Google Sued for AdSense Fraud

By Steve Bryant  |  Posted 2006-08-30 Print this article Print

Theresa Bradley A would-be AdSense customer is suing Google for $250,000 because it took her 100 hours to place and review AdSense advertisements on her Web site, which Google subsequently removed, Google Watch has learned.

In a 25-page complaint filed earlier this week in San Francisco federal district court, Theresa B. Bradley, a management consultant and resident of Washington, D.C. accuses Google of several counts of fraud and misrepresentation, including misrepresentation in commercial advertising, and of "willfull, wanton, fraudulent and malicious" conduct regarding its AdSense product. The suit also alleges misrepresentation in interstate commerce.

Bradley, owner of Brava Corp., alleges that her staff spent 100 hours placing and reviewing HTML code for Google AdSense on Once the code was placed, Bradley asked Google to remove several competing AdSense advertisements, as per the AdSense user agreement. Bradley vs Google

According to the complaint, Google then completely removed AdSense from Bradley's site and accused Bradley of violating AdSense policies by fraudulently clicking on advertisements.

Bradley denied clicking on the ads except to verify that the advertisers were not selling competing products.

The AdSense terms of service prohibit customers from clicking on their own ads. Google provides a Preview Tool that helps customers judge the quality of AdSense advertisements on their site.

Bradley did not return several requests for comment. Google responded only by saying the suit is without merit and that the company would defend itself vigorously.

According to the complaint, Bradley's brief business relationship with Google caused her irreparable harm by damaging her reputation and the reputation of her products and services.

Bradley's Web site offers nutritional supplements, home spa rituals, and soft support women's jog bras, among other products. There is no shopping cart mechanism, and the site asks users to "visit us at a later date."

According to her site, Bradley's "illustrative clients" include Kellogg-Brown and Root, Halliburton, The Wall Street Journal, Bear Stearns and Company, and the Catholic Diocese of Arlington, Va.

Bradley apparently also helps hire engineers for deployment to Iraq, hires engineers for Hurricane Katrina relief and provides mental health services for children 0-7 years of age.

Bradley also filed suit against Yahoo on August 1 in San Jose federal district court. Those documents were not available at the time of this writing. A Yahoo representative declined to comment.

Digg this post.

I've noticed that a lot of people are saying this is a publicity stunt. I can't say for sure that's the case, since Bradley never returned my calls, but I don't think that assumption is correct. She sued Yahoo on August 1st and Google on August 28, but never returned a phone call from me and never sent out any press releases. I found the lawsuit in court records. In addition, Bradley doesn't seem to have any way of monetizing any attention she receives from this. I think it's important to understand the difference between publicity seeking (such as the ClickDefense class action lawsuit) and a case such as this, which clearly makes the plaintiff look ridiculous.

Update #2: There are some funny threads on this lawsuit at WebmasterWorld, Geek Village and the DigitalPoint Forums.

Update #3: Theresa Bradley called me this morning to confirm the lawsuit. She informed me that she had an addendum to the complaint and would forward such via e-mail, but had to get off the phone before I could inquire further. I'll let you know when I've heard more.

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