back to article Google hit by class action lawsuit over claimed AdSense fraud

A class action lawsuit has been filed against Google over allegations by a claimed former employee that the Chocolate Factory is defrauding users of its AdSense platform. The legal action, filed in the US District Court for the Northern District of California on Tuesday, claims that Google knowingly canceled the AdSense …


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  1. Eguro

    I sincerely doubt that this is actually true.. but if true, that's pretty much Google done for? At least as far as ad revenue goes, which I'm lead to believe is the foundation of the business...

  2. Tim Roberts 1

    If you can, do...

    if you can't, sue

  3. percypenguin

    Maybe it's just me being stupid, but why would Google disable the AdSense accounts of legitimate publishers? Isn't the split between Google and Publisher something like 35%/65%? Disabling an account days before a payout may give Google a small chunk of money, an insignificant amount in the scheme of thing (if they don't return it to the advertisers as they're meant to) but it cuts off their revenue stream for future months. Google rely on publishers to make them their money. It just doesn't make any sense to block them, and therefore block themselves of any potential future earnings, just for the sake of a short term payout.

    Taking a look at the website of the firm (Free Range Content) that has made the complaint,, this is just a website that appears to collate news articles from various other websites. It then enables people to repost the articles on their own websites. Might not be a breach of copyright, if they have the permission of the content owners, but it is a breach of AdSense's rules which require that all content on a publisher's website is original. It also seems to encourage the spread of these articles across other websites. Maybe the reason the site has had its advertising blocked is simply because of that. Nothing more, nothing less.

    1. ratfox


      I would add, that other lawsuit from the same firm does not encourage me to take this seriously. They claim there that Google is using their controlling position in mobile to force people to use their search engine… When practically everyone will agree the search engine is what Google does best, and has no need of such tactics. And somehow, Android is too expensive because Google forces manufacturers to include their free apps.

      1. Gene Cash Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: This

        This is the same Android that now has a non-removable Google search bar taking up the top 20% of the screen on every homepage. You have to install another launcher app to get rid of it. Not many people outside El Reg even know what a launcher app is, much less that you can change it, in the same vein that they don't know Windows is not a default property of a PC.

        This is the same Android that in KitKat whines to let Google sniff my wi-fi traffic EVERY GODDAMN TIME I TURN ON MY GPS and so far there's no way to fix that, short of installing another ROM.

        I'm glad they're getting sued.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: This

          You may have legitimate gripes with Google, but why are you glad they're getting sued over something completely unrelated to your gripes? How does that address your problems?

    2. John Lilburne

      There are hundreds of millions of web pages that Google can put ads on. The company earns billions by scrapings fractions of pennies from a vast number of webpages. If they don't have to pay the web page creators then they get to keep a bit more of a fraction of a penny, and thus make millions extra.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      How often are payouts?

      If they're, say, once a month, and one considered disabling an account within three days of payout as happening "shortly before payout" then just by normal happenstance 10% of accounts would be disabled shortly before payout, and you could put together a list of companies that have been so defrauded.

      You'd have to show it is happening far more often than by chance, and eliminate other possible reasons. Like payout being on the first day of the month, and algorithms that check for fraud running on the last day of the month.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Exactly, why would Google do it? For what is basically tiny pocket change. They make billions, they don't need to do this. It's just more of the idiotic Google-hate, often brought on because little-spotty-faced-blackhat's site got banned or penalised in some other way in search rankings due to link spam, or AdSense accounts getting disabled because people engaged in click-fraud with click exchange sites and similar. Seriously, what are these idiots expecting? It's all cries of, "mummy, mummy, Google Goo Goo hurt my feelings mummy, sniff sniff cry."

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        It's just more of the idiotic Google-hate, often brought on because little-spotty-faced-blackhat's site got banned or penalised in some other way in search rankings due to link spam

        This. I get fed up with the constant stream of whiners demanding that I delete posts or forum accounts that they (or some lousy SEO company) have set up purely to spam the forums with links to their sites. Then when Google tweak their algorithms and hammer the site's search ranking they come moaning about how unfair it all is. Screw 'em.

  4. ashdav

    Google? Pfft!

    Samsung Galaxy S2

    Cyanogen Mod (KItkat)

    Opera (with Adblock)

    IxQuick search

    Apps installed via APK (no Play Store)

    Totally Google free and the battery life is tripled between recharges.

    Similar on the PC.

    Who needs Google. (I know IxQuick scrape them but...)

  5. Craigness

    What is the "chocolate factory" and why should I care?

  6. LeeH

    The World Will be a Different Place After This... Will it F##k

    I have a very vague memory of this being discussed 4 or 5 years back. I'm 50% certain I read people complaining that Google had been killing accounts just before payouts. Can't recall how the conversation started but the timeframe places the memory at around 2009.

    The big issue here (if true) is that Google waited until just before payment day before closing accounts and keeping the money.

    All that needs to be proved is that someone at Google took the decision to delay Adsense account closures as until a few days before payday instead of forcing closures as soon as malpractice was discovered. Once that is proved... webmasters will still think with their pockets instead of their moral principles so Google will make a few payouts and webmasters will still suck up to Google ;)

    So no change to the world really.

    Google wouldn't be alone if it had delayed account closures to benefit Google's own bank balances. Many Affiliate Marketing Networks are pretty appalling:

    1) ClickBank openly "steals" from affiliates by charging account fees on affiliate balances not paid out due to having not met payout thresholds;

    2) Amazon does not pay affiliate marketers when prospects crossover to different Amazon sites to make purchases e.g. When someone in the US clicks an affiliate's link to a product on Amazon UK then purchases via Amazon US, the affiliate gets not even the measly 5% referral fee that Amazon promises;

    3) Affiliate Window and Commission Junction both do as Amazon does (or did so when I last checked them out and questioned them on it).

    There are some good Affiliate Marketing Networks but most are rubbish. Who ever reads the small print anyway?

    ShareAsale is one of the few good networks.

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