Advertising agencies began receiving a legal notice from Google late Monday related to a lawsuit brought about by AdTrader, which manages and places bids for online advertising.
Google’s letter to agencies states that the company has been ordered by a California federal court to produce information related to some of its advertising accounts.
This lawsuit was filed against Google on behalf of Google Marketing Platform, previously DoubleClick Bid Manager; Authorized Buyers, previously AdX; and Google Ads, previously AdWords advertisers.
The email serves as a notice to agencies that Google will comply with the order on December 5, 2018, and provide names, company names, customer IDs, addresses and or telephone numbers associated with specific account numbers. It also will turn over to AdTrader's lawyers any information related to the credits received when publishers working with Google’s ad exchange was terminated.
“What I really want to know is the reason behind Google seizing AdTrader’s earnings,” said Janel Laravie, founder and CEO at Chacka Marketing. “As an agency we continually scrutinize ad quality. If we feel any of our clients receive poor quality traffic, we compile all the data and present it to Google.”
Laravie said Google has always worked with the agency to provide a positive outcome. More importantly, Chacka works with Google to improve their automated detection process for invalid ad clicks.
Many other agencies whose reps spoke with MediaPost also received letters.
"We take seriously any violations on our ad platforms and have a longstanding policy of crediting advertisers for invalid traffic," according to a Google spokesperson.
AdTrader alleges in that lawsuit that Google failed to provide advertisers with credits when it discovered invalid publisher activity. Now the court wants the names and contact information of the advertisers that received credits when certain publishers' ad-exchange accounts were terminated, as well as information related to the amount and date of those credits.
Any agency that receives the letter has accounts that fall within this category, in which case Google says it is obligated to turn over the names and contact information of the brands. Turning over the information to Google does not make the agency part of the case, according to the letter.
“The court also issued a protective order in the case and Google will designate the information as confidential,” according to the notice. “This designation prohibits the plaintiff lawyers from using the information for any purpose outside of the lawsuit.”
A description of the lawsuit found on the web states that a few days before Google was scheduled to pay AdTrader its accrued earnings on Google’s mobile ad network AdX in May 2017, the search giant terminated its account due to violation of its policies by AdTrader. Google, however, did not terminate the individual accounts of AdTrader's publisher clients.
At the time, AdTrader had a balance of $476,622.69 in its Google ad exchange account, which it withheld.