Ex-Google Advertiser Sues to Block $90 Million Proposed Class Action Settlement

An ex-Google Inc. advertiser Joseph Kinney sued over a proposed $90 million class action settlement in Arkansas state court, arguing the amount grossly understates how much the online search engine leader has benefited from a ruse known as “click fraud.”

The class action suit alleged Google and its advertising partners have improperly profited from click fraud.

Although it has denied any wrongdoing, Google in March agreed to settle the class action for up to $90 million. As much as $30 million could go to a handful of attorneys who filed the class action. Whatever is left over would be refunded to thousands of advertisers in the form of credits.

Attorneys for former Google advertiser Kinney, a Pinehurst, N.C. security consultant, hope to convince a judge to block the $90 million settlement on the grounds that the amount shortchanges the class.

Stephen Malouf and John Goodson, two of the lawyers who negotiated the $90 million settlement, hadn’t returned phone messages as of late Wednesday afternoon.

Kinney, who runs Safespaces.com, stopped advertising with Google in September 2005 because he believed his bill had been bloated by click fraud, according to the lawsuit.

Google is supposed to e-mail notices of the proposed settlement later this month. The company has option to nullify the settlement if advertisers that supplied more than 5 percent of its revenue since 2001 reject the agreement.

Link [www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/05/10/AR2006051001895_pf.html]

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