Case over fake click allegations against Google AdWords dismissed

By Takesha Thomas | Oct 12, 2018

SAN JOSE – A federal court has dismissed a claim against Google LLC after a businessman claimed the online ad service misled and charged him for fraudulent clicks.  

U.S. District Court Northern District of California, San Jose Division dismissed Gurminder Singh's fourth amended complaint against Google without leave for amend Sept. 27, stating that Singh failed "to plausibly allege he has standing to bring his claims," the ruling states.

Singh alleged that Google "deceives advertisers who choose to use its online 'pay-per-click' advertising platform AdWords," the ruling states. He filed the motion nearly two years after his first motion in the matter had been dismissed, the ruling states.

U.S. District Judge Beth Labson Freeman found that proof submitted by Singh was not sufficient enough evidence to prove that AdWords had failed to filter adequately invalid clicks as alleged. 

Singh had hired two separate click-fraud detection companies, Method Media Intelligence and Oxford BioChronometrics, to prove his claim, according to the ruling. The companies analyzed the click-fraud prevalence of his AdWords account.

"Though MMI found at least 50 seemingly fraudulent clicks, it could not determine whether those clicks were invalid and charged to Singh because Singh could not obtain necessary supplemental data from Google," the ruling states.

But Google argued "alleging mere detection of 50 invalid clicks says nothing about whether Singh was actually charged for those clicks. Moreover, without allegations detailing the total number of clicks on Singh’s ads, or the total number of clicks detected by Google, the 50-click number is useless for determining whether Singh was charged for more than 5-10 percent invalid clicks," the ruling states.

The second firm, Oxford BioChronometrics, analyzed five separate ad campaigns on Singh’s AdWords account over an eight-day period to detect the number of invalid clicks, the ruling states. In one campaign, OB reportedly detected 24.18 percent invalid bot clicks on Singh's account, while Google’s filters detected only 7.12 percent invalid clicks. In the other, court documents state, OB detected 26.62 percent invalid bot clicks, while Google’s filters detected only 10.51 percent invalid clicks.

"Singh alleges that this data 'clearly shows that [he] was billed (and paid for) for a range of invalid clicks well above the 10 percent Google claims to detect,'” the ruling states. 

According to the ruling, say Google challenged those claims writing in part, "finding ~25 percent invalid clicks on two of Singh’s ad campaigns, Google first challenges the allegations pertaining to the study as 'exceedingly vague,' revealing no information about which five ads were tested, what was advertised, or whether they were a representative sample of Singh’s AdWords account." 

"Google also posits that Singh’s failure to report the results of the other three ad campaigns reflects that Singh cherry-picked the results to avoid revealing that the overall invalid click rate was actually below 5-10 percent," the ruling states.

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