Siding with Google, a federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit by an advertiser who alleged "rampant" and "widespread" click fraud on Google's network of publisher sites.
U.S. District Court Judge Beth Labson Freeman in San Jose said in her ruling, issued this week, that the advertiser -- business owner Gurminder Singh -- lacks "standing" to proceed because he did not allege that Google charged him for invalid clicks. Freeman's ruling was without prejudice, meaning that Singh can revise his allegations and bring them again.
The dispute dates to 2016, when Singh filed a class-action complaint about alleged click fraud on the Google Display Network -- including Blogger, YouTube and numerous other sites that show pay-per-click ads. Beginning in 2016, he noticed "anomalous click patterns" that were indicative of fraud, he alleged in court papers.
Singh alleged that he ran "experiments" to determine the extent of click fraud in Google's network. Those experiments, combined with research by others, "revealed rampant, wide-spread invalid and/or fraudulent click activity on advertisements within the AdWords platform," Singh alleged in his court papers.
"Across the entirety of AdWords’ United States user base, these invalid clicks result in billions of dollars in additional profits for Google on an annual basis at the expense of its advertisers," he said in his complaint.
Freeman ruled that those allegations were not sufficient to warrant a lawsuit.
"Singh’s experiments purport to demonstrate that Google does not sift out a vast majority of invalid clicks," she wrote. "These experiments are not scientific."
She added that the complaint does not "address whether Singh was personally charged for invalid clicks."
Freeman gave Singh until April 23 to revise his allegations and bring them again.
Singh isn't the only one suing Google. The company is also facing a suit by an AdWords advertiser who alleges that Google failed to honor a promised discount, and failed to geo-target ads.