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.
The Term Extraction service provides a list of significant words or phrases extracted from a larger content. It is one of the technologies used in Y!Q.
Google Blogoscoped created a free auto linker tool, which makes adding on topic outbound links exceptionally easy. Am betting some people creating fake blogs probably enjoy the offering.
Part of Google's strong brand is PageRank, which now is of little use AND rarely updated. With all of these other good ideas Yahoo! Search is coming out with I am a bit surprised they are not providing and heavily promoting a regularly updated connectivity measurement service. Whatever happened to WebRank?
"We do not see Google and MSN as our competition," Tom HockSteatter said today, "we look at offline media as our competitors."
Right now no new SEM/Analytics companies are being allowed in, or the "not no, not now" response. Though he did not confirm it, more pointedly he did not deny that the existing SEM/Analytics/Tracking partners would soon be pushed out as well. "I won't say if existing agreements will continue."
I hope Kevin over at Did-It, the guys at Atlas and KeywordMax et al are ready for this.
"We have a strategic position for the web going forward", Tom HockSteatter said.
So did LookSmart and when MSN left that engine it rapidly feel to the side. I hope the Yahoo stock does not fall as heavily as that of LookSmart come announcement day.