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August 30, 2006

Google AdSense sued by woman who admits clicking her own ads

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.

The website itself is very poorly designed and is a mish-mash of many different topics and areas, and filled with things such as "Sample Projects" and "Illustrative Clients".

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.

Posted by Jenstar at August 30, 2006 09:59 PM


Hard to believe that someone who obviously has no clues can get the kind of coverage she's gotten.

Posted by: Darren at August 30, 2006 11:25 PM

I seriously doubt the publicity will help her. She doesn't seem to have any way of monetizing her site, so the traffic bump won't be of much use. If anything, lawsuits like these help Google by demonstrating the incompetence of the plaintiffs. You should see the full complaint. Looks like a 3rd grader wrote it.

Posted by: Steve Bryant at August 30, 2006 11:43 PM

The plaintiff may be suffering from Google Adsense Rage (GAR). Her website looks simple and unprofessional. However, we have seen many simple and unprofessional earns tons of money. It is really hard to tell. Her case is a disaster right from the start. First, she admits of click on her ad. Second, Google never publishes any suspension of any publishers. It will be tough to prove destroyed her reputation.

Posted by: Mortgage Expert at August 31, 2006 12:01 AM

It might take me 100 hours "to place and review the AdSense HTML code on the site". - But then I don't have a staff and only type with four fingers and sometimes a thumb (space bar).

I'd say that as far as reputation goes. Theresa B. Bradley clicking on the ads (IF only a couple times each) does not bother me as much as her lawsuit.

Posted by: prying1 at August 31, 2006 08:08 AM

Right or wrong, we'll see more of this over time

Posted by: Joe at August 31, 2006 09:55 AM

the most humorous part of the site (which sucks) is the link to her intelligent living page.. i looked everywhere for a SUE GOOGLE AND MAKE LOTSA MONEY icon. she's one smart cookie. if anything she should sue herself for defamation of character and ruining her own reputation by seeing that she is obviously quite stupid yet marketing products that would imply otherwise! lol

Posted by: kelly at August 31, 2006 12:36 PM

Frivolous to say the least!

Why would a company that seems to get government contracts need to earn a few pennies from AdSense ads, from a corporate lead gen site? Why does one of the links lead to "men's products" including skin cream?

Also, I don't like the fonts.

Posted by: Andrew G at August 31, 2006 01:11 PM

Obviously, she doesn’t have a chance. This is clearly a good case for Google to promote because they are unmistakably in the right. Everyone will agree that she is just trolling for dollars.

So, I will go a step further and say Google is probably behind her “publicity” machine because they are standing up for what is right, true and the Google way. This is a brave, brave position taken by billion dollar corporation against this menacing woman. Let’s just pray that they can prevail.

Posted by: Rich Banner at August 31, 2006 04:55 PM

This is not much different to that Kinderstart thing, only even worse. It will be a good idea to have Google assert this penalty to show it means business against click fraud. 250k settlement? Must be more than what the site's getting in Adsense ads.

I still believe this suit was pursued, no matter how hopeless, to gather publicity more than anything else.

Posted by: Elmer W. Cagape at August 31, 2006 06:07 PM

Please rearrange. :)

Posted by: Bulbboy at August 31, 2006 06:49 PM

lol this is so funny ...

but i do understand her ... poor blonde women .

let her sue google because they dident tell her about the "Google Adsense preview tool"

Posted by: Chaaban at August 31, 2006 07:13 PM

Check out the titles and meta tags, they don't even have the right keywords. She's obviously a newb that didn't read the TOS. I don't even know why she's spending the time on this. No way she gets a dime.

Posted by: beer234 at August 31, 2006 08:12 PM

I can't believe this woman thinks she can sue Google. Did she not read and understand the rules about clicking on her own ads. Her reason for clicking on the ads just doesn't hold with me. As for the amount of time she claims her staff spent putting the ads on her site, SACK THEM ALL!

Posted by: Spud at August 31, 2006 08:31 PM

I hate people like this. If only we (in the USA) would make it so that the loser of lawsuits must pay for the other party's court costs, nobody would sue anybody for stupid reasons (just like in UK).

Bravacorp lady, I hope Google somehow countersues you and puts you on the street.

Posted by: Chubbs at September 1, 2006 08:08 AM

People don't offend her so much, she'll sue you guys too lol. This woman is just crazy. Go Google take as much as you can from this woman.

Posted by: Guk at September 1, 2006 09:40 AM

I remember when that one lady sued Wendy's after finding a finger in her chili.........oh yeah, that was a scammer looking for a quick buck. Looks like Google gets to deal with one of these now huh?

Scammers... I agree with Google counter-suing this lady.

Posted by: Clint Lenard at September 1, 2006 12:21 PM

Eric Schmidt admitted to often click on his own Google Adsense to make sure it works. I'm not sure how accurate that is. If it is true, it can be use against Google. Google probably knows it is Eric though.

Posted by: Mortgage Expert at September 1, 2006 02:07 PM

Eric Schmidt admitted to clicking AdWords ads (not specifically AdSense) but also, all clicks coming from a Google-based IP are never counted as paid clicks.

Posted by: Jenstar at September 1, 2006 03:15 PM

Interesting case -- thanks for the post. It seems to me that this story begs a bigger question: 'How can we re-visit the legal system" to avoid this waste of money and time. What method would create the equity intended by the system -- without pandering to abuses that "ruin" all of us -- not just the person who sues on impulse and then claims a ruined reputation too. We really need to change legal systems that benefit from this fraud.

Brain Based Business

Posted by: Ellen Weber at September 2, 2006 10:16 PM

Well done - The same people that abuse the rules here online, would do the same in the offline world as well. It is one thing to make an error in judgement and lose priviledges but another to look at the consquences and sue. Being quick to sue without understanding that the consequenses were brought on by her own actions shows she doesn't understand how the world works. Without that insight, I don't see how she can run a "business." The legal system will have to evolve as these things come up.

Posted by: Tammy at September 3, 2006 05:56 AM

I have 4 web sites and had Google Adsense on all of them. Placing the adsense code in the templates on mfwp101.com, kieto.com, mymusicandlyrics.com and youcantsing.com wasn't too bad. But I had gone to individual pages and placed the ads. Some 40 or 50 of them. One day, I received an e-mail from Google telling me they had suspended my account for..."invalid clicks were generated on the ads on your site in violation of our Terms and Conditions and program policies."

What happens when they give you the axe is a generated .js code on your page(s) saying "This Page cannot be displayed properly." Isn't that sweet. They could very easily put absolutely nothing.

I told them they were way off base and explained to them that if I were decieving Google by click throughs, page impressions, etc., I'd be making a heck of a lot more than 39 cents a day. It seems they want to control your web site and you. I asked them some time ago if they would make it so a new window would open when someone clicked an ad and they told me they didn't have the technology. Sounds fishy to me.

In any case, they accused me of lying and deceit. I am so disgusted with Google I can spit.

Posted by: Keith Ballentine at September 3, 2006 10:48 AM

It might take me 100 hours "to place and review the AdSense HTML code on the site".

No, that's impossible. AdSense code is JavaScript, not HTML :)

Posted by: Luke at September 3, 2006 12:18 PM

This lady is freaken weird :)

Posted by: online marketing guru at September 4, 2006 06:31 PM

Her choice of product line is an attempt to compensate for her own deficiencies, much as students study psychology to cure themselves.

I think she's already aware of her own problem, she just cannot overcome it, even with her own products and research.

Posted by: Andi at September 4, 2006 11:55 PM

ive just read the french translation..

Posted by: shunsuke at September 5, 2006 08:50 AM