Information Week reports that Google is being sued for fraud, unjust enrichment, and business code violations for its use of “low-quality” ads on parked domain names and error pages. Google’s AdSense for Domains places advertisements on empty domain names, and its error pages program replaces 404 and other errors with pay per click ads. According to the suit, Hal K. Levitte, a California attorney, used Google’s AdSense for Domains to park several unused domain names. These domain names received a total of 202,528 impressions over the course of three months, but only 668 of those impressions resulted in clicks and 0 resulted in conversions.
Levitte claims that Google’s parked domain names and error pages simply do not produce their intended results:
"Domain and error page ads accounted for approximately 16.2% of all clicks on plaintiff's ads during his campaign, yet did not result in a single person completing the online form on the site, or contacting the plaintiff by phone or e-mail," the complaint states.
Google currently does not allow an advertiser to opt out of its AdSense for Domains or error page programs. Instead, advertisers have very little control over where their ads are placed within the Google Content Network. This lawsuit is typical of many people's views of pay per click parking pages, that they are of low quality or lead to click fraud, and this poses problems for domainers who often use these types of parking pages to generate revenue.
Some of the comments express the diversity in views concerning these parked pages:
It's ludicrous to make the case that Google must assume responsibility for the effectiveness of the advertisements it serves. Can you imagine suing JC Decaux because the billboards they place on bus stops don't result in purchases of the advertised products? -nycdomainer
I am waiting for the lawsuit against the lottery one day since most of the ads say "all you need is a dollar and a dream" I had a dollar and dream, but realized that with odds of 1 in 276 million, I am not going to have a great chance of winning... -snuz
While I doubt the case can be won, I think it does bring to light the fact that click fraud is still much more of a problem than most search companies will admit. -nielsencl