Another day, another lawsuit. David Almeida, a private detective, has filed a lawsuit against Google claiming that hundreds of thousands of companies that have signed up to advertise on Google may have been deceived into paying for ads that they did not want. Almeida and his attorneys are hoping that the lawsuit will become class action, which means that other people could join in the fight.
Almeida claims that he signed up his company, Bay State Detective Agency, to advertise on Google in 2006. He wanted the ads to appear only on Google.com, and not the millions of other websites which Google serves ads on. When he signed up for Google AdWords, he was asked to set a maximum price to pay for ads next to Google’s search engine results, and was told that setting a price for ads on other sites is option. Almeida believed that leaving this option blank would mean that his ad did not appear at all on other sites, and assumed that he wouldn’t be charged. Obviously this was not the case.
In the lawsuit, Almeida alleges:
“By redefining the universally understood meaning of an input form left blank, and then intentionally concealing this redefinition, Google has fraudulently taken millions of dollars.
Almeida filed the lawsuit in a California court last Tuesday. The lawfirm representing him, Kabateck Brown Kellner, has gone up against Google in the past in relation to “click fraud” claims. That case was settled when Google paid out a $90 million settlement in 2006.