Google Directed To Disclose Four Search Marketers’ Identities

Jan 4, 2011 | 1,201 views | by Navneet Kaushal
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This Google legal tale is full of twists. As part of a lawsuit that involves Google’s AdSense for Domains and AdSense for Errors programs, Judge Howard R. Lloyd, a U.S. Magistrate has ordered Google to disclose the identities of four AdWords advertisers who were clients of the search engine marketing agency Wpromote.

The search engine giant is resisting the order as it forces it to divulge potentially confidential information about the advertisers. The ruling, issued on December 22, 2010, by U.S. Magistrate Howard Lloyd in the Northern District of California, stems from several lawsuits filed about Google’s AdSense for Domains and AdSense for Errors programs. These Google designed programs place advertisements on websites that have negligible editorial content. Internet users land on such sites when they mistype a URL.

Arguing against the court order, Google claims that revealing the client's identities would mean disclosing confidential information of the clients. “Such information includes detailed analysis regarding the performance of the ads that RK West and the Wpromote Clients placed through the AdWords program,” Google’s attorneys said in a filing requesting the judge to alter the order. “Public disclosure of this information could cause competitive harm to RK West and the Wpromote Clients by giving third-parties access to their sensitive business information.”

Google stresses that parked-domain ads "perform as well as or better than ads on Search and Display Network sites," and recently filed papers seeking dismissal of the case. It also argued that by placing their ads on parked domains or error sites, it has done no harm nor has it misguided the plaintiffs. It defends its action by arguing that ads placed on error pages generate a conversion rate as good as usual search pages.

The order is the conclusion of the case that includes six different lawsuits filed against Google back in 2008. It is now being argued in the Northern District of California, and the plaintiffs include RK West, Hal Levitte, Pulaski & Middleman, JIT Packaging, Richard Oesterling and West Coast Cameras.

Google has also been arguing all along that the case should not be granted class-action status. This is an important issue for Google because even if the lawsuit isn’t dismissed by the court, individual search marketers’ damages in the click-fraud lawsuits are usually too small to make it worthwhile for them to fight the cases at individual level.

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Navneet Kaushal

Navneet Kaushal is the founder and CEO of PageTraffic, an SEO Agency in India with offices in Chicago, Mumbai and London. A leading search strategist, Navneet helps clients maintain an edge in search engines and the online media. Navneet's expertise has established PageTraffic as one of the most awarded and successful search marketing agencies.
4.thumbnail Google Directed To Disclose Four Search Marketers’ Identities
4.thumbnail Google Directed To Disclose Four Search Marketers’ Identities