A federal judge has closed the courthouse door on an advertiser who sued Google over allegations of "rampant" and "widespread" click fraud on the company's network of publisher sites.
In a decision issued late last week, U.S. District Court Judge Beth Labson Freeman in the Northern District of California said the advertiser -- business owner Gurminder Singh -- didn't show that he had been charged for invalid clicks. Therefore, Freeman wrote, Singh lacked “standing” to proceed with a lawsuit against the company.
Earlier this year, Freeman dismissed a prior version of Singh's complaint, but allowed him to revise his allegations and bring the case again. The new dismissal order is “with prejudice,” meaning that Singh can't re-file his complaint.
Singh's lawsuit centered on alleged click fraud on the Google Display Network -- including Blogger, YouTube and numerous other sites that show pay-per-click ads. He said that starting in 2016, he noticed "anomalous click patterns" that were indicative of fraud.
He alleged in an amended complaint filed in April that he engaged an outside firm to analyze data and determine whether he was billed for invalid clicks, including clicks by bots.
Singh said the firm found at least 50 “seemingly fraudulent” clicks, but couldn't determine whether he was charged for them, according to the court papers.
“Though he alleges that he has 'been charged for, and subsequently paid for, invalid and/or fraudulent clicks on the Google AdWords platform,' ... such conclusory allegations are insufficient,” Freeman wrote.