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Monday, May 20, 2024 | Back issues