Google said April 9 that it had "inadvertently" reactivated old AdWords advertising accounts in the last few days, surprising hundreds of people who thought the accounts had been long ago been dumped.
The accounts were usually long-dormant because the search terms that advertisers chose to associate their links with weren't clicked upon enough. In some instances, thousands of once-dead keywords mysteriously came back to life.
Google said it believes it now has a handle on what happened, but wouldn't divulge exactly what the snafu was. "We acted quickly and are currently fixing the issue," a spokesperson wrote in an e-mail message on April 9.
"We expect all affected advertisers accounts to be corrected shortly."
The company was responding to a query about the crux of the problem described in this password/username-required forum and elsewhere.
So it seems we have here a bona fide, confirmed by Google and everything, mix-up. It's rare for companies to admit as much, and even rarer still for Google.