"Google has not exercised reasonable care to prevent "click fraud" and has misrepresented efforts to stop swindlers from repeatedly clicking Web site links to drive up advertising costs." A set of plaintiffs in a class-action suit argued.
"Google has a duty, in our view, to exercise reasonable efforts to filter invalid clicks," said Attorney Steve Malouf, who represents many of the plaintiffs. The arguments came as an Arkansas judge considers whether to accept a $90 million settlement offer from Google Inc. A Texarkana company — Lane's Gifts and Collectibles — filed the lawsuit, which Miller County Circuit Judge Joe Griffin certified as a class action.
But Google has not done enough to stop click fraud, which drives up advertisers' bills by falsely indicating the number of Web users who have "clicked" on an Internet ad to seek more information about a product. Plaintiffs say.
Galen Workman of Ozdachs Consulting in San Francisco wrote to the court, "I am a small Google advertiser and a believer that I have been forced by Google to pay for bogus clicks to my site I manage for my consulting clients. The proposed settlement fails to address our damages and the damages of those in my situation,"
Google says, the settlement is fair, but notes that the lawsuit's merit is still "heavily disputed."
"Those who object to the amount of the settlement merely assume that undetected 'click fraud' is pervasive, and that they could prove this at trial," the court filing said. "But Google contents that class members could never prove such a claim, because Google aggressively roots out click fraud, using highly sophisticated techniques and processes, and minimizes any impact it has on advertisers." Read more.