A Federal Appeals Court in San Francisco has reinstated a class-action suit against Google by thousands of advertisers who demanded refunds on ads they claim were placed on generic sites with little value, over a four-year period through AdWords.
The case involves bids and placements between 2004 and 2008 on AdWords, in which advertisers bid for Google to place their ads on websites. The advertisers could not know in advance where their ads would appear, but would pay Google on the basis of the number of clicks the ads would receive, using formulas that calculated the value of the placements ("Pay Per Click").
The advertisers claim that they did not know that their ads would also appear on “parked domains" (i.e. generic sites that users often reach by misspelling the name of an established website) and on "error pages" (i.e. pages that users reach when they type nonexistent web addresses onto their address bar). Although some advertisers obtained responses from those sites, in the cases where Google charged them by the click, the advertisers claim that they would not in the first place have paid for placement of their ads on those sites and are entitled to a refund.
This ruling returns the case to a trial judge for further consideration.