Given the results of the most-recent Google lawsuit – dubbed the “Google Content Ad Fraud Lawsuit” by Search Engine Watch author David Szetela , one of two things are certainly evident. Either suing Google (and most-likely settling out of court) is an extremely lucrative business or – Google’s carefully cultivated image isn’t to be taken solely at face value.
In case you didn’t read the brief, there was a recently-settled class-action lawsuit alleging that Google used a misleading registration form to trick marketers into paying for advertisements that ran on the Google Publisher Network (commonly known as AdSense, an ad-serving application run by Google that puts advertisements on websites automatically). The plaintiffs in the case argued that Google didn’t adequately communicate that pay-per-click ads would run on the AdSense network as well as the search results pages. Evidently, for those that wanted their ads to run on search result pages alone, this was not considered a benefit.
And so, Google has agreed to pay $3.5 million dollars to settle this class-action lawsuit. The settlement only affects marketers who advertised on Google between October of 2007 and July of 2009 and who didn’t realize that they would be opted-in to Google’s AdSense network by default. A representative for Google issued a statement that denied any wrongdoing in the matter.
Q – So, if you’re interested in paid search marketing, what is the lesson to be learned by this settlement?
A – Among some, there is a notion that businesses go to Google to advertise their products and that – merely by association – Google’s magic will propel them to profitability. This is simply not true. Yes, Google continues to dominate the search engine market. In September Google had 66.1 percent of the U.S. search market. But, when every dollar counts, make sure that your pay-per-click advertising program is being professionally managed by someone who has your best interest in mind (like the Paid Search Account Managers at Rank Fuse Interactive).
According to Brian Kabateck, managing partner of Kabateck, Brown and Kellner and lead counsel on the recent case against Google, “most of the advertisers who were affected were small businesses who didn’t use search marketing firms. This wasn’t a problem that plagued the really sophisticated advertisers.”
In closing, it should be mentioned that Google is not a careless or negligent company, but they are a massive company. Therefore, Google profits may take some internal precedent over individual customer needs. In other words, best practices may not be in alignment with “default” campaign settings. Professionals like the Paid Search Account Managers at Rank Fuse Interactive know the intricacies of the paid search marketing world – and they know how to adjust the necessary settings to maximize your budget and returns.