Claim Notices Going Out In Google AdWords Class Action Suit

It looks like advertisers may finally be getting some answers in the class action suit against Google, as claim notices are going out regarding the $22.5 million case.

The case, Google AdWords Litigation, was filed in the US District Court for the Northern District of California, and is regarding a 2008 claim that Google placed ads on parked domains and error pages without telling advertisers. Companies paying Google for ads had no idea their ads were being displayed on non-functioning pages, and that violates California’s “Unfair Competition and False Advertising” laws.

When this was discovered, advertisers brought a class action suit against Google, seeking payment for the difference of what what they paid per click and what they would have paid knowing the ads were going to low quality sites (which wouldn’t lead to clicks on the ads). Back in late 2007, Google actually started testing a way advertisers could opt out of their ads being shown on these pages. That option eventually became available globally and is still available today.

Google repeatedly denied the allegations, and asserted that advertisers were aware this could happen, but agreed to settle the matter out of court anyway. That agreement came back in February, ending a several year dispute that wound through multiple courts.

This week, many of the advertisers involved in the case (there are an estimated 2.3 million class members), received am e-mail with instructions on how to file a claim and receive payment.

Any US based advertisers that paid for AdWords advertisements that appeared on parked or non-functioning domains or error pages between July 2004 and March 2008 are eligible to receive compensation from this settlement. The final potential payouts depends on how much an advertiser spent and how many eligible claims are filed.

The Final Fairness Hearing for this suit is scheduled for the end of July in San Jose.

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