May 11, 2006 8:10 PM PDT

Lawsuit seeks to block Google settlement

Lawyers representing Internet search advertisers filed a lawsuit this week in an attempt to block a proposed $90 million settlement to a class-action click fraud suit against Google, a lawyer and the lead plaintiff said Thursday.

"The settlement is just a joke," said plaintiff Joseph Kinney, a Pinehurst, N.C., security consultant who said he has lost about $1,500 to click fraud on ads related to his SafeSpaces.com Web site. "A jury needs to hear these issues and Google needs to be held accountable."

Lane's Gifts and Collectibles and Caulfield Investigations sued Google and other search engines in February 2005 in state court in Texarkana, Ark., accusing them of charging advertisers for clicks on online advertisements that were fraudulent or done in bad faith and not with the intention of legitimate commerce.

Google reached a settlement with the plaintiffs in March that provides for $30 million to be used for lawyer fees and $60 million to pay credits to affected advertisers. The settlement would not apply to other defendants, namely Yahoo, Lycos, Miva, Go.com and LookSmart.

The Arkansas judge has scheduled a two-day hearing to begin on July 24 to consider whether to give the proposed settlement final approval, said Shawn Khorrami, one of the lawyers listed on the latest lawsuit, which was filed before the same Arkansas judge as the initial lawsuit. Khorrami also represents a plaintiff in a similar lawsuit filed in California against Google.

The latest lawsuit argues that the settlement should be rejected because it would not adequately compensate advertisers who lost money from fraud.

"The settlement leaves advertisers in worse shape than they are now. There is no benefit that the class (of advertisers) is getting at all," said Khorrami, who is based in Los Angeles.

"Under the settlement, Google can pay a half a percent of your losses," or $5 on every $1,000 of losses claimed, he said. For instance, a loss of $10,000 would garner a coupon worth $50 from Google that could used only to buy more advertising through Google, he added.

Google defended the settlement. "Lawyers for the California plaintiffs are trying to circumvent the normal class action process, which we believe is inappropriate," Google said in statement. "We question if this lawsuit may be motivated more by the quest for attorneys' fees than pursuit of what's best for class members."

If the court agrees to block the proposed settlement, the case would be free to either proceed to trial or continue settlement negotiations with Google, said Khorrami, who also represents Web hosting company AIT in a click fraud-related lawsuit filed against Google last year in San Jose, Calif. That lawsuit is on hold pending the outcome in the Arkansas case, Khorrami said.

Khorrami and others have created a Web site that advises advertisers of their rights in opting out of the proposed settlement.

Once Google sends out notices to its advertisers notifying them of the proposed settlement, advertisers will have 30 days to opt out of the settlement, Khorrami said. Google so far has not sent out the notices, which must go out before the judge approves it, he said.

The settlement would not solve the underlying problem of click fraud, experts have said. It is unclear how much of a problem it is. Google and other search engines say they catch most click fraud and that it is not a serious issue.

A recent study found that click fraud at the major search engines is about 14 percent. Other estimates--from companies that stand to profit off click-fraud detection-related software and services--have pegged it as high as 30 percent.

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16 comments

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About time Google & Yahoo are being seriously held responsible for Click fr
Click fraud via Ad sense of Google and similar offering of Yahoo is massive.
In reality more than 70% of clicks on Ad sense Ads are click fraud.
Even 90% click fraud would not be an over statement.
Why? Because there is ABSOLUTELY no way that Google or Yahoo can detect and prevent someone from engaging in click fraud if they know what
they are doing and have the right software to continuously cloak their IP. In fact I am prepared to prove this to you, or Google or Yahoo, by challenging Google or Yahoo to try to catch me clicking fraudulently on 1000 different Ad sense Ads. If they can catch me I will give them $1000, if they cannot they will pay me $1000. I know that they will no take this challenge because as I said there is NO WAY
to monitor and prevent click fraud SPECIALLY when the clicker is a non registered user, again if the click fraudster knows what they are doing.

So for Google and Yahoo agent to say:
"Google and other search engines say they catch most click fraud and that it is not a serious issue." is a complete lie and one. But then what else do you expect from these 2 Big brother companies? The truth! I dont think so.

My challenge to Google or Yahoo will be open until next week.
Posted by Cyrus_K (60 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Genius!
Yeah, the title says it all! You're my hero now, can I shine your shoes for you? /sarcasm off. You know that your "call" out to google and yahoo is pretty stupid right? It's not as if they're going to respond personally on this board, and I know that they don't send click fraud perpetrators personal messages. They'd need three times the number of staff they've got to do that.

And your assessment of 70-90% is kinda high considering even people MAKING click fraud software only peg it at 30%? Do you always pull numbers out of your ass and pretend they're facts?

