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Suit Filed Against Google By AdSense Publisher
kevgibbo




msg:3066991
 7:18 am on Aug 31, 2006 (gmt 0)

eWeek [oraclewatch.eweek.com] reports that Google AdSense are being sued by a woman who admits to clicking her own ads!

...complaint filed earlier this week in San Francisco federal district court, Theresa B. Bradley, a management consultant and resident of Washington, D.C. accuses Google of several counts of fraud and misrepresentation, including misrepresentation in commercial advertising, and of "willfull, wanton, fraudulent and malicious" conduct regarding its AdSense product. The suit also alleges misrepresentation in interstate commerce.

[edited by: Brett_Tabke at 1:46 pm (utc) on Aug. 31, 2006]
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europeforvisitors




msg:3067527
 3:54 pm on Aug 31, 2006 (gmt 0)

It's too bad the teaser on the home page of Webmaster World is written the way it is. Instead of reading:

"... accuses Google of several counts of fraud and misrepresentation, including misrepresentation in commercial advertising, and of "willfull, wanton, fraudulent and malicious" conduct regarding its AdSense product."

It ought to read something like:

"Publisher sues Google after losing account for clicking on her own ads."

The way it's written now, WW members who don't actually read the thread (probably the same people who don't read the AdSense TOS) will be saying "Aha! This just proves that Google is cheating publishers" instead of learning something of value: namely, that clicking on one's own ads "to verify that the advertisers [are] not selling competing products" can get an AdSense publisher into trouble.

lammert




msg:3067568
 4:22 pm on Aug 31, 2006 (gmt 0)

The whole story reminds me of the thread [webmasterworld.com...] about one year ago. Also in that case the publisher clicked multiple ads on his site to check the sites of the advertisers and Google reinstated the publisher in the end.

The whole "clicking on your own ads" situation is not as black and white as most people believe or want to believe. If the site owner that currently filed a suit against Google instead had asked them to be reinstated, pleading guilty for clicking but without fraude as reason, chances had been--although small--that the account would have been reinstated.

Brett has also many times advocated that you should click your own ads because it's your site and you have the right to know where you are linking to. The most provocating post about this is probably [webmasterworld.com...] but a search on google for "site:webmasterworld.com brett_tabke adsense clicking own ads" will give you a whole lot more posts.

FYI: I do not click on my ads, nor would I advice people to do that on their own, but I wanted to illustrate that the situation can be more complicated than we would like to believe.

amznVibe




msg:3067636
 5:07 pm on Aug 31, 2006 (gmt 0)

I wonder if those letters after her name are "self-granted" degrees?
Can anyone find any colleges she claims to have graduated from?

She can't be doing too well if she's asking the court to waive court fees...

ps. it's possible to run a little javascript that removes the redirect from google adsense and allows you to click them to get the direct URL without going through Google - however it rather unlikely that is what she did...

[edited by: amznVibe at 5:09 pm (utc) on Aug. 31, 2006]

europeforvisitors




msg:3067654
 5:22 pm on Aug 31, 2006 (gmt 0)

Brett has also many times advocated that you should click your own ads because it's your site and you have the right to know where you are linking to. The most provocating post about this is probably [webmasterworld.com...] but a search on google for "site:webmasterworld.com brett_tabke adsense clicking own ads" will give you a whole lot more posts.

Brett may have been trying to help Darwinian evolution take its course. Or maybe he had other motives. Whatever the case, clicking on one's own ads is taking money from advertisers, and I doubt if "I was just checking the ads" is an acceptable defense.

MamaDawg




msg:3067657
 5:24 pm on Aug 31, 2006 (gmt 0)

the article mentions "soft support women's jog bras", but I couldn't find them in the site, alas....

I found them - buried a few levels down under products and fitness...

Judging from the thumbnails on the page, I almost believe that it took whoever did that site 100 hours to put Adsense on on it (hint #1: they apparently don't have a grasp of certain basic web skills, like how to properly resize an image).

