A federal class action lawsuit is being filed today by Kabateck Brown Kellner of U.S. District Court, Northern District of Carolina in San Jose, against Google for apparently charging customers for ads that they don’t want to.
According to the complaint, during the sign up process for Adwords, users would normally specify the maximum bid for the PPC advertising program. Adwords gives users two options on where they want their ads served. The first box is for displaying ads on Google’s properties while the second box, which is marked optional, can be used to users bid for ads served on Google’s partner sites. If a user leaves the second box blank, it was said that Google would still display the ads on third-party sites and hence charges the customers even if they don’t want to, based on the amount the user specified on the first box. The fact that Google charges Adwords customers for serving ads that they were not informed about, was the basis upon which the lawsuit is banking on.
Brian Kabateck, lead counsel on the case said:
“This debunks Google’s carefully cultivated image, Google is hurting its customers on two fronts. Google is not only taking money out of customers’ pockets, its derailing their advertising strategies as well.”
“Ads on third-party sites are widely-acknowledged to be far less effective (and therefore less valuable to the advertiser) than ads on Google.com. Google, of course, still profits greatly from these ads.”
News.com is currently running this same story, probably sourcing out the same email that got into my inbox an hour ago. News.com also said that they have solicited Google’s comment on this lawsuit but have not received any reply. Hopefully, Google would care to shed light on this issue through us here in the Journal.