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Google Settles Class action Law suit.
venrooy




msg:1143835
 7:41 pm on May 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

I don't know if I'm allowed to post this - But -

I just received this email from my adword rep:

<snip>
Anyone else receive this?

[edited by: Brett_Tabke at 3:53 pm (utc) on May 21, 2006]
[edit reason] please - no email posted on WebmasterWorld - please review tos - [/edit]

 

Windslide




msg:1143895
 7:56 pm on May 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

I tried to stay away from this whole situation.. but I canīt.
Letīs say tha whole thing itīs real (any doubt about it?)and whether we like it or not, it does have some kind of legal consequences for the class in a nearby future.
This is like one of those things, where you find yoursefl involve in one of thoe absurde situation, without knownig how you got there.
So, what did I do wrong? that now I have to send a letter with my signature to ask a bunch of lawyers not to be part of something I did never ask to be part of. But.. if I do nothing, I will be loosing my legal right "to do something " in the future?
This is like if a bunch of lawyers filing a suit against a telephone company sent you a letter saying, If you donīt opt out now, you will loose your right to demand the phone company for those calls carged to you, but that you didnīt make.
This got to be a major "win-win" game, If this is true.. I have my doubts about who`s behind all these.

Once again.. the more a know about the human race, the more a love my dog.

toddb




msg:1143896
 8:19 pm on May 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

By being a party to this suit we do not lose our ability to seek legal remedies for future issues. It is the past issues. How many of us were really going to sue Google over past click fraud issues?

celgins




msg:1143897
 8:33 pm on May 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

Just as toddb said, and like I mentioned in previous posts -- you will not lose your ability to pursue future claims against Google for click fraud or any other issue.

This particular lawsuit is simply stating that you may lose your ability to pursue future lawsuits against Google for this specific mentioning of click fraud. Meaning, all of the click fraud (from 2002 to present, or whatever it said) is what's at stake. Nothing after.

If you believe that Google is in the wrong for possible click fraud from July 2007 to December 2008, you are free to pursue another lawsuit at that time.

But in the future, you probably won't be able come back and revisit this lawsuit (the current one), since it is available to to you and you can be a part of it.

Murfman




msg:1143898
 8:39 pm on May 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

Right. It's not for future click activity but rather for some date (I don't know the cut-off point) all the way back to the beginning. Essentially, Google is trying to close the books on it. Forget about suing, I'm not sure you could even ASK for a review for that activity. What if someone someday develops a new measuring system and applies it to some dusty old log files and comes up with something? At that point, if the person hasn't opted out, it's pointless.

It's pretty obvious which side of the fence I'm sitting on here, but I'm trying to see both sides here. I think there are a LOT of flaws and unanswered questions with this settlement. However if, as you say, most people aren't going to go back and see this as their best shot at getting ANY refund, then they should consider it.

One point I haven't seen mentioned here (maybe it has been and I missed it) is the size of the settlement and the ramifications it presents if the cap is realized. 90 million minus the 30 mil in legal fees. 60 mil left which a lot of people believe does not come close to reflecting a comprehensive number for 4 years of activity. What happens if the number gets hit? It's not first come, first serve. The credits start to break down to percentages and the more over the cap it goes, the smaller relative percentage you hold and the smaller credit you get back.

celgins




msg:1143899
 8:45 pm on May 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

Well, any click fraud reimbursements will be credited to your Adwords account. You would be able to use that reimbursement for selling your Adwords ads.

I'm not sure about the $90M figure, but I'm guessing Google will try to determine how much each company, business, individual, etc. possibly lost due to click fraud. This may sound impossible (not sure if it is), but Google already filters invalid clicks before advertisers see them.

webwit




msg:1143900
 9:28 pm on May 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

It seems as though advertisers will only get a small percentage of credits in free Adwords Ads for money lost in click fraud in this settlement.

Yet, the lawyers who didn't even suffer the loss get a cool 30 million in cash.

