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  1. #1
    SitePoint Enthusiast bhanna's Avatar
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    Google Sued For Click Fraud

    SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - A seller of online marketing tools said on Wednesday it sued Google Inc., charging that the Web search giant has failed to protect users of its advertising program from "click fraud," costing them at least $5 million.

    Click Defense Inc. filed its lawsuit, which also seeks class action status, on June 24 in U.S. District Court in San Jose, California.
    Click fraud is not "fraud" as defined under the law. Rather, it is an industry term used to describe the deliberate clicking on Web search ads by users with no plans to do business with the advertiser. Rival companies might employ people or machines to do this because the advertiser has to pay the Web search provider for each click.

    Users of Google's popular Web search advertising program pay a set amount -- varying from pennies to well over $1 -- for each click, though in rare instances, the payment is as much as $95.

    Click fraud can run up thousands of dollars in advertiser costs or benefit a Web site operator that gets a cut of advertising revenue from Internet search providers.

    "We believe the suit is without merit and we will defend ourselves against it vigorously," a Google spokesman said.

    Google, which had first-quarter net revenue of $1.3 billion, makes virtually all of its money from search ads.

    The company, whose stock earlier this week briefly topped $300 after debuting at $85 in August, has previously said that click fraud is not material to its results and that it has technology and teams working to prevent it.

  2. #2
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy someonewhois's Avatar
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    Let's see.

    • ClickDefense is the person suing them. Am I the only one having the massive "PUBLICITY STUNT" lightbulb go off? "Google can't protect click fraud, but we can!"
    • Google has money. As a result, they're going to get thousands of useless/stupid/absolute-BS lawsuits the same way Microsoft does.
    • Last I checked, Google doesn't ensure that they won't have fraudulent clicks.
    • Err, they sued someone over clickfraud a little while ago -- how can ClickDefense say they aren't doing anything?
    Lawsuits like this are stupid, and companies like ClickDefense should be fined.

  3. #3
    King of Paralysis by Analysis bronze trophy
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    They are obviously doing it for the publicity, seems to have worked so far

  4. #4
    fad (n): a craze; interest... Fahd's Avatar
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    Seems to come up every 2 weeks or so.

  5. #5
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy someonewhois's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slashdot Comment
    it seems Click Defense has a 877 number (same as 800 meaning they pay for the phone call). The number is: 877-872-5772. Feel free to just give them a call and ask about the lawsuit or whatever. I wonder if they'll sue the telcos for not screening real customers from the 877 number

  6. #6
    masquerading Nick's Avatar
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    Yeah, sounds to be like this is just a BS lawsuit, hoping to drive some publicity to ClickDefense. I seriously doubt it will get anywhere, especially, like someonewhois has said, I don't believe Google actually makes any guarantees against click fraud, even though they do assure that they are fighting against it.

    My guess is that ClickDefense is looking for some money and publicity by picking on the big guy.
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  7. #7
    SitePoint Wizard
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    Quote Originally Posted by bhanna
    Click fraud is not "fraud" as defined under the law. Rather, it is an industry term used to describe the deliberate clicking on Web search ads by users with no plans to do business with the advertiser.
    I think it's fair to say that the vast majority of people who click on any type of ad do not have "plans" to do business with the advertisers. If that was the case conversions would be closer to 100%...

    Some people click because they want/need additional info, but they do not buy. Also there are those who will click on the advertisement simply because it looks interesting, not because they need the product or service. Neither of those types of clicks are fraudulent. It's just the way advertising works.

    Click fraud is more accurately described as clicking on ads for reasons other than having any interest at all in the actual advertisement. That would include clicking on ads to help a publisher make money, clicking in order to cost a competitor more money, asking people to click on your ads, etc, etc. But clicking and not buying or doing business with the advertiser is NOT fraud, it's simply advertising that did not work if the only goal of the ad was to generate a sale.