But that's no excuse for not reading the TOS!

kanetrain




msg:3067667
 5:35 pm on Aug 31, 2006 (gmt 0)

I have never understood why G doesn't allow you to enter your own IP's from which you don't want clicks to count...

I struggle daily with the dilema of:
1) wanting to be fair to advertisiers
2) wanting to be fair to my users and not show nonsense useless ads to them.
3) Wanting to be fair to my business

In my industry there are a lot of adsense only sites that take up paid spots if we don't ban them from time to time.

If they just let us enter our our own IP's we wouldn't have to worry about checking on them.

We type in the url for now and hope for some tools to help us out.

At the very least, they could log the ip's (that we log into your account from) and not count clicks from those IP's. That'd be fine with me.

netmeg




msg:3067678
 5:45 pm on Aug 31, 2006 (gmt 0)

I have never understood why G doesn't allow you to enter your own IP's from which you don't want clicks to count...

I asked them this specific question once, and got an email back that they don't allow it because I (as a publisher) might make a mistake and accidentally limit my income.

d'oh! I'm soooo stupid that way, too... but how did Google know it?

Hobbs




msg:3067704
 6:00 pm on Aug 31, 2006 (gmt 0)

I think the danger in allowing us to enter IP's to be blocked is 2 fold, none of which involve stupidity:

1- We are human, and sometimes like people click by mistake they could enter the wrong IP or forget to update the blocked IP when changing their connection, very human.
2- It could give false security that it is OK to click your own ads, which with any technical glitch at Google's side or human error on yours could open up a new can of worms, plus diluting accountability, now it is your responsibility and yours alone, Google wants it this way.

Self restraint is the best policy here.

woop01




msg:3067707
 6:02 pm on Aug 31, 2006 (gmt 0)

amznVibe, I wondered that myself. I can't find anybody resembling her in the California Bar Association.

jtara




msg:3067727
 6:09 pm on Aug 31, 2006 (gmt 0)

Brett has also many times advocated that you should click your own ads because it's your site and you have the right to know where you are linking to.

I don't agree that you SHOULD (given the agreement and TOS). But I do agree that you should BE ABLE TO.

It's a perfectly reasonable thing to expect to be able to do. It would not be difficult for Google to implement technology so that such clicks "do not count". But they haven't. It would be a great convenience for publishers, and trivial for Google to implement. There's gotta be a reason...

I have to pause and ponder whenever there is something so obvious that Google doesn't do. (An example from Adwords: why don't they check for valid display URLs AT THE TIME OF AD ENTRY? Ads are running with completely nonsensical display URLs, such as with no TLD.)

In this case, I'd speculate that one reason Google might not wish to implement this feature is that it can be used selectively and retroactively as an excuse to eliminate almost any publisher that they'd like to eliminate. I mean, it's awfully tempting to click on the ads - NOT to boost income, but exactly for the purpose this woman did - to check-up on the ads and determine if one wishes to ban them or not.

Come on, who here hasn't done this at least ONCE? Fess up. At somebody else's house? At a public terminal?

BAM! Google's got ya right where they want! Don't bother complaining about anything. If you do, you're outta here! I'd bet that in the vast majority of cases, Google ignores a few clicks by the publisher when it is obvious that the purpose is to check that things are working or to check-up on where they lead. I'd bet they only take action when (a) there is obvious fraud or (b) the publisher is making trouble for them, asking embarrasing questions.

Certainly, it is possible to check-up on ads (in MOST cases, but NOT all) without clicking on them - simply pull out the destination URL from the Google URL and paste it into a browser bar. However, that's not very convenient, even with helper tools (such as the Split Link extension for Firefox). (And, hey, I WILL admit that this woman doesn't seem the most competant Adsense publisher out there...)

As for the "it's there in the agreement" argument - one can put anything in an agreement, whether it in fact has the force of law or not. I'm not saying that this provision of the agreement is illegal, but I do think that many here too blindly accept the premise that anything written in a legal agreement is, in fact, lawful and enforceable.

