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Class Action Lawsuit For Google With Ads On Parked Domains

     
11:48 am on Jul 16, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Class Action Lawsuit For Google With Ads On Parked Domains [informationweek.com]
Google on Friday was sued for fraud, business code violations, and unjust enrichment, claims arising from the company's alleged sale of low-quality ads.
The class-action lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in San Jose, Calif., by lawyers from San Francisco-based Schubert Jonckheer Kolbe & Kralowec. The plaintiff is attorney Hal K. Levitte, who advertised his legal services though a Google AdWords pay-per-click campaign last year.
According to the complaint, the "Levitte International" online ad campaign ran from June 1, 2007, through August 18, 2007, and received 202,528 impressions from parked domain pages -- placeholder Web pages with auto-generated links related to a pre-determined search keyword or the hosting domain name.

2:16 pm on July 16, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Despite Google's semantic technology, the complaint states that the ads Levitte placed just didn't work. Out of the 202,528 impressions on parked domain pages, Levitte got 668 clicks and zero conversions.

I'd say what doesn't work is his website - at least if the website he advertised for is the one linked to in the article. You could spend a million dollars on advertising - you probably wouldn't get a single conversion out of this website. It's one page and two contact forms - what does he expect? He should have spent the $887.67 dollar he wasted for the Adsense campaign in adding some content and a decent design.

2:56 pm on July 16, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I don't think it is just about his bad website but the use of these type of sites to drag money from advertisers.

Not just Google but all of them using this type of advertisment it just won't convert I don't care what the site looks like, these are just bad clicks.

Parked domains is not a place I want to spend my money. This is just another reason I opt out of all 3 PPC's content match.

If this was more or less stopped those that are trying to add to the web by building quality sites that provide a user with some type of service maybe could get a domian to use as the domainers wouldn't be so quick to snatch up a domain just to put parked ads on it.

3:17 pm on July 16, 2008 (gmt 0)

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He should have spent the $887.67 dollar he wasted for the Adsense campaign in adding some content and a decent design.

Nah- he's going to get far more publicity by suing Google than he ever did with AdWords.
4:28 pm on July 16, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Parked domains should not contain any ads. I have mentioned this for years. Parked domains with zero content and ads are a scam (this is my opinion).

[edited by: SEOPTI at 4:28 pm (utc) on July 16, 2008]

4:28 pm on July 16, 2008 (gmt 0)

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New SEO tatic? Sue Google? Free publicity?
4:33 pm on July 16, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Google should Smart-Price itself. :-)
4:41 pm on July 16, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Holy doorway-pages, Batman!
[siteexplorer.search.yahoo.com...]

[edited by: goodroi at 8:40 pm (utc) on July 16, 2008]
[edit reason] side scroll [/edit]

4:46 pm on July 16, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I'd say what doesn't work is his website - at least if the website he advertised for is the one linked to in the article. You could spend a million dollars on advertising - you probably wouldn't get a single conversion out of this website. It's one page and two contact forms - what does he expect? He should have spent the $887.67 dollar he wasted for the Adsense campaign in adding some content and a decent design.

Agreed. Parked domain ads -do- work (though not as well as normal ads), but no user is going to stick around and read a site that looks like it was made with Frontpage in the year 1990. ;)

5:55 pm on July 16, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I love his title tag:

International Lawyer Attorney Boston MA Levitte Law Group Law Offices of Hal

He could probably use a good "Lawyer Attorney" at this point.

There's no way you can think this is going anywhere in court. Yeah I hate parked domains too but G gives you plenty of customization options with opting out of the content network, maybe he should've just learned the software (gasp!)

Truth is I wouldn't spend 2 seconds on that site of his. I'm sure the normal bounce rate was 99% anyway, regardless of the referrer.

[edited by: Murdoch at 5:56 pm (utc) on July 16, 2008]

6:23 pm on July 16, 2008 (gmt 0)

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>>>There's no way you can think this is going anywhere in court. Yeah I hate parked domains too but G gives you plenty of customization options with opting out of the content network, maybe he should've just [b]learned the software[b] (gasp!)

This is a newer development. Used to be that parked domains were part of the 'search network' and I'm pretty sure Google publicly defended that as making sense. They later changed this - but before, there was no opt out of parked domains.

>>but no user is going to stick around and read a site that looks like it was made with Frontpage in the year 1990. ;)

Huh. My mantra is to make your site look like it was done in frontpage 98 about 10 years ago. :)

7:06 pm on July 16, 2008 (gmt 0)

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[retracted]
7:28 pm on July 16, 2008 (gmt 0)

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New SEO tatic? Sue Google? Free publicity?

On the contrary, suing Google is an old and well established publicity tactic.

9:31 pm on July 16, 2008 (gmt 0)

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June 1, 2007, through August 18, 2007

A class action lawsuit with two and a half months of data?

Awesome.

12:41 am on July 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

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How do you determine if too many clicks are occurring on parked domains?
12:49 am on July 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Yikes, they run an affiliate program too!

And he's running Google Analytics...

6:42 am on July 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

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This is a newer development. Used to be that parked domains were part of the 'search network' and I'm pretty sure Google publicly defended that as making sense. They later changed this - but before, there was no opt out of parked domains.

Wow I'm glad I wasn't an Adword customer at the time. Parked domains as part of the search network? That's like being forced to eat street hot dogs for lunch while shopping for a luxury car.

2:44 pm on July 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

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This is a newer development. Used to be that parked domains were part of the 'search network' and I'm pretty sure Google publicly defended that as making sense. They later changed this - but before, there was no opt out of parked domains.

I used Adwords primarily between 2004 and 2006 and I don't remember this. In fact I had my Google Rep send me a list of the sites on the search network (which I shared with some WW members) and it was only 60 or 70 sites long. Did this happen after March of '06?

I probably still have the list around here somewhere. I'm sure it did not include parked domains, only relatively large companies like Tripadvisor that had a deal going with Google to use Adwords listings as their internal search results.

3:26 pm on July 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Parked domains should not contain any ads. I have mentioned this for years. Parked domains with zero content and ads are a scam (this is my opinion).

Amen! Moreover, Parked domains tend to violate the TOS as they are nothing more than a MFA.

Google should Smart-Price itself. :-)

Why do I find that so funny!

7:49 pm on July 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

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The advertising on parked domains allows Google to access natural, highly focused direct navigation traffic that search engines do not control. The plaintiff should put more effort to find his keywords first and test them before spending money on ads.
1:49 pm on July 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

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>>> probably still have the list around here somewhere. I'm sure it did not include parked domains,

Then what your google rep sent you was the list of sites in the search network, stripped of the parked domains. I'm certain Google used to do this - we had a thread about it here at WebmasterWorld a while ago.

I don't recall when Google changed this. I haven't run PPC in a while so I don't watch this stuff as closely as I used. It was only recently that I learned you could remove parked domains from the search network.

arteks post I think summarizes what Google was spouting as their rationale.

2:07 pm on July 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I'm certain Google used to do this - we had a thread about it here at WebmasterWorld a while ago.

Here's where it was first mentioned. Ironically enough I was part of the conversation :)

[webmasterworld.com ]

I do still have the list too. Of course this was back in February of '06. If it's true and my rep sent me an incomplete list intentionally then I would think that would be grounds for a lawsuit. Not that I would bring one against them but I would think that would be a serious offense.

5:49 am on July 24, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Google bought oingo who owned a lot of parked domains. Therefore google seems to have been taking our money and paying themselves. Do you think this behaviour could also drive up the bids for key words?