AdTrader, an online ad agency, has accused Google of failing to repay monies collected for invalid traffic, either made invalid through fraud or mistakes. In a legal brief filed in a US district court in San Jose, CA, this week, AdTrader asserts that Google failed to refund almost $500,000 paid to place ads on websites that drove invalid traffic, in violation of Google rules.
The company claims this is a pattern of intentional behavior and is asking to be recognized as a class action complaint. They’re taking aim at Google’s alleged false promises to refund advertisers for ad impressions placed through Google’s DoubleClick Ad Exchange that are found to be invalid.
According to The Register this isn’t the first time this has happened: “In 2006, Google agreed to pay $90m to settle a click fraud claim brought by Lane’s Gifts and Collectibles. And in April, 2017, it agreed to pay $22.5m to settle an adwords click fraud class action, covering the period from July 11, 2004 through March 31, 2008. An AdWords fraud lawsuit filed in California by Free Range Content in 2014 remains ongoing.”
About $80 billion of Google’s $90 billion in annual revenue comes from advertising sales
Business Insider says that the suit is based on a secretly taped phone call “in which a Google employee explains why AdTrader is being kicked off its DoubleClick Ad Exchange system.” Furthermore, BI says: “In the call, the exec says Google will refund AdTrader’s advertisers for money spent on clicks that were in violation of Google’s rules, the suit alleges. AdTrader claims its clients received nothing. Google denies the claims.”
Business Insider also quotes a Google response: “We look forward to reviewing the specific complaint. From what we have read in the press, these allegations are without merit. We have a longstanding policy of refunding advertisers for invalid traffic. As we recently announced, this is currently being expanded to include ads purchased via DoubleClick Bid Manager.” That announcement was made in September.
Stay tuned. This should kick up a lot of dust!