FWIW, I am NOT an Adsense publisher. I AM an Adwords customer. I do NOT use the Content Network, because it is simply too opaque for both publisher and advertisers.

jtara




msg:3067737
 6:18 pm on Aug 31, 2006 (gmt 0)

I can't find anybody resembling her in the California Bar Association

Maybe that's because (according to the article) she's a resident of Washington, D.C....

(The suit was filed in FEDERAL court in San Francisco. Would this require admission to the California bar?)

goubarev




msg:3067746
 6:23 pm on Aug 31, 2006 (gmt 0)

What if google comes up with a little program that attaches itself to the browser - you as a publisher enter your websites into it. When you browse to your sites you may click on the ads on your sites and the program will make sure not to count your clicks...

jtara




msg:3067757
 6:33 pm on Aug 31, 2006 (gmt 0)

What if google comes up with a little program that attaches itself to the browser - you as a publisher enter your websites into it. When you browse to your sites you may click on the ads on your sites and the program will make sure not to count your clicks...

That would be nice. But they haven't.

I assume you posted that as bait, and you are referring to the Preview Tool. However, it's not the same thing. The Preview Tool displays ads that MIGHT be displayed on your website - it's a simulation. More useful would be a tool that ignores clicks made on ads that ARE displayed on your website.

Tapolyai




msg:3067759
 6:41 pm on Aug 31, 2006 (gmt 0)

It would not be so complex to add an IP list to one's account.

The list would tell Google Adsense system to not to account for clicks originating from the IP(s).

This would satisfy the webmasters' need to follow ad-links easily, and limit Adwords publishers' fraudulent costs.

[edited by: Tapolyai at 6:41 pm (utc) on Aug. 31, 2006]

europeforvisitors




msg:3067760
 6:42 pm on Aug 31, 2006 (gmt 0)

Come on, who here hasn't done this [clicked on his or her own ads to check them] at least ONCE? Fess up. At somebody else's house? At a public terminal?

I haven't, and I'm sure that many other members haven't.

woop01




msg:3067775
 6:52 pm on Aug 31, 2006 (gmt 0)

I did once by mistake (too many windows) and I e-mailed Adsense to let them know I did it right away.

jtara, that certainly makes sense doesn't it.

incrediBILL




msg:3067783
 6:58 pm on Aug 31, 2006 (gmt 0)

Blocking by IPs won't work as many [most] people don't have static IPs and some services like AOL rotate the IPs in their pool so about every 15 minutes you're on a new IP.

Just don't click the ads, it's easy and it's the T&C law ;)

jtara




msg:3067787
 7:03 pm on Aug 31, 2006 (gmt 0)

I haven't, and I'm sure that many other members haven't.

Here's a trick question for you, EFV: are you an Adsense publisher?

goubarev




msg:3067812
 7:14 pm on Aug 31, 2006 (gmt 0)

Hi jtara,
Actually, I'm not even sure what Preview Tool is...
I thought it's something that inside of your account - that shows you how the ads might look like on your site...

I'm talking about a program like a toolbar for the browser - I have no idea if Google has it or not. That toolbar would install on your computer, you would enter YOUR websites into it. When you visit your websites - this toolbar would know they are yours and, if you have any adwords, it would "disable" them.

This would help in 2 ways
1. You can click on the adwords on your own sites - as much as you want - that toolbar disabled them... it's not going to count as "valid" clicks"
2. This toolbar would "decrease" the number of impresssions for your ads - since it will discount all the impression done by you - the owner... This would increase your Click-through-rate...

P.S. Coming to think about it, why don't they just at that functionality to the google bar...

hunderdown




msg:3067846
 7:33 pm on Aug 31, 2006 (gmt 0)

Here's a trick question for you, EFV: are you an Adsense publisher?

Hah! That's a funny one. Or maybe you don't hang around in this forum much?

BigDave




msg:3067852
 7:35 pm on Aug 31, 2006 (gmt 0)

She shouldn't be suing Google, she should be suing her law school for graduating her without teaching her to read contract terms and understanding their significance.

fincd




msg:3067861
 7:39 pm on Aug 31, 2006 (gmt 0)

I think She is the winner.

