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Google settles click fraud legal dispute

Antony Savvas

Google has tabled a proposed $90m (£53m) settlement to address claims that its advertising customers have been the victims of substantial “click fraud”.

The settlement proposal is in response to a class action lawsuit issued last year against Google, AOL, Yahoo, Netscape companies and web portal companies.

The settlement has been accepted by the plaintiffs, but has to be approved by a US court.

The other companies being sued by the US online retailers have so far not offered any settlement proposals.

The lawsuit was brought after retailers claimed they had been duped into paying for clicked links onto their websites, even though those clicks were fraudulent.

Google said that it would now offer credits to advertisers who claimed they were wrongly charged for invalid clicks and not reimbursed as a result.

It is estimated that up to 20% of all clicks on internet ads could be fraudulent.

Rivals to advertisers can be tempted to generate large numbers of clicks to their ads to bulk up their marketing costs, and website publishers can boost the revenue they get from hosting ads on their sites by generating large numbers of clicks too.

Google and the other major online advertising companies use filtering technology to counter click fraud, but filtering systems cannot offer a guaranteed solution.


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