SAN JOSE, Calif. (Legal Newsline) – Google is being sued by California advertiser Gurminder Singh, who alleges that the internet giant failed to protect the plaintiff from fraudulent clicks.
Singh filed a class action suit both individually and on behalf of others July 1 in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, San Jose Division. The Vacaville resident claims to have suffered financial damages from the loss of ad-based revenue, as well as from substantial overcharges, significant artificial increases and associated inflation in the price of his advertisements on Google Display Network (GDN).
Specifically, the plaintiff alleges that Google didn’t appropriately measure the total clicks generated via AdWords placements, violated its covenant of good faith and fair dealing and charged him an inflated price for GDN clicks.
A spokesperson for Google told Legal Newsline that he could not comment on the lawsuit.
As a form of cyber crime, click fraud occurs when someone clicks on a “pay per click” advertisement to knowingly incur an expense to the advertiser and without intending to conduct business with that advertiser. Fraudulent clicks can be carried out by an individual, an online robot or bot, a computer program or an automated script.
False clicks end up costing advertisers billions of dollars per year. In 2006, lawsuits filed against Google and Yahoo resulted in both companies agreeing to refund millions of dollars to the advertisers who were wrongfully charged for click fraud.
A click fraud scheme can boost profits and harm an unsuspecting advertiser. Click fraud is considered a felony in many jurisdictions.
Eric Goldman, a professor of law at Santa Clara University, analyzed a previous click fraud lawsuit filed against Google regarding its AdWords contract, which was upheld in court.
In this case, it was a law firm that advertised via Google AdWords and allegedly was click frauded. The lawyer sued on behalf of his law firm for click fraud. Goldman wrote that Google’s contract formation process “is bulletproof.”
“As I teach in my cyberspace law class, the very best online contracts are ‘mandatory non-leaky click-through’ agreements, like this one,” Goldman told Legal Newsline.