    If those advertisers wanted guaranteed sales, they should be advertising via CPA and not CPC.
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  8. #8
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy
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    I agree that this is a publicity stunt, and that it is working. However, I also think click-fraud is getting out of hand. I have a client that is in a very cut-throat competitive industry and being the small player, they are doing what they can to advertise themselves as well as the competition. They had Google Adwords ads until one of their competitors hired a team of people in India to click endlessly on their ad. They ran up thousands of dollars in advertising costs maliciously (with no other intent than to cost the advertiser $$).

    I think that if you define click-fraud in that way it should be considered illegal. There are real monetary damages associated.

    At any rate, we'll see how it goes. In the very least it will bring some attention to the problem and maybe Google will develop some new award-winning way of discerning and stopping click-fraud.

  9. #9
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    their number is an automated press 1,2,3 type thing... Do they sell something? its a sales, accounting etc type thing.... I'm just sitting here with it going over the 1,2,3

    time limit was somewhere around 1 minute 20 seconds on that so if you're trying to run up their phone bill wait on the line for 1 minute then press a button

  10. #10
    SitePoint Wizard LeoWebDesign's Avatar
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    Yes, I agree also...publicity stunt.

    ClickDefense won't go far before they drop it. There's no way they would have the kind of money to play it out in court with Google.

  11. #11
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    All I know is that I'll never use Click Defense if I ever need those kinds of services. Any company doing such a lame stunt will not be getting any of my business.
    Please do not PM me about your business or sale.

  12. #12
    SitePoint Wizard
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    Quote Originally Posted by beley
    However, I also think click-fraud is getting out of hand. I have a client that is in a very cut-throat competitive industry and being the small player, they are doing what they can to advertise themselves as well as the competition. They had Google Adwords ads until one of their competitors hired a team of people in India to click endlessly on their ad. They ran up thousands of dollars in advertising costs maliciously (with no other intent than to cost the advertiser $$).

    I think that if you define click-fraud in that way it should be considered illegal. There are real monetary damages associated.
    I would think that is illegal. Is your client considering legal action against the competitor that hired the team in India? I think they should. And once your client gets a judgement against the competitor they should forward the details of that over to Google -- maybe Google would no longer accept advertising from that company.
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  13. #13
    SitePoint Guru dragonhawk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by beley
    I agree that this is a publicity stunt, and that it is working. However, I also think click-fraud is getting out of hand. I have a client that is in a very cut-throat competitive industry and being the small player, they are doing what they can to advertise themselves as well as the competition. They had Google Adwords ads until one of their competitors hired a team of people in India to click endlessly on their ad. They ran up thousands of dollars in advertising costs maliciously (with no other intent than to cost the advertiser $$).
    I thought that there was a way to stop your ad from being displayed in certain countries? So if they are not targetting India, they should stop their ads from being displayed in India. This would prevent the click fraud.

    That said, I think you can't entirely blame Google for click fraud. The advertiser themselves can also play a little part by limiting the number of ad displays a day or by targetting the right people in the first place.

  14. #14
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy
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    john2k - It's not exactly that simple. First they would to have the money for a drawn out legal battle. Then they would have to be able to prove their competitor was doing this (IF it is even illegal). They personally know because someone at the competitor's told them (gloating) but nothing that they could prove (that I know of). Also, this isn't the only tactic they are using - they are also using spyware redirects to steal their legitimate traffic (which is also apparently not illegal yet).

    dragonhawk - That is only a quick-fix solution to the problem - and they have done that. That still doesn't do anything about the thousands of dollars in click charges, and it doesn't keep the competitors from just hiring people in another country or even the US.

    I dont't think Google is responsible at all, but I do think they should be proactive and help create software that prevents this sort of thing.

  15. #15
    SitePoint Enthusiast David Lindon's Avatar
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    Well I'm completely agaisnt lawsuits because people are just after money. Lets review, google has not done anything wrong, the greedy script kiddies clicking their google ads have and they should be the ones at the end of the lawsuit but since they don't have any money, google get attacked because lawsuits and lawyers just like stealing money from innocent people. It makes me sick.
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