NEWARK, NJ /Advertising Industry Newswire/ — In a class action lawsuit brought this week against Yahoo! and its pay-per-click (PPC) unit Overture Services, Inc., plaintiff Crafts by Veronica, of Newark, NJ claims that the search portal and others have engaged in click fraud against advertisers who pay to display ads in relation to search content.
The complaint alleges that “by placing ads into illegal platforms such as spyware programs, [Yahoo] wrongfully collected high search engine advertising fees for ads that are actually shown in contexts that are worth far less, if anything. It is well known that spyware advertising is much cheaper than search engine advertising.”
The complaint continues: “But when Defendants and their syndication partners place class members’ ads into spyware, they continue to charge class members full price for those ads, and pocketing the difference between the high fees class members pay and the low cost of providing spyware-delivered advertising.”
Among the “spyware vendors” named in the complaint as partners in Yahoo’s ad program are Direct Revenue and Intermix, two companies recently sued by New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer for violating consumer protection laws.
An example of customer ads shown on typosquatting sites include “Expedai.com,” which includes a Yahoo! ad for the real Expedia.com.
The Washington Post Website posted a full copy of the complaint in PDF format yesterday.
One of the attorneys of record in the case, Benjamin Edelman ( http://www.benedelman.org ). has a superb online resource that covers many issues related to spyware and click-fraud with excellent documentation and screen shots.