Sunday, September 24, 2023
Courthouse News Service
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Class Claims GoDaddy Is a Freeloader

PHOENIX (CN) - A class action claims is advertising on registered domain names without consent of the domain owners. The class claims the "world's largest domain name registrar" is profiting from pay-per-click revenue from ads it placed on class members' domain names.

The lawsuit, filed in Phoenix and Arkansas federal courts, claims that Go Daddy is "unlawfully generating and retaining revenue derived from these online advertisements each time an Internet user clicks an online advertisement appearing on plaintiff's domain names."

The class claims to have acquired the exclusive use of their purchased domain names when they registered the names through and paid the fees.

Class representative Matthew McBride says he registered four domain names with GoDaddy, which later placed "advertisements for products or services that they believe are contextually relevant" to the domain names to generate pay-per-click revenue.

McBride says he did not authorize Go Daddy to use his domain names, and the company did not disclose that it would use the domain names for ads to pad its bottom line when he bought the names from it.

In pay-per-click advertising, "online advertisers agree to pay a certain price for each click-through on an online advertisement," the complaint states. With each click-through, an online advertiser "pays a fee to a search engine company, such as Google or Yahoo!, in exchange for publishing the advertisement on the website."

The class wants Go Daddy enjoined from "converting and using domain names registered by plaintiff and the other members of the class for defendants' own benefit."

It also wants Go Daddy enjoined from keeping any pay-per-click revenue from registered domain names, and from posting any ads without the parties' agreement.

The class is represented by John C. Goodson of Keil & Goodson in Texarkana, Ark.

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