Theresa B. Bradley filed a lawsuit against Google for $250,000 for fraud and misrepresentation after they suspended her account for invalid clicks… and this when she admits to clicking on her own ads. According to Steve Bryant in this eWeek article, she contacted Google when competitive ads appeared on her site.
According to the complaint, Google then completely removed AdSense from Bradley’s site and accused Bradley of violating AdSense policies by fraudulently clicking on advertisements.
Bradley denied clicking on the ads except to verify that the advertisers were not selling competing products.
Of course, clicking ads for any reason – including checking to see if advertisers were selling anything competitive – is clearly against the AdSense terms & policies, which states “Please note that clicking on your own ads for any reason is prohibited, to avoid potential inflation of advertiser costs.” In doing so, she violated her agreement she had with Google when she signed up for AdSense and agreed to the terms and policies.
The website in question is www.bravacorp.com and she claims that it took her staff 100 hours to place and review the AdSense HTML code on the site. However, you definitely have to question that figure when she has such a small number of pages on the site (27 according to Google and 31 according to Yahoo), and it would be hard for just about anyone to take 100 hours to implement that.
In addition to the fraud and misrepresentation, she is also claiming that Google has caused harm to her reputation over the incident.
According to the complaint, Bradley’s brief business relationship with Google caused her irreparable harm by damaging her reputation and the reputation of her products and services.
Of course, Google never publicizes any publisher they suspend (unless Google sues a publisher over money earned fraudulently) so I am unsure how she will be able to say or prove that Google caused her harm because they suspended her for violating the terms she agreed to herself.
Google responded to Bryant that the lawsuit was without merit and would defend itself vigorously, while Bradley did not return multiple requests for a comment.
And interestingly, Bryant also notes that this woman also sued Yahoo earlier this month, so I will be watching to and see what he follows up with on that situation.
Does Bradley have a chance of winning? I don’t think she has even a remote chance of doing so. She has admitted that she violated the terms and policies she agreed to by clicking on her own ads, and Google took the expected action of suspending her AdSense account. I can’t see how Google possibly could have damaged her repuation or the reputation of her products (which one cannot buy on the site) because of this. Bryant also notes in his comments that “she filed the complain asking for $250k, she then filed in forma pauperis, meaning I’m too poor to pay court fees.” Her motives are definitely suspect in this situation.
Forum discussion at DigitalPoint.
Note: This blog post was corrupted in the database and was reposted, please see archive.org for original comments.