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Google Settlement Brings Unhappiness

David A. Utter
Staff Writer
Published: 2006-05-31

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A $90 million settlement of claims brought in a class-action click fraud lawsuit against Google has been approved by the courts, but a number of people have filed complaints with the bench about the settlement's terms.

The attorneys will receive their one-third of the settlement in Google's click fraud case and will get their cut in cash. The other two-thirds will be parceled out to the members of the class action as credits toward more advertising on Google.

For some of the plaintiffs, that doesn't add up. An AP report on the case, Lane's Gifts and Collectibles, et al v Google et al, which was heard in an Arkansas court, finds that several complaints about the settlement have been submitted.

The article displayed a sample of a complaint from one businessperson, Galen Workman of Ozdachs Consulting in San Francisco, who claimed the proposed ending to the lawsuit placed an undue burden of proof on those in the class:

"I am a small Google Advertiser and a believer that I have been forced by Google to pay for bogus clicks to my site I manage for my consulting clients. The proposed settlement fails to address our damages and the damages of those in my situation," Workman wrote to the court.

"The huge number of advertisers like me who do not have resources to read their web logs and determine the percentage of fraudulent clicks are put in the untenable position of either (forgoing) the recovery of damages or any (one) else signing their names to a speculative statement which they cannot defend ... The settlement is a sweetheart deal among large companies and their attorneys. It is in the interest of justice that it be thrown out."

Google's CEO Eric Schmidt said in April that Google picks up on click fraud before advertisers see them. The settlement does seem to suggest some of them do get through, however.

A Google spokesperson who responded to complaints about the settlement said, "We believe the settlement reached with the plaintiffs is fair."

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

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