And just as a note, your entire message reeks of a 14 year old geek who just downloaded his first nuking program and is all giddy. I doubt you even have 100 dollars to pay up if you lose, and they're certainly not going to pay you squat. So just go to sleep and keep dreaming.
Posted by FaveoKatro (6 comments )
Link Flag
Cite Your Source, Please
Please cite your source for 90% ClickFraud. Thanks, I knew you couldn't because it isn't true. Think about it for a second. People wouldn't buy the ads if they didn't think they worked. No one is forcing anyone to purchase ads. Is there some fraud there? Sure. Google, Yahoo!, and Microsoft are all working behinds the scenes to address the issue, doing much more than 'checking IP addresses' as you state. But advertising is something that works best when it is targeted, and this is very targeted advertising. If you purchase a television ad, a lot of people you don't care about it may see it, and others you do want to see it may skip over it. People using these services clearly feel they are getting value and continue to use it. If they didn't, they would stop.

As for your challenge, yeah, right. Your solution is to have your 'friends' vote for sites, and I've already addressed how stupid that idea is.
Posted by stephenpace (72 comments )
Link Flag
*sigh*
While I do have to agree with the other posts saying that this
reeks of a 14 year old with an aol prog, I'd also like to point out
that both google and yahoo's method of tracking clicks is a bit
more sophisticated, and ghosters don't always work against it.

I run ghost ip on my pc (mainly because I think its funny when
the porn ads are totally confused as to where I am). No, I'm not
some big 31337 h4x0r or anything, I wouldn't know what to do
even if I had the right software, but it is amusing for the
moment to mess with stuff like that. To sit there and say that
Google and Yahoo haven't figured out a way to get around that
is laughable. I have friends running scripts on forums that will
still tell me my exact ip. if some 23 year olds can figure it out,
why wouldn't 2 major corporations be smart enough to do it?
Posted by thatxbxtchxnicoll (46 comments )
Link Flag
The settlement doesn't cover Yahoo
only Google
Posted by Jackson Cracker (272 comments )
Link Flag
ott
that is ridiculous, that amount of money will affect google in the longrun, but for the individual advertiser, only $50 for $10K is apauling.

!!!!!!

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.arcon5.com" target="_newWindow">http://www.arcon5.com</a>
Posted by arcon5 (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Google is Evil!!!!!!!!!
Not only do they organise a Quest (Da Vinci Code promotion) where UK and Australians cannot answer questions because the answers lie in Google Books that only can be seen from the US. They close the UK competition 24 hour early leaving thousands of questers not being able to complete the quest. Google you need to get your act togethor, as you are loosing it.

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://forums.whirlpool.net.au/forum-replies.cfm?t=507663&#38;p=22#r425" target="_newWindow">http://forums.whirlpool.net.au/forum-replies.cfm?t=507663&#38;p=22#r425</a>
Posted by nirving (5 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Google is Evil!!!!!!!!!
Not only do they organise a Quest (Da Vinci Code promotion) where UK and Australians cannot answer questions because the answers lie in Google Books that only can be seen from the US. They close the UK competition 24 hour early leaving thousands of questers not being able to complete the quest. Google you need to get your act togethor, as you are losing it.

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://forums.whirlpool.net.au/forum-replies.cfm?t=507663&#38;p=22#r425" target="_newWindow">http://forums.whirlpool.net.au/forum-replies.cfm?t=507663&#38;p=22#r425</a>
Posted by nirving (5 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Institutional Scam
It seems that many of you received the e-mail about the Arkansas class-action lawsuit against Google. Heres the catch (if the whole thing is real at all): The issue is complex enough that most of the recipients don't understand it and they just delete the message. By doing so, they give up the right to sue Google for click fraud forever. So, here is what the e-mailed document says and these are the statements that you have to put into context. Pay close attention to them:

1. The settlement will provide advertising credits to class members who certify that they were the victims of click fraud

2. Under the settlement, Google will establish a $90 million settlement fund, of which a portion will be used to pay class counsels fees and costs, and the remainder will be available to class members in the form of advertising credits that may be applied to up to 50% of the cost of future online advertising purchased from Google.

3. The Court will decide the amount of fees to be paid to class counsel and the extent to which the expenses that they incurred in working on the case should be reimbursed. Class counsel intend to seek a maximum of 33 ? percent of the settlement fund, or $30 million, in attorneys fees and expenses in this case. Under the settlement, Google has agreed that it will not oppose an award of up to $30 million to class counsel.

4. Credits will be awarded on a pro rata basis, taking into account the amount that you paid to Google for the ads and the total amount of credits available. For example, if the amounts that you paid to Google for the affected ads were 1% of Googles revenues from online advertising since January 1, 2002, you would be eligible to receive 1% of the total available credits. You must certify in your claim form the percentage of your ads you believe were affected by click fraud.

5. Unless you exclude yourself (opt out), you are staying in the class, and that means you cant sue, continue to sue, or be part of any other lawsuit against Google relating to the subject matter of this case.

