Feeds

Click fraud suit changes hand

'These ad figures make no sense'

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Click Defense, a web analytics firm that intiated proceedings against Google in June, alleging that the search engine was failing to stop click fraud, is to be replaced as lead plaintiff in the suit by web hosting firm Advanced Internet Technology (AIT).

"We are only withdrawing as a representative plaintiff," said Scott Boyenger, Click Defense's Chief Executive Officer, "in order to concentrate our efforts in helping our clients develop their claims of click fraud. We remain a member of the class and our click fraud claims against Google will still be litigated when and if the class is certified."

The suit, which is seeking class action status, alleges that Google’s failure has cost users of its AdSense scheme at least $5m.

The AdSense system allows advertisers to display targeted ads on websites in return for the payment of a fee to Google each time an internet user clicks on one of their ads. Google then repays part of the fee to the web page owner. This is different to Google’s AdWords service, which allows advertisers to sponsor particular search terms so that, whenever that term is searched in Google, the advertiser’s link will appear next to the search results.

However, the AdSense scheme is open to abuse by website owners who, keen to boost the fees repaid to them by Google, try to ensure that the third party adverts displayed on their site are clicked as often as possible. As a result, the search engine’s AdSense program policy states:

“Any method that artificially generates clicks is strictly prohibited. These prohibited methods include but are not limited to: repeated manual clicks, incentives to click, using robots, automated clicking tools, or other deceptive software. Please note that clicking on your own ads for any reason is prohibited, to avoid potential inflation of advertiser costs”.

This was not enough for Click Defense, which in June filed suit, alleging that Google refused to take steps to prevent click fraud, even though the company was well aware of the practice. But the firm has now withdrawn as representative plaintiff, handing the job over to AIT.

According to Clarence Briggs, AIT's Chief Executive Officer, AIT has lost hundreds of thousands of dollars to fraudulent clicks even though Google has the capability to detect fraud.

"Google is able to block spamming efforts from its own Google Gmail service and should do the same to protect its pay-per-click advertising clients. However, Google chooses to do nothing because substantive action would both invalidate the current paid search model and because a lot of people are making a lot of money from this," he said.

"We have been watching this and documenting it for some time, not only for ourselves but for our customers from our network and several other networks," he added, "and we have the technical expertise to prove without a doubt that it is happening and that Google could do something about it if they wanted to.”

Google denies the allegations. In June a spokesman for the firm told Reuters that the company believes the lawsuit is without merit.

See also: Google sued for failing to prevent click fraud, OUT-LAW News, 01/07/2005

Copyright © 2005, OUT-LAW.com

OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

Remote control for virtualized desktops

More from The Register

next story
Bladerunner sequel might actually be good. Harrison Ford is in it
Go ahead, you're all clear, kid... Sorry, wrong film
Musicians sue UK.gov over 'zero pay' copyright fix
Everyone else in Europe compensates us - why can't you?
I'll be back (and forward): Hollywood's time travel tribulations
Quick, call the Time Cops to sort out this paradox!
Euro Parliament VOTES to BREAK UP GOOGLE. Er, OK then
It CANNA do it, captain.They DON'T have the POWER!
Megaupload overlord Kim Dotcom: The US HAS RADICALISED ME!
Now my lawyers have bailed 'cos I'm 'OFFICIALLY' BROKE
Forget Hillary, HP's ex CARLY FIORINA 'wants to be next US Prez'
Former CEO has political ambitions again, according to Washington DC sources
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing and building an open ITOA architecture
Learn about a new IT data taxonomy defined by the four data sources of IT visibility: wire, machine, agent, and synthetic data sets.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
5 critical considerations for enterprise cloud backup
Key considerations when evaluating cloud backup solutions to ensure adequate protection security and availability of enterprise data.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Managing SSL certificates with ease
The lack of operational efficiencies and compliance pitfalls associated with poor SSL certificate management, and how the right SSL certificate management tool can help.