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Lawyer files class-action against Google Adwords

Discussion in 'Google' started by Bryce, Jul 16, 2008.

  1. Faint

    Faint Well-Known Member

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    #21
    Also, Google does not warranty any conversions does it? I mean, why don't I take them to court because I was advertising my legal services under the "exotic dog breeds" keyword?

    It's just a flawed law suit in my eyes.
    SEMrush
     
    Faint, Jul 16, 2008 IP
    SEMrush
  2. oxidati0n

    oxidati0n Peon

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    #22
    How many times has Google been sued, Oh my god and they're still here.

    Let's see now:

    YouTube v Disney
    YouTube v Viacom
    YouTube v National Laws
    Google v Some random people.

    (not Google) but Facebook too. :)
     
    oxidati0n, Jul 16, 2008 IP
  3. snowbird

    snowbird Notable Member

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    #23
    I fail to see how ads placed on parked domains/error pages can be associated with any bait and switch scheme. By allowing this advertiser the opporunity to opt-out of content related site ad placement, the burden is placed solely on the advertiser. Shame on him. For being an attorney he should know better and read the fine print. :)

    Google has every right to run its advertising network as it wants to, providing it operates within law. From what I see, Google is doing that. The fact remains that Google does not guarantee conversions.

    This situation is a clear case of an opportunist. He's an attorney, with a poorly designed site for a supposed professional. His bounce rate would probably make the bounce rate of MFA sites look pretty darn good. So he gets some of his buddies to represent his legal claim and push for class status. Google either settles out of court or spends thousands fighting a lawsuit not worth the paper it was written on. Either way, Google could potentially be on the hook for some big money. In the end, the plaintiff has some great link bait with his URL posted on a wide variety of news sites, blogs, forums (including DP), etc. That's much better exposure then any $136 Adwords budget!

    One could say that any Internet advertising company could be the target of such frivolous lawsuits. Pop Ups for example offer a poor conversion rate, so do they get sued because the ads were run on .info domains? Or should banner advertising companies be sued because they don't allow advertisers the opportunity to choose the time their ads are served?

    There is something called personal responsibility, and more people need to exercise common sense and get informed before they make any decisions. The plaintiffs apparent lack of understanding of the Google Adwords program is not Google's responsibility.
     
    snowbird, Jul 16, 2008 IP
  4. FHI

    FHI Guest

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    #24
    FHI, Jul 16, 2008 IP
  5. Bryce

    Bryce Peon

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    #25
    @shallowink - Yes, Adsense for Domains is related to an acquisition. Although it's from 2005, here's an article from SearchEngineWatch with more details.

    There is also responsibility in the advertising industry to adhere to the FTC's legislation, which Google is stepping all over because they know they have the money to pay off any fines if/when they happen.

    I personally think this case will have the FTC looking more closely at Google's lack of transparency with their Adwords/Adsense program.

    And FYI, Google does not make the laws. As with any other company, they are bound to obey them.

    Come on, monetizing error pages? Gimme a break ;-(
     
    Bryce, Jul 16, 2008 IP
  6. snowbird

    snowbird Notable Member

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    #26
    Google gives users a choice to have ads appear on just Google search and/or the search and content networks. If the plaintiff did not want to advertise on the search or content networks, then he should have read this.

    So what your saying Bryce is that Google should itemize certain areas of the content and search networks to allow the exclusion of parked domains and errors pages. I think that would be a great decision to help advertisers, but it would also hit publishers and Google in the wallet. That's why Google bundles it. It's an all or nothing approach to maximize their revenue, which they are entitled to do as it is their business. Google gives advertisers the opportunity to opt out of this, if they so choose.

    This information is quite clear and readily available. The plaintiff should have simply clicked on "Edit Settings" in his account and checked only "Google Search." As I said previously, the plaintiff failed to read the documentation regarding Adwords. Because of this, he lost $136. Big deal. There are many others that jump into PPC and make similar mistakes.

    404 traffic has been monetized for years, so Google's push to monetize this traffic is to be expected. Once again, the user has a choice to run ads only on Google Search.

    As with any Google program, there is a lot of reading involved. Adwords is no exception. But the information is there, and it is the plaintiffs burden to read the documentation and policies he or she agreed to upon joining the program.

    I agree that improved transparency, or as I refer to as more detailed program information, in Adwords would be great. Even so, if parked domains and 404 traffic are not de-bundled from Google's advertising outlets, little will change. It's not against the law for Google to include parked domains and 404 traffic as part of their search or content networks.

    I can see why Adwords advertisers would want to exclude parked domains and 404 clicks. Being able to do so would improve their conversions. But they have been able to exclude parked domains and 404 clicks by choosing to display ads only on Google Search. The reason why these people don't do that is because the bids are higher and exposure is limited. The plaintiffs problem is not any fault of Google, from what I have read. His problem is that he failed to read and understand what he was doing. Now he is suing for his self inflicted losses.
     
    snowbird, Jul 16, 2008 IP
    Bryce likes this.
  7. Bryce

    Bryce Peon

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    #27
    I agree with you about the end-user's pesonal responsibility to read the documentation and yes, I learned the hard way with both Adwords and Yahoo (and lost a lot more than $136 on my first go-round).

    However, my purpose for bringing this thread in here was to discuss the ethics that Google is apparently lacking by applying one set of rules to webmasters and Adsense publishers while applying another set of rules to stuffing their own pockets.

