Google Wins $75,000 In Click Fraud Case

Google quietly won a $75,000 judgment in May in a click fraud case against former AdSense participant Auctions Expert International and its two founders.

Google's lawsuit, filed late last year in Santa Clara County Superior Court in California, charged that the Houston-based Auctions Expert "artificially and/or fraudulently" generated clicks on the ads Google served to the company's Web site. Auctions Expert, like other AdSense publishers, received a share of pay-per-click revenue when Web visitors clicked on certain ads on the Auctions Expert page.

Google alleged in legal papers that Auctions Expert hired dozens of people to click on the site's ads, to the tune of at least $50,000.

When Google sued Auctions Expert, the search company presented the move as part of its anti-click fraud efforts. A company representative stated at the time: "We are vigilant in protecting our advertisers and the integrity of our programs... This lawsuit against Auctions Expert demonstrates the success of our anti-fraud system and that we will take legal action when appropriate."

Despite the recent legal victory, Google still must deal with significant challenges arising from click fraud. Currently, the search giant faces at least two high-profile lawsuits relating to the problem--one filed in Arkansas several months ago, and one filed at the end of June. The June suit, filed by Fort Collins, Colo.-based Click Defense, a pay-per-click monitoring company, alleges that Google "failed to take any significant measures to track or prevent click fraud," and "fails to adequately warn its existing and potential customers about the existence of click fraud."

A Google spokesman said both suits are "without merit," and that the company will defend itself.

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