Here is what all the above means (again, if it's real):
- If you do nothing (and this is what most recipients of this letter will do), you'll remain in the class which eliminates your right to sue Google for click fraud beyond the scope of this settlement.
- If you remain in the class, you might (emphasis on might) earn a certain amount of credit points that "may be applied to up to 50% of the cost of future online advertising purchased from Google."
- The maximum amount of the credit points you might earn is the equivalent proportion of the available fund to your spending relative to Google's total advertisement revenue from January 1 2002. Let's say Google's advertisement revenue during the mentioned period was $2.7 billion. If you'd spent $100,000.- on the affected campaigns you are eligible for a maximum of 0.03% of the available fund which equals $2,222.- (Don't forget that 33,1/3% of the fund will be spent on class counsel fees.) Sheer eligibility of course does not mean that you automatically will get this amount if you spent one hundred thousands. I quote: " You must certify in your claim form the percentage of your ads you believe were affected by click fraud ". If you say that 30% of your clicks were fraud, you MIGHT get away with a hefty 666 dollar credit, that goes back to Google with your additional 666 real dollars as the other 50% of your total purchase that is required for the credit reimbursement.

The total net loss of the process for Google is a maximum of $30 million that is paid for attorneys fees and expenses in this case.
The gain for Google is that for this 30 million is they can eliminate the vast majority of their advertisers from filing a click fraud claim against them in the future. If you remain in the class and do the paperwork, you can get an insignificant compensation in the form of future purchase discount. If you do nothing you don't get anything right now and you also lose the right to get back your fraudulently taken dollars forever. The only chance you have for real compensation is to opt out and start your independent litigation. Question: How many of Googles client will do that?

If this thing is real, then it is one of the most insidious institutional scam we've ever seen.

Your opinion?
Posted by BelaLugosi123 (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Institutional Scam
It seems that many of you received the e-mail about the Arkansas class-action lawsuit against Google. Heres the catch (if the whole thing is real at all): The issue is complex enough that most of the recipients don't understand it and they just delete the message. By doing so, they give up the right to sue Google for click fraud forever. So, here is what the e-mailed document says and these are the statements that you have to put into context. Pay close attention to them:

1. The settlement will provide advertising credits to class members who certify that they were the victims of click fraud

2. Under the settlement, Google will establish a $90 million settlement fund, of which a portion will be used to pay class counsels fees and costs, and the remainder will be available to class members in the form of advertising credits that may be applied to up to 50% of the cost of future online advertising purchased from Google.

3. The Court will decide the amount of fees to be paid to class counsel and the extent to which the expenses that they incurred in working on the case should be reimbursed. Class counsel intend to seek a maximum of 33 ? percent of the settlement fund, or $30 million, in attorneys fees and expenses in this case. Under the settlement, Google has agreed that it will not oppose an award of up to $30 million to class counsel.

4. Credits will be awarded on a pro rata basis, taking into account the amount that you paid to Google for the ads and the total amount of credits available. For example, if the amounts that you paid to Google for the affected ads were 1% of Googles revenues from online advertising since January 1, 2002, you would be eligible to receive 1% of the total available credits. You must certify in your claim form the percentage of your ads you believe were affected by click fraud.

5. Unless you exclude yourself (opt out), you are staying in the class, and that means you cant sue, continue to sue, or be part of any other lawsuit against Google relating to the subject matter of this case.

Here is what all the above means (again, if it's real):
- If you do nothing (and this is what most recipients of this letter will do), you'll remain in the class which eliminates your right to sue Google for click fraud beyond the scope of this settlement.
- If you remain in the class, you might (emphasis on might) earn a certain amount of credit points that "may be applied to up to 50% of the cost of future online advertising purchased from Google."
- The maximum amount of the credit points you might earn is the equivalent proportion of the available fund to your spending relative to Google's total advertisement revenue from January 1 2002. Let's say Google's advertisement revenue during the mentioned period was $2.7 billion. If you'd spent $100,000.- on the affected campaigns you are eligible for a maximum of 0.03% of the available fund which equals $2,222.- (Don't forget that 33,1/3% of the fund will be spent on class counsel fees.) Sheer eligibility of course does not mean that you automatically will get this amount if you spent one hundred thousands. I quote: " You must certify in your claim form the percentage of your ads you believe were affected by click fraud ". If you say that 30% of your clicks were fraud, you MIGHT get away with a hefty 666 dollar credit, that goes back to Google with your additional 666 real dollars as the other 50% of your total purchase that is required for the credit reimbursement.

The total net loss of the process for Google is a maximum of $30 million that is paid for attorneys fees and expenses in this case.
The gain for Google is that for this 30 million is they can eliminate the vast majority of their advertisers from filing a click fraud claim against them in the future. If you remain in the class and do the paperwork, you can get an insignificant compensation in the form of future purchase discount. If you do nothing you don't get anything right now and you also lose the right to get back your fraudulently taken dollars forever. The only chance you have for real compensation is to opt out and start your independent litigation. Question: How many of Googles client will do that?

If this thing is real, then it is one of the most insidious institutional scam we've ever seen.

Your opinion?
Posted by BelaLugosi123 (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Wonder if they consider PTR...
Which is a HUGE source of 'human bot' click frauds.

Naa, since they aren't 'obvious' frauds
Posted by jsmith12 (24 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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