NEW: Lane’s Gifts versus Google

 
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So a while back, Google was sued in Arkansas over click fraud by Lane’s Gifts and Collectibles.


Well, just 10 minutes ago, i received an e-mail:

From: clicksettlement@xmr3.com
Subject: Important Legal Notice Regarding Your Google AdWords Account

Body :

This court-ordered notice may affect your legal rights. Please read it carefully. If you purchased online advertising from Google between January 1, 2002 and the present, you are a class member in a class-action lawsuit in the Circuit Court of Miller County, Arkansas. This notice is to inform you of the Court’s certification of a class; the nature of the claims alleged; your right to participate in, or exclude yourself from, the class; a proposed settlement; and how you can claim an award of advertising credits under the settlement. Please read the attached notice.

You can get more information at: www.clicksettlement.com.

And translations in about 10 other languages, of the above body.

The e-mail seems legite, and it also containes this Lane’s Gifts versus Google – Legal Notice PDF document.

This is very interesting. I never asked this e-mail, or approved anyone to send me any mails. is this a desperate call to action against Google, trough SPAM ?

If anyone has comments, I would to hear more on the subject.

UPDATE: It seems that there are already several threads about this issue, on WMW and Digitalpoint.

UPDATE 2: The Adwords team just responded to my mail :

Hello Cristian,

Thank you for your email regarding the click settlement detailed on this
website. This is a legitimate settlement and a notice was emailed out on
May 19 or 20, 2006 (PST). The email notification is legitimate and was
authorized by Google. Please be assured that Google does not share
advertiser or user information with any third party sites.

I will not disclose more, of the e-mail because i don’t know if i’m even allowed to disclose anything.

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13 Comments so far

Mike said:
May 21st, 2006

God, I hate webmasterworld censorship.

This discussion is temporarily on hold because somebody quoted an email… blah blah blah So annoying.

May 21st, 2006

I never write in WMW. Just read. I hate the policies they apply and i will not write content for them, just for that reason.

May 21st, 2006

I just got it too – I think it is spam, but a good one, and for a different cause. They’re trying to get as many people as possible in the process for them to win the case.

THing is I was just adjusting an adwords campaign at the time I got it…

May 21st, 2006

Indeed. From all the reports i got from several other forums, it seems that Google must’ve shared their Adwords advertiser’s e-mails (maybe because of a court order ?)

These e-mails are MUCH to targeted to be spam, as someone said.

Mike said:
May 21st, 2006

Can someone confirm my math?

As far as I’ve read, Google has made about 6,000,000,000 in revenues since Jan, 2002. So in this suit, advertisers get about 60,000,000 back. So basically this means you get back about 1% of what you spent over this period, right? (I read on other forums and they came to a different number)

e.g. if you spent $100,000 since 2002 you would get about $1,000 in adwords credits.

Mike said:
May 21st, 2006

Nevermind, I just found this:

http://www.fortwayne.com/mld/journalgazette/business/14618972.htm

Which says “Google’s offer works out to a $4.50 refund on every $1,000 spent in its vast advertising network over the past 4 1/4 years.”

So I guess just under half a percent, because they say ad revenue was $13.3 billion not just $6 billion (Man thats a lot)

Hmmm… this pretty much would be token money. But will enough people opt out? I don’t know what to do now, I guess I’ll just sit on my hands for a while, at least until I get a letter in the mail.

May 21st, 2006

You can have a look over the PDF i attached to this post, and decide if you want to fill it.

Obliviion said:
May 22nd, 2006

I think this is nothing but the SPAM, and scam for two reasons.
1. It is not reasonable to think google released our e-mail address without notifying us for an approval.
2. If this were asking for our participation, they would have announce it through mass media, not through e-mail.

The real problem here, is the someone has our e-mail address, who have the account with google adwards. They must have very lousy infomation security.

May 22nd, 2006

I sent an e-mail earlier today, to several Google e-mails, including security@, about this issue, and about why were the advertisers emails released to a 3rdparty, IF that’s the case here.

IF i get any answer, i will post it.

May 22nd, 2006

Just got the mail too – clearly Google aren’t going to send us out an email. If they did that it would legitimise the email and more people would file a claim. By completely ignoring it they know the vast majority of adwords users will just delete the email assuming it is spam. Very clever on googles part.

Has anyone been able to get onto the clicksettlement website – seems to have crashed.

May 22nd, 2006

I could, at the beggining.

It was like a page designed by a 13 year old.

Here is the official Adwords Blog answer.

Mike said:
May 23rd, 2006

Ok, in the PDF it says:

“You must certify in your claim form the percentage of your ads you believe were affected by click fraud.”

I don’t know how many of my clicks were affected by click fraud. A lot of advertisers won’t know exactly how many of their ads were affected by click fraud, hence why it’s called being defrauded. I thought the case was just to cover click fraud in general. If for instance I say 10%, then I only get 10% of my eligibility – or is this just for informational purposes or what…

Because above that it says:

“For example, if the amounts you paid to google for the affected ads were 1% of Google’s revenues from online advertising, you would be eligible to receive 1% of the total available credits”

If this is the case, google will pay out nowhere near 60 million to advertisers?? First of all, a lot of advertisers won’t fill out a claim. Then secondly, unless you claim 100% fraud you won’t eat up your portion and google keeps the rest?

So, for purpose of example, say half of people file claims, so instantly the bucket goes to $30 million. Then from that point, I doubt valid claims could be more than 10% on average, which would mean google only ends up paying out about 3 million of the 60 available?

I’m very confused on this whole thing now, sigh.

May 23rd, 2006

I don’t know how many of my clicks were affected by click fraud. A lot of advertisers won’t know exactly how many of their ads were affected by click fraud, hence why it’s called being defrauded.

So true. How the heck can the advertiser know the fraudulent part of it’s clicks.

If this is the case, google will pay out nowhere near 60 million to advertisers??

Indeed. That’s the whole point i guess.

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