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Lane's Collectibles v. Google - Charging for fraudulent clicks

A consortium of advertisers (led by Lane's Collectibles) have filed a class action suit in Arkansas against Yahoo, Google and 9 other search engines in February, accusing the Search companies of over pricing ads and colluding to keep ad prices high. The lawsuit also alleges that Internet search engine companies knowingly charged for fraudulent clicks.

In the pay-per-click model that Google and Yahoo use, advertisers pay each time a user "clicks through" on an ad listed alongside search engine results. But the number of clicks with ill intents is rising.  A fraudulent clicker can rack up fees for a business rival or try to generate ad revenue for himself. Last November Google filed a suit against Auctions Expert International LLC for clicking on ads Google supplied to the company's site. Click fraud has become a growing problem in the search industry. Google even said it is "the biggest threat to the Internet economy." Google and Yahoo won't give a public estimate of the number of bad clicks. Some people estimate that between 5% and 13% of all clicks are fraudulent and for some key words on certain search engines as many as 80% of clicks might be fraudulent. Google refunds advertisers for "unusual clicks" and "invalid click activity".

Lan's filed the lawsuit February 4 and the defendants on March 30 asked that the case be moved from state court to federal court.

  • April 5, 2005: Google and Yahoo! accused of click fraud collusion, The Register:
    "Google, Yahoo! and other players in the search business have become embroiled in a lawsuit which involves overcharging for pay-per-click online advertising."

  • April 5, 2005: Google & Co. im Zusammenhang mit Klickbetrug verklagt, Heise:
    "In den USA sind insgesamt elf namhafte Internet-Firmen -- darunter Google, Yahoo, AOL, Ask Jeeves, Lycos und Walt Disney Online -- wegen angeblicher Unregelmäßigkeiten bei der Vermarktung von Online-Anzeigen verklagt worden."




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