Click Fraud Class Action Lawsuit?

From the WSJ (sub req):

A group of advertisers quietly filed a lawsuit in February against Google Inc., Yahoo Inc. and other Internet companies in a potentially important legal test of those companies' liability for a form of online-advertising fraud.

The plaintiffs, led by Lane's Gifts & Collectibles LLC, a Texarkana, Ark., retailer, allege that the Internet companies knowingly overcharged for advertisements they sold and conspired with each other to continue doing so. The plaintiffs are seeking to have their suit, which hasn't received widespread attention, certified as a class action.

The also named AOL, Ask, Disney, Lycos, LookSmart, and FindWhat in the suit.

The search engines have antifraud systems and sometimes issue refunds for bogus clicks. But they decline to comment in detail on the scope of the problem, exactly how they are fighting it, and any specific instances of click fraud, in part because they don't want to tip off fraudsters. That has fed some advertisers' fears that the problem is bigger than the search companies acknowledge. Estimates of click fraud run as high as 20% of all clicks on search ads.

Yahoo! has been making a strong run in the stock market for the last week, and Google is valued at 49 billion. Nobody has really challenged this issue yet. If this gets pushed it could get rather ugly quick for search stocks. Google makes 99% of their income from ads.

Writing, Fearing Change, & Google's Offline Ads In Japan

Apr 5th

Paul Graham:
on Writing, Briefly

Amazon:
buys BookSurge

And the Times They are A Changing:
The Annotated New York Times

Seth Godin:
on God's Time (and our inherent fear of change)

Google Battles the Pink Robots:
Google recently started advertising in Japan.

The launch of the campaign was timed to coincide with the beginning of the Japanese financial year, said Saito. April 1 is typically the day that large Japanese companies take in new employees. It is also close to the beginning of the school and university year, so many people are starting "new lives" at around this time of year. With the campaign, Google wants to promote itself as a way for people to get information relevant to their new lives, said Saito.

One of the biggest benefits of search engine marketing and creating your own content is that you can create products, content, and ads based on when you expect people to be at inflection points in their lives. (link found from SearchViews)

Google TV

Apr 4th

New spin on reality television, see what people are actively searching for. Once every half hour.

I want my GTV...cheesy post title mate, but I like it ;)

[update: Google also may soon allow people to upload home videos to Google]

The Business of Search

Apr 3rd

MSN PPC powerpoint - states their PPC product is expected to launch later this year.

Google Outlines Plan To Spend to Expand

Yahoo! Poaches MSN Content Exec, meanwhile Aussie is still pounding on the table questioning their API motives.

Review of Google Patent

Apr 1st

Google Temporal Analysis Patent, Google 2004 Financials, Yahoo! to Disclose API Future?

Google:
Patent dealing with temparal ranking effects - Greg Boser called this "The most important SEO related document in the last 5 years."
2004 annual financials report

Yahoo!:
to give a clear API Answer? maybe

Search Awards:
Danny Sullivan's SearchEngineWatch announced the 5 annual search awards. Yahoo! wins the outstanding search service award.

Blog & SEO Business Models: Hosting Content Spam

SEOs Are Scum:
For a long time many bloggers have stated that SEOs are scum, as said best by Anil Dash.

I've always had a pretty low opinion of the Search Engine Optimization industry. Though there are of course legitimate experts in the field, it seems chock full of people who are barely above spammers, and they taint the image of the whole group.

Content Spam:
Blog comment spam is one common type that bloggers know all too well, but creating tons of rubbish content is another type of spam.

HotNacho hires writers to write low quality articles for $3 each. The articles, being of low quality, have little value by themselves. However, if you can get an authoritative site to host the articles you can make a ton of money from advertising.

Affordable Quality Hosting:
WordPress - an open sourced blog software make which is part of the anti spam brigade - hosted over 100,000 HotNacho spam pages, linking to them from the home page using a negative div.

Hmm... manipulating search results for personal gain by posting complete crap to a hidden section on your site.

What makes that action more ethical / better than actions of the average SEO?

Is this the type of openness we should expect from open source software? Where is the transparency? hehehe.

Google Funds Web Pollution, Again:
Google is funding that web pollution with their AdSense program.

If the stuff is bad enough that it needs kicked out of Google's index then how were they displaying ads on over 100,000 pages on that site without noticing the problem. Why are the ads still there?

I think this is the real story that everyone is missing. Google's AdSense quality control is a complete joke.

Advertisers and content publishers should be disappointed in Google's lousy policing of their AdSense program. Much web pollution would not exist if Google did not lucratively fund it.

The WordPress moto has never been more true:
Code is poetry!!!

Goog Adds Stock Charts to Search Results

Mar 30th

Google Finance:
Search relates stocks:
Msft
Goog
Ebay
Yhoo
Amzn
Iaci
Askj
Fwht
Mchx
Look

Still need some work on the world markets though ;)
Fast.ol

Since some of the top ranking search results are owned by competitors (such as Yahoo! Finance) it probably does not hurt Google to keep the visitors at Google by providing a bit more data in the search results.

Arts:
Also, Google changed their logo for Vincent Van Gogh today. You gotta wonder if the person advertising for that term is going to see a huge traffic spike and lowered ROI on the day.

If I were an aspiring artist who had a few bucks and was trying to promote myself today might be a good day to get some exposure. One of my friends is an artist and a while ago he got to meet Pablo Picasso.

Google to Acquire Urchin

Mar 29th

Content, Content, Content:
Mark Cuban on content & technology

Urchin:
being acquired by Google. Wonder if they will include THAT in their free stats package. (found from SEG)

WebTrends:
Bought by Francisco Partners.

Find Profit:
recently had about a 15 page interview with Andrew Goodman talking about where search is headed. It comes free with a free trial or subscription to their site.

If You Snooze:
you lose. hehehe

FyberSearch:
Updated

Google Using Rotating Algorithms?

Mar 25th

Google Video:
Jeff Dean talks about how Google works. Although he mentions nothing about rotating algorithms.

Google Rotating Relevancy Algorithms:
being discussed at SEW forums in this thread.

[update: NickW pointed to this post, which states that currently there are 3 main Google relevancy algorithms and that they use Agent Web Ranking to check their positioning.
McDar & WM Community also have tools that search multiple data centers at the same time.

in the SEW thread PhilC also points to a list of current active datacenter IP addresses.]

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