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Google Click Fraud Settlement Update

David A. Utter
Staff Writer
Published: 2006-05-22

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The $90 million agreement negotiated to end a lawsuit by Arkansas-based Lane's Gifts and Collectibles has progressed to court approval of the preliminary settlement.

After receiving that approval late last week, Google disclosed that advertisers should be receiving notification of the settlement terms via email. Google's associate general counsel Nicole Wong posted a statement to the AdWords blog about the current status of the settlement:

"Now that the preliminary settlement has been approved by the Court, all members of the class are being notified about the settlement. On May 19 and 20, 2006 (PST), a settlement administration firm sent an email notification (from clicksettlement@xmr3.com and with the subject 'Important Legal Notice Regarding Your Google AdWords Account') to all advertisers who purchased online advertising from Google between January 1, 2002 and the present.

I recommend that you carefully review the information in the email and visit the site provided by the administration firm: www.clicksettlement.com. On the site, you will find links to the official settlement notice and settlement FAQs, both of which are in .PDF format. To view these documents, you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader.

As we have said in the past, we work hard to manage the issue of invalid clicks, and continue to be very effective in detecting and filtering them in order to deliver outstanding ROI to our advertisers. The vast majority of invalid clicks are detected and filtered out before they reach our advertisers' bills; if advertisers detect additional invalid clicks, our click quality team investigates and provides refunds as appropriate. You can read more information about invalid clicks and how we manage them here and in the AdWords Help Center here."

In March, Google announced the total amount of AdWords credits it will provide and the attorneys fees it will cover in the settlement will not exceed $90 million. Those credits will be for advertisers who claim they were charged for invalid clicks but not reimbursed.

Click fraud as an issue has threatened the online advertising model. The recent discovery of a botnet being used for automated click fraud could be the harbinger of more discoveries of criminal acts to gain ad revenue at the expense of online advertising firms.

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About the Author:
David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.

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