Feeds

Sports site sues Facebook for click fraud

RootZoo files class-action complaint

Reducing security risks from open source software

Amidst a sizable number of online advertisers complaining that Facebook is billing for clicks that never happened, the inevitable class-action lawsuit has made its way to California court.

Sports site RootZoo has accused Facebook of putting a heavy finger on the scale of its pay-per-click (PPC) advertiser program. Facebook's PCC scheme charges advertisers a fixed amount each time a user clicks on their ad. However, RootZoo claims there's been a big discrepancy between the number of clicks it was charged for, and clicks that its own internal tracking software detected.

The filing alleges that Facebook billed the website with 804 click on June 2, 2008 while RootZoo recorded only 300 clicks that day. RootZoo's figures are claimed to have come from "two industry leading software programs that track the number of clicks to its website and where the clicks originated."

In the course of investigating the clicks, RootZoo further claims it found that hundreds of clicks were coming from small towns in the US on a daily basis between April and May 2008, a rate that "would be almost statistically impossible given the distribution of the American population" and RootZoo's history of traffic from Facebook adverts.

The complaint suggests the click fraud is perpetrated by rival sites that want to increase the fees their competitor is paying and to use up their budget of clicks for the day.

Beyond the discrepancy, RootZoo says Facebook doesn't do enough to prevent click fraud shenanigans and doesn't warn advertisers of the potential flaw in its program. It alleges that when advertisers suspect they've become victims of click fraud, Facebook gives them the cold shoulder:

"Facebook has refused to take any action in response to these complaints nor has Facebook made available any of its internal data that would allow advertisers to understand the basis for the clicks on the advertisers' advertisements which Facebook claims to have occurred."

Facebook denies the charges against them, claiming it already has measures in place to prevent the ad scamming.

"We have developed a series of sophisticated systems to detect suspicious clicks and ensure advertisers are not charged for this activity," the company said in a statement. "In addition, we analyze tremendous amounts of data to discern larger click patterns and, in rare cases where this research or other analysis reveals advertisers have been charged for invalid clicks, we have always, and will continue to, issue credits to impacted advertisers."

The lawsuit filed late last week in US District Court for the Northern District of California asks for reimbursement of the allegedly ill-gained charges, unspecified damages, and to bar Facebook from the allegedly "unfair" and "fraudulent" advertising scheme. ®

Eight steps to building an HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
White? Male? You work in tech? Let us guess ... Twitter? We KNEW it!
Grim diversity numbers dumped alongside Facebook earnings
Bose says today is F*** With Dre Day: Beats sued in patent battle
Music gear giant seeks some of that sweet, sweet Apple pie
Amazon Reveals One Weird Trick: A Loss On Almost $20bn In Sales
Investors really hate it: Share price plunge as growth SLOWS in key AWS division
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Too many IT conferences to cover? MICROSOFT to the RESCUE!
Yet more word of cuts emerges from Redmond
Chips are down at Broadcom: Thousands of workers laid off
Cellphone baseband device biz shuttered
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.