    Come on snowbird, You have to admit that there is a distinct ethical conflict of interest in that Google is monetizing sites without content. I wonder how Matt Cutts would try to put a spin on this one?

    If it weren't for Google's "all or nothing" stance with Adsense publishers and the instant bannings with no explaination coupled with their frequent Adwords slaps, I wouldn't even care.
     
    Bryce, Jul 16, 2008 IP
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  8. snowbird

    snowbird Notable Member

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    #28
    You are right about Google's double standard. By not allowing Adsense publishers to post ads on pages without content, while allowing the practice on parked domains and 404 pages, simply gives Google more control. Knowing Google, this is designed to maximize their revenue while limiting the potential for fraud. Is it fair? No. But do no evil Google is out for number 1, and they will not turn away from monetizing any kind of traffic they can.

    I really don't believe the lawsuit is the tool to address the issue of ads on parked domains and 404 pages that lack content though. Nor do I feel the lawsuit has any merit. The lawsuit does expose some of the pitfalls of advertising outside of Google Search, but Google is free to run its monopoly any way they choose. That is until they cross that legal line...

    Adsense is a whole different issue. Your talk of transparency really needs to be applied to the Adsense bans. Now that issue might be a case worth hearing on a class level. Adwords slaps on the other hand can be dealt with, but it takes time which costs us lost revenue while we make the needed *tweaks.*
     
    snowbird, Jul 16, 2008 IP
  9. Bryce

    Bryce Peon

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    #29
    Again we're in total agreement. I think this lawsuit is a gimmick that Hal K. Levitte dreamed up for some free promotion for himself. Let's face it, Google may be slightly schleazy but their business is advertising/marketing and that's almost a prerequisite. Lawyers, on the other hand come in two flavors, 1.) total money grubbing ambulance chasing scumbags and 2.) over zealous legal eagles who follow the letter of the law without regard to the evolution of the human species.

    No matter what, I'm opposed to frivilous lawsuits. This lawyer knows he could have filed and won a judgement easily in small claims court but he's chosen to spearhead an initiative.

    I'm more on the publisher side than the advertiser side and one reason I think Google bans so many publishers so quickly is that they are obsessed with advertiser conversions.

    Advertising, in the traditional sense is about "brand recognition" and Google opened the Pandora's box of evil by pushing the internet advertising envelope into Adwords customers heads and making them think a successful campaign is based entirely on conversions.
     
    Bryce, Jul 16, 2008 IP
  10. ian_batten

    ian_batten Well-Known Member

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    #30
    So somebody is pulling a hissy because they didn't really know the risks of using adwords? Right...
     
    ian_batten, Jul 17, 2008 IP
  11. supercops

    supercops Peon

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    #31
    But still not a good news.
     
    supercops, Jul 17, 2008 IP
  12. Bryce

    Bryce Peon

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    #32
    Read the thread ....

    No news is good news. However, if you read this thread, I think it pretty much covers a significant percentage of opinions but there's always a new spin onwhat's already been established.
     
    Bryce, Jul 17, 2008 IP
  13. maldives

    maldives Prominent Member

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    #33
    This guy is looking for few bucks from google. What else? :D
     
    maldives, Jul 17, 2008 IP
  14. Bryce

    Bryce Peon

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    #34
    @maldives - You really think it's as shallow as that ???

    btw. checked out your "Leading Directory" --- PR0 - but charging $9.95 for a submission ?????

    whazzup ??
     
    Bryce, Jul 17, 2008 IP
  15. SilkySmooth

    SilkySmooth Well-Known Member

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    #35
    I note how the plaintiff didn't specify how many conversions the web site got from the remaining 84.7% ad budget. Normally when you write such comparisions you would put the figure to show the zero conversions vs the xx conversions.

    I expect given the web site, it was also probably very low and Google will use this in their defence of this case.

    I would also love to know this lawyers method for tracking phone and email enquiries that result from his ad campaigns.

    As for the double standards by Google debate. I am kind of on the fence on that issue because I can see why Google wouldn't want publishers to have the ability to do this due to the amount of abuse it would likely get. Also it is not just Google that is profiting, they are partnered with several large companies who are all getting a slice of the pie.
     
    SilkySmooth, Jul 17, 2008 IP
  16. Bryce

    Bryce Peon

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    #36
    BINGO -- You just hit the NAIL on the HEAD... no matter what Google pretends they know about Adwords campaigns - they will never know if this ambulance chaser actually got a conversion because if you look at his site, there's no "online order form"

    Which brings up the aspect of "Brand Recognition", which is what advertising is truly about except Adwords geeks want conversions and could care less about the brand recognition because they're more concerned with dollars vs. clicks.

    That being said, Adwords is really not a true advertising platform because most of it's clients are not looking for brand recognition, they're looking for immediate gratification... but that's Gooogle's problem for catering to the "ambulance chasers"
     
    Bryce, Jul 17, 2008 IP
  17. frugalwench

    frugalwench Peon

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    #37
    Exactly!
    Google will do whatever it has to do to make itself money, but it doesn't care whether the clients are making money or not. Then when they complain, what do they do? They disable the accounts of the pages where the ads were placed, and give you no reason.

    Mark my words, they screwed up when they disabled that rich teen's account. He has enough money to bring a class action suit against them, and I'm willing to bet you, he or someone else of his calibre will.
     
    frugalwench, Jul 17, 2008 IP