Feeds

Google and Yahoo! accused of click fraud collusion

Up springs the inevitable lawsuit

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

SANS - Survey on application security programs

Google, Yahoo! and other players in the search business have become embroiled in a lawsuit which involves overcharging for pay-per-click online advertising.

The Wall Street Journal says that plaintiffs in the US filed a lawsuit in February alleging that Google and Yahoo overcharge advertisers, and also that they collude with each other, to continue overchargin.

In the pay-per-click model used by Google, Yahoo! and Ask Jeeves , advertisers pay each time a user "clicks through" on an ad listed alongside search engine results. Each click costs on average between €0.30 and €0.50 with more popular keywords costing as much as €10 per click.

Led by an Arkansas company called Lane's Gifts and Collectibles, the plaintiffs want the lawsuit certified as a class action. They allege that the defendants, which include Google, Yahoo!, FindWhat, Ask Jeeves, America Online and Look Smart, improperly charged advertisers for incidents "click fraud".

Click fraud is a growing problem in the search industry. The practice has seen people - such as competitors or unhappy employees - click repeatedly on an ads to run up a bill for the advertiser. This can cost advertisers a lot of money and is difficult to track down.

Google and Yahoo! and other search engines say they have anti-fraud systems in place and that they regularly give advertisers refunds for fraudulent clicks. However, they have been sketchy with details, causing some advertisers to worry that the problem is bigger than they are being told.

Click fraud statistics from Sempo, a non-profit association that works to increase awareness and promote the value of search engine marketing, indicate that advertisers are concerned about click fraud but haven't been able to seriously track it. Between 36 per cent and 58 per cent of advertisers are worried about click fraud but been unable to track its full extent, according to a report by Sempo published in December 2004.

While the majority of the named defendants of the lawsuit have so far declined to comment, Ask Jeeves said in a March regulatory filing that "we intend to defend this lawsuit vigorously".

© ENN

Related stories

Blog star 'fesses up to payola spam scam
Ask Jeeves if it's been bought
Microsoft does paid-for searches
Yahoo! rebrands! Overture!
NY Times buys About.com for $410m cash

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Sorry London, Europe's top tech city is Munich
New 'Atlas of ICT Activity' finds innovation isn't happening at Silicon Roundabout
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
Audio fans, prepare yourself for the Second Coming ... of Blu-ray
High Fidelity Pure Audio – is this what your ears have been waiting for?
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
Apple DOMINATES the Valley, rakes in more profit than Google, HP, Intel, Cisco COMBINED
Cook & Co. also pay more taxes than those four worthies PLUS eBay and Oracle
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a defence for mobile apps
In this whitepaper learn the various considerations for defending mobile applications; from the mobile application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies needed to properly assess mobile applications risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.