Plaintiffs Nix Clicks Fix with Google
Google's proposed $90 million settlement does not do enough to prevent click fraud, said plaintiffs in an Arkansas court Monday, July 24.
The 51 plaintiffs are members of a class action lawsuit first filed against Google in April 2005 and led by Lane's Gifts and Collectibles. Google agreed to a $90 million settlement to the case in March.
On Monday, many of the plaintiffs said the burden-of-proof for demonstrating click fraud falls too much on the advertiser, and many advertisers do not have the resources to spend on investigating possible fraudulent clicks. Some plaintiffs said the settlement favors lawyers over the plaintiffs. About one-third of the settlement consists of legal fees, payable to the attorneys in the case.
In its defense, Google argued that at least 10 of the plaintiffs reside outside the United States and were not familiar with U.S. law. Google lawyers also argued that the plaintiffs were creating a suspicion of spurious activity above and beyond the actual occurrence of click fraud.
An independent report filed by an NYU professor on Friday seemed to support Google's defense. The report (PDF) concluded that Google's efforts to combat click fraud were reasonable. However, the paper also indicted the pay-per-click advertising system as having an inherent vulnerability to spurious clicks.