Maybe the lawyers should only get Adwords Advertising credits like the rest of the people…

vincevincevince




msg:1143901
 12:01 am on May 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

I've made up my mind. I'm opting-out and objecting on the following grounds:
- Advertisers who have lost hard cash should be reimbursed in hard cash
- The legal fees are wholly inappropriate and grossly excessive
- There is no relation between the finances available for awarding damages and the damages which are due (as evident by the pro-rata distribution)

I am also sending a bill to the lawyers for my time and postages costs dealing with this extra work they have forced upon me.

gregbo




msg:1143902
 5:31 am on May 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

One of the major concerns I have is that I am choosing to block non US with my ad campaigns but still get non-US IP addresses on my server logs from my PPC ads.

Google should automatically rebate me for any non US IP traffic because that is traffic coming from non-legitimate clicks.

What are you using to block non-US IPs? Geotargeting is not guaranteed to be reliable.

Pareto applies here and once the sources of click fraud are truly exposed we will see that 80% of the fraud is coming from 20% of the IPs.

Fraudsters have ways of making the fraud come from any IP (in theory) by compromising the computer and manufacturing clicks. In practice, there are people who religiously protect their systems from being compromised, but because IPs can be reassigned, there is no guarantee that an IP (or IP block) is immune to compromise.

My opinion (as usual) is that the business model is wrong. Charging per click, or impression, or some other "actionable" event was just ripe for these types of problems.

celgins




msg:1143903
 12:29 pm on May 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

Vincevincevince.... I understand your frustrations, but:

- Advertisers who have lost hard cash should be reimbursed in hard cash

Not sure how you can reach that conclusion since the original intent of any monies paid to Google was for the purpose of advertising. They will simply re-apply those lost monies towards advertising in which you were subjected to fraud.

- The legal fees are wholly inappropriate and grossly excessive

Most legal fees are deemed inappropriate. But we as advertisers cannot control how much money changes hands between the originators of the lawsuit, and the attorneys. Attorneys set their own fees and there isn't a lot we can do to control that.

- There is no relation between the finances available for awarding damages and the damages which are due (as evident by the pro-rata distribution)

I still think Google will try to match (as closely as possible) the monies each individual company, business, person, etc., lost to click fraud.

I am also sending a bill to the lawyers for my time and postages costs dealing with this extra work they have forced upon me.

Good luck on that one! If it works, I may send them a bill too!

whoisgregg




msg:1143904
 1:45 pm on May 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

- There is no relation between the finances available for awarding damages and the damages which are due (as evident by the pro-rata distribution)

I still think Google will try to match (as closely as possible) the monies each individual company, business, person, etc., lost to click fraud.

Eh, no. The settlement is pretty clear that the distribution i based on how much each advertiser spent (represented as a percentage of all advertisers spend during that time) overall. If an advertiser's spend represents 1% of all advertising spend at Google during that time, they will get a check for $600,000.

vincevincevince




msg:1143905
 3:37 am on May 24, 2006 (gmt 0)

- Advertisers who have lost hard cash should be reimbursed in hard cash

Not sure how you can reach that conclusion since the original intent of any monies paid to Google was for the purpose of advertising. They will simply re-apply those lost monies towards advertising in which you were subjected to fraud.

What the intent is depends soley upon the advertiser's intentions. In my case I purchase adwords based upon the result I wish to obtain (sales, subscriptions, etc.) not upon an number of clicks or a fixed ad-spend. If I have spent $1000 on genuine adwords clicks to obtain the result I required, and have been billed an additional $200 for click fraud clicks that have added no value then I certainly never had any intent to spend that $200 on advertising and would not have spent it even if there was no click-fraud, my result-based-target being met.

If an advertiser's spend represents 1% of all advertising spend at Google during that time

That's not how I read it - it seems to me that the pro-rata was based upon the advertising spend of the class members who file claims and not of total worldwide advertising spend on Google adwords. i.e. if only 25% of remain in the class and bother to file a claim those remaining will be getting 4x their share.

Murfman




msg:1143906
 1:40 pm on May 24, 2006 (gmt 0)

The $60 million is a locked number, however that doesn't mean that it will be divied up among class members if the full amount claimed doesn't add up to that number. A person's claim is worth a person's claim. Not a percentage, unless the sum of the total claims exceed the top amount.

If the sum of the claims does not reach the $60 million, the rest will be donated to charity.

