Ask.com, sued over its failure to prevent click-fraud, is to reach settlement with plaintiffs.
Advertisers who used the search engine’s sponsored listings service after August 2005 have now been invited by email to register their claim in a class action lawsuit.
In the email letter, advertising are invited to register their interest in the suit ‘Lane’s Gifts and Collectibles et al. v. Ask Jeeves, Inc. et al‘ by February 2, 2008.
The notice states that “Ask Jeeves, Inc. breached its contracts with advertisers and violated other laws by failing to adequately detect and stop “click fraud” or other invalid or improper clicks on online advertisements.”
Click fraud in Pay-per-Click (PPC) advertising
Click-fraud is a malicious activity whereby an advert or sponsored listing is clicked, often by a third party or competitor, solely to use up the advertising budget of the website concerned. Not only can this be expensive for the advertiser, once the budget is exhausted their advert will no longer be shown on the search engine.
In recent years all of the major search engines have been accused of not doing enough to identify and prevent click fraud from happening, and in July 2006 Google settled their part in the same suit for a figure ‘not exceeding $90 million’.