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Google AdWords Class Action Settlement: Blank CPC Content Bids

By Justin Seibert| 3 Min Read | November 26, 2010
Google Class Action Settlment

Updated Below. Give Google credit – they certainly understand the news cycle.  For the second time on a holiday in the past two months, they announced a class action settlement.  This time (in the East Coast evening on Thanksgiving while most folks are battling tryptophan side effects), the announcement regarded their display network.

From the announcement:

Google is sending you this notice of a proposed class action settlement that may affect your legal rights as a creator of an AdWords campaign between October 2007 and July 2009. This notice is being sent to you by Court Order so that you may understand your rights and remedies before the Court considers final approval of the proposed settlement on March 11, 2011.

This is not an advertisement or attorney solicitation.

A settlement agreement has been reached by the parties and is pending approval by the Court. Under the proposed settlement, Google will pay a total of $3,500,000 to the settlement class, including attorneys’ fees and costs, for charges accrued by AdWords users who left the “CPC Content bid” input blank upon creating an AdWords campaign, and were charged for content ads appearing on Google’s Content Network.

Frankly, we’re surprised this is happening only now.  We’ve always been concerned for unsavvy advertisers about how AdWords handles this.  If you think you fall in this category and want to learn more, visit

And remember, the plaintiff attorneys working this case don’t make money unless they make money for you!  (Makes sense if you live in Pittsburgh.)

Update 1: These emails keep on rolling in, which makes sense when you think of the sheer volume of Google AdWords clients that need sent the notification.  We’ve received some on behalf of our clients every day since Thanksgiving including today, Wednesday, December 1st.

Also, I guess the settlement site was down for a little while, probably due to traffic.  Anyway, it’s back up now and you can find out more about the settlement, including reading the settlement notice and some FAQ, such as how you know whether you’re entitled to be part of this lawsuit:

Google’s records show that you created an AdWords campaign between October 2007 and July 2009. Therefore, you may be a member of the Settlement Class if: (i) you left the “CPC Content bid” input blank when you created the Adwords campaign between October 2007 and July 2009; and; (ii) you were charged for content ads appearing on Google’s Content Network.

Merely receiving this Notice does not mean you are a member of the class. While you may have received this notice because you created an AdWords campaign between October 2007 and July 2009, in order to qualify as a class member, you must have left the “CPC Content bid” input blank and have been charged for clicks to ads placed on the Content Network.

Interestingly, they’ve included a section for “Important Documents” and list the original complaint and Google’s response, yet these are not included as part of the documents.

Update 2: The administrators of the settlement Web site emailed today to notify me that the missing documents are now up.  I didn’t keep a list of everything before, so I don’t know if any non-working links were taken down, but all documents now listed actually link to a document.


Written by Justin Seibert

Justin Seibert is the President of Direct Online Marketing. Justin holds a Bachelor of Arts from Vanderbilt University. He contributes a wide range of online business-oriented topics, including the subject of exporting. His contributions can be found on publications such as the Pittsburgh Business Times, AdAge, SES Magazine, and La Voz del interior. Justin and his family enjoy learning about new cultures during their travels.

View Justin Seibert's Full Bio

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