[edited by: Murfman at 1:56 pm (utc) on May 24, 2006]

ralent




msg:1143907
 1:51 pm on May 24, 2006 (gmt 0)

I was just looking at the 2005 Google Annual Report:
[sec.gov...]

Unless I'm doing the math wrong the total Google revenue for 2002, 03, 04, and 05 is $11,224,225,000

They state somewhere in the report that 99% of the revenue is from advertisers.

I spent a little over $100,000 during that period which gives me a .00001 contribution to the total Google revenue. Of the 60 million available (after legal) that would entitle me to about 6 cents. That is assuming I could certify that 10% of my clicks were fake.

ralent




msg:1143908
 1:55 pm on May 24, 2006 (gmt 0)

Actually, ithe link I posted was Google's FORM 10-K as filed with the SEC.

gregbo




msg:1143909
 8:52 pm on May 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

What the intent is depends soley upon the advertiser's intentions. In my case I purchase adwords based upon the result I wish to obtain (sales, subscriptions, etc.) not upon an number of clicks or a fixed ad-spend.

Hmmm ... if you bought on a CPC basis, you can't claim your (contractual) intent was a certain number of conversions.

whoisgregg




msg:1143910
 9:35 pm on May 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

My math worked out differently. Assuming $100,000 spend (and rounding Google revenue to an even 11 bil):
(100 000 / 11 000 000 000) * 60 000 000 = 545.45

So, advertisers get $545 for every $100,000 they spent (also known as 0.5%) and the lawyers get $30 million for the $0 they spent.

Yeah, great settlement. Good job looking out for the class, Gilard & Co.

ralent




msg:1143911
 1:44 pm on May 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

whoisgregg ... in my haste to make new banking arrangements I may have put the decimal in the wrong place, however, my guess would be that the $545 amount is if you could certify 100% of your clicks were affected by click fraud.

I think we agree on one thing without question. The only big winner gets the 30 million. Google … I mean the plaintiffs were lucky to have such competent counsel.

ralent




msg:1143912
 1:59 pm on May 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

Hey, shouldn’t a settlement include something to the effect like “here is what we're doing to prevent click fraud in the future …”

Maybe that topic just didn’t come up.

Web_speed




msg:1143913
 4:31 pm on May 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

Apparently advertisers aren't buying it. They're opting out in droves [googlewatch.eweek.com]. If five percent of folks opt out, the settlement is null and void, and Google will have opened the floodgate of lawsuits from other advertisers- some of which are claiming that Google has literally stolen billions and billions of dollars from them over the last 3 years.

It's also interesting that Google sent out the settlement offer via email instead of regular mail, and many people had it caught in their spam filters since it didnt even come from a Google email address. Even the webpage it directs to looks like a phishing site designed by an amateur. And if you want to opt out you have to write an actual snail mail paper letter back, you can't just reply to the email. All of this is clearly designed to confuse advertisers and reduce the chances of them opting out by the deadline of June 19. Even on forums filled with professional webmasters and advertisers like Google Blogoscoped, it took those experts a week to finally figure out if the email was real or not!

the law firm who arranged the settlement is famous for bogus class action settlements that make sure the injured parties don't get a dime. They even brag about [smalouf.com] successfully defending corrupt African dictators from prosecution, right on their official website. The lowest of the low, indeed. Google sure knows how to pick 'em.

Personally, I think the Arkansas judge who approved this settlement should be thrown off the bench and the assclown attorney Stephen F. Malouf who designed the settlement should be disbarred. Never in my life have I ever heard of a class action settlement which could involve billions of dollars being EMAILED to people and then giving them less than 30 days to respond or forever give up all their rights. There's a word for this, and that word is FRAUD.

These sort of class action cases always give people at least a reasonable amount of time to respond. What is going on? How can this happen right under our eyes and nobody seems to care? Is the entire legal system completely rigged?

OPT OUT - this class action is rigged. The only winners are Google and the law firm.

Windslide




msg:1143914
 7:16 pm on May 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

Web_speed,

You are the first person I read that clearly understood the situation here. This is a master plan from Uncle G. and "soon will be rich" lawyers. Iīm not talking about conspiracy or any thing like that.
Conspiracy refers to something that is going on "hidden". But here thereīs nothing hidden. What is worst, itīs right up in front of our eyes, but not wanting to really realize about it.

