A number of plaintiffs in a widely publicized class-action lawsuit filed against Google charged the search firm on Monday with failing to do everything it can to halt the practice of “click fraud” on its site and with exaggerating its actions to stop the involved parties from bilking advertisers out of funding, the Associated Press reports via USAToday.com.
Click fraud occurs when a party that’s not interested in a product advertised online repeatedly clicks on the product’s link to make advertisers think more potential customers have gathered information on their products. Those advertisers are then charged for the total number of clicks on their ads, even though a large percentage of those clicks were falsely generated and never represented a potential buyer.
The roughly 50 plaintiffs that voiced their dissatisfaction with Google’s proposed $90 million settlement did so as Miller County, Ark., Circuit Judge Joe Griffin is deciding whether to accept the search giant’s offer as appropriate compensation, according to the AP.
Texarkana, Ark.-based Lane Gifts and Collectables filed the original class-action suit against Google, the AP reports.
Steve Malouf, an attorney for a number of the plaintiffs, told the AP, “Google has a duty, in our view, to exercise reasonable efforts to filter invalid clicks.”
Under the proposed Google settlement, $30 million would go to plaintiffs’ attorneys for legal fees, and the remaining $60 million would be paid out to the plaintiffs not in cash, but in advertising credit for use on Google.com, according to the AP.
The majority of plaintiffs that objected to Google’s possible compensation are small businesses that claim they are unfairly put in the position of proving that Google directly caused them to pay for illegitimate clicks, when they don’t have large enough budgets to foot the necessary legal bills to do so, the AP reports.
Galen Workman, a representative with San Francisco’s Ozdachs Consulting, told the AP, “I am a small Google advertiser and a believer that I have been forced to pay for bogus clicks to my site I manage for consulting clients. The proposed settlement fails to address our damages and damages of those in my situation.”
Google said its offered settlement is fair and adequate, though it has also said the suit’s merit is “heavily disputed,” according to the AP.
The judge is expected to come to a decision within 48 hours, the AP reports.
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