Text under her photo is "... corporate psychology expert for Halliburton and seller of soft support jog bras"

Second passage "Bradley, owner of Brava Corp ..." and "AdSense on www.bravacorp.com ..."

there is even a digg link on it.

I guess maybe she is one of the members in webmasterworld, and definitely knows what she is doing.

hunderdown




msg:3067869
 7:46 pm on Aug 31, 2006 (gmt 0)

fincd, I don't understand your point. Did you follow the link to her site? Are you saying this is great publicity? I guess it's great publicity like Paris Hilton getting into a fight with a friend is great publicity.....

BigDave




msg:3067872
 7:48 pm on Aug 31, 2006 (gmt 0)

It's a great plan to get a spike in traffic to her own site, where she does not sell anything or make any advertising income.

Seems brilliant to me. Not a single flaw in that logic.

hunderdown




msg:3067889
 7:59 pm on Aug 31, 2006 (gmt 0)

It's not a site meant to make money. It's a sort of virtual portfolio for someone whose primary income is government contracts.

jtara




msg:3067900
 8:08 pm on Aug 31, 2006 (gmt 0)

Actually, I'm not even sure what Preview Tool is...

It's similar to what you propose. It attaches to the side of MSIE and allows a publisher to preview what ads MIGHT be shown on their site. You don't have to sign-up with Adsense to use it. It's intended as more of a marketing tool.

2. This toolbar would "decrease" the number of impresssions for your ads - since it will discount all the impression done by you - the owner... This would increase your Click-through-rate..

A GREAT idea! Hadn't thought of that aspect. During testing/updates of a new small site, impressions made by the webmaster will skew the stats. This solves that. (Of course, one can always build-in a feature to your website to not display the ads when accessing your own site.)

netmeg




msg:3067977
 8:56 pm on Aug 31, 2006 (gmt 0)

The Preview tool isn't entirely accurate, and it's buggy in some instances (and they need to provide one that works with IE7 and Firefox) but overall, I have found it to be pretty darn reliable as far as showing which ads are actually appearing on my sites, and you CAN click on the links in the Preview tool and find out where the ads are actually going.

I have hit a stray click now and then while working on my site, both from home and from work, and I haven't gotten banned for it, nor does the click actually accrue any earnings - it shows as a single click with no value. I suspect that Google keeps track of which IP numbers I log into the Admin from, and discounts any stray clicks from those IPs.

Now that AOL is getting rid of the proxy servers, I bet that's going to have an effect on all this as well.

[edited by: netmeg at 8:59 pm (utc) on Aug. 31, 2006]

Murdoch




msg:3067985
 8:57 pm on Aug 31, 2006 (gmt 0)

What a disgustingly ugly site. I really hope she doesn't want publicity for this thing because it probably would bring her reputation down. I especially love how you have to scroll over just the slightest bit to see everything on the page

And the tagline! That is great. Oh and wonderfully clever. I think this would be the best way to describe almost everything she does, such as:

"Lawsuits against Adsense from Adsense publishers who like lawsuits"

or maybe

"Haliburton lackeys from the lackeys at Haliburton"

I could go on and on.....

I think she actually graduated from the Redundancy Department of Redundancy...

spaceylacie




msg:3068067
 9:43 pm on Aug 31, 2006 (gmt 0)

Well, this is a good lesson to never trust a doctor who is trying to sell bras on the side. She can't even pay for the costs she is incurring on our US legal system. This should have just been another ordinary "I've been banned for no reason" thread, not this joke. Just thinking that my tax dollars are going to "protect the rights" of someone like this makes my skin crawl. Get your head out of that psychology book, lady, and get a life.

wellzy




msg:3068100
 10:10 pm on Aug 31, 2006 (gmt 0)

I have never clicked on ads on my sites either. Never really tempted to.

If she were to somehow win this lawsuit, she should invest the money in a new web designer. It looks like she had a two year old design it. These are the kind of frivolous lawsuits that end up driving prices up.

ann




msg:3068125
 10:20 pm on Aug 31, 2006 (gmt 0)

Anyone read the update on eweek? Seems we are mentioned in it. :)

Ann

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