I love animals, cause they havenīt learnt yet to do Lobby, cheat, make promises, speculate and so on..

Funkiest




msg:1143915
 8:04 am on Jun 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

Hi There,
Everyone here is discussing the actual law suit, what I would like to know is exactly what kind of click fraud has been committed? For instance is it that the same IP has been repetatively clicking my ad? If so I know that other search engines (smaller ones) have the ability to prevent this and they provide me with a full list of IP addresses for each click that I am billed for. (repetitive clicks from your competitor are only charged once). Does G use this technology? Or is this something more sinister where they are artificially inflating the click throughs?
I'd love your opinions on this!

gregbo




msg:1143916
 9:15 pm on Jun 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

repetitive clicks from your competitor are only charged once

I'd like to know how these other engines determine who is your competitor, seeing as your competitor can launch their fraudulent clicks from several locations, not just the IP addresses that are allocated to their business.

bostonseo




msg:1143917
 3:20 am on Jun 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

Google charges you for repetitive clicks from competitors. I contend that competitor click fraud is the biggest, most damaging, form of click fraud.

Funkiest




msg:1143918
 2:38 pm on Jun 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

Sorry you miss interpreted me, its not just repetitive clicks from your competitors but repetitive clicks from the same IP's.

gregbo




msg:1143919
 8:48 pm on Jun 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

Google charges you for repetitive clicks from competitors. I contend that competitor click fraud is the biggest, most damaging, form of click fraud.

If repetitive clicks come from different IPs (or IP blocks, even), I don't see why they wouldn't charge (assuming they don't want to lose the revenue), since these could very well be "legit" clicks.

It seems to me that a reasonable request for an ad campaign is to limit how many repeated clicks can be charged for over some period of time, from a IP block, etc. (However, I can also see why the SE or ad network might charge an extra fee for this service.)

trinorthlighting




msg:1143920
 8:14 pm on Jun 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

Does anyone have the courts mailing address?

Our company attorney would like to write a letter to them.

JKelly




msg:1143921
 6:31 pm on Jun 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

Can someone please confirm whether my understanding and math is correct? If one spent $100,000 during the time period one would first need to determine and certify how much of that was affected by click fraud. Let's say one determines 10% or $10,000 in click fraud. One would then devide that by the revenue during that time period of about 11 billion which I think is .00009. One would then be eligible for .00009 x $60,000,000 or $5400. If the total claims are below $60,000,000 one would get $5400 in ad credits otherwise one would get a prorated amount?

pmkpmk




msg:1143922
 7:08 pm on Jun 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

OPT OUT - this class action is rigged.

See, there are some really big guys out there. Opting out and throwing their own lawyers at the issue is a good option for them. And then there's the rest. Comparatively small advertisers, "only" spending a few hundred or maybe thousand US$ a month. Opting out and going to court is NOT an option for them. Quite a lot of them are outside the US - which makes it even more difficult. Before the settlement they were grumbling, calculating a certain amount of click-fraud into the overall equation. Now, with the settlement, they see the chance to get at least a LITTLE compensation.

My estimate is that more than 90% of advertisers have not other option than hoping that the settlement will succeed!

mzanzig




msg:1143923
 6:04 am on Jun 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

JKelly:

spent $100,000 during the time period one would first need to determine and certify how much of that was affected by click fraud. Let's say one determines 10% or $10,000 in click fraud. One would then devide that by the revenue during that time period of about 11 billion which I think is .00009. One would then be eligible for .00009 x $60,000,000 or $5400. If the total claims are below $60,000,000 one would get $5400 in ad credits otherwise one would get a prorated amount?

Er, yes, except that the math is slightly wrong:

$100,000 x 10% = $10,000
$10,000 / $11,000,000,000 x $60,000,000 = $54.55 in Adwords credits

Yes, that's a whopping 0.055% of your Adwords spending.

:-)

JKelly




msg:1143924
 7:02 am on Jun 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

thanks mzanzig

bostonseo




msg:1143925
 12:11 pm on Jun 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

"Yes, that's a whopping 0.055% of your Adwords spending."

That's why THIS class action settlement was not even a slap on the wrist for Google. If you accepted this (or did not opt out) you have yourself to blame.

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