's why the settlement is about more than just the money:
The cash itself Ryan Singel at Wired notes that the $500 million price tag represents over 20 percent of the company's profits from the first quarter of this year. Still, the settlement won't come as a huge surprise to investors. "The announcement was widely expected as Google mentioned in an SEC filing in May it was setting aside half a billion to pay a fine."
It's a blow to Google's reputation, writes Frank Reed at Marketing Pilgrim: "This kind of business activity isn’t anything that a company with any morals or ethics should be engaging in especially since it was quite obvious that this was on the wrong side of the law... Google takes a huge black eye on this one and sets the table for some serious doubt as to just how upstanding they are as a corporate citizen as they are being more heavily scrutinized by federal regulators."