Google AdWords class action

by Walter Olson on July 18, 2008

It will come as no surprise to anyone who surfs the Web much that many parked domains and 404 error pages on otherwise active websites carry Google keyword ads. (If you don’t know what a parked domain is, this is one; if you don’t know what a 404 error page is, here’s ours.) It might also seem reasonable that ads in these locations would be glanced at and even clicked on by some non-trivial number of visitors, who will often be looking for information on the relevant topic (that’s the idea behind keywords) and, frustrated in their initial search for content, might be ready to check out an advertiser’s substitute content. However, Boston lawyer Hal K. Levitte professes great dismay and consternation that 15 percent of the $887.67 he spent on his ad campaign went toward placements in such inferior spots, resulting in 693 clickthroughs and no actual conversions to prospect or client status. So he’d like class action status to sue for fraud and unjust enrichment on behalf of all other Google ad customers (Legal Blog Watch, Jul. 16).

P.S. From comments, reader J.B.:

Not sure what’s fraudulent here, when Mr. Levitte set up his ad campaign in Google AdWords he was given the opportunity to specify whether he wanted his ads to appear only on Google search result pages, or also in other places such as these parked domains.

In addition, Google gives you the option to pay less for clicks from these “inferior” spots, because as he found out, they often result in less-desirable visitors.

We in the technology world have a saying for people like Mr. Levitte: “RTFM”

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1 JB 07.18.08 at 4:21 pm

Not sure what’s fraudulent here, when Mr. Levitte set up his ad campaign in Google AdWords he was given the opportunity to specify whether he wanted his ads to appear only on Google search result pages, or also in other places such as these parked domains.

In addition, Google gives you the option to pay less for clicks from these “inferior” spots, because as he found out, they often result in less-desirable visitors.

We in the technology world have a saying for people like Mr. Levitte: “RTFM”

2 AMcA 07.21.08 at 10:47 am

On the subject of Google ads: I read here that “mesothelioma” is a $66 click on Google.

So, every once in a while, I punch “mesothelioma” into Google, and click on all the sponsored links to lawyers. $66 a pop.

It’s my little way of moving resources from the carve-up-the-pie at-great-expense sector (asbestos lawyers) into the innovation sector (Google).

Always makes me glow with my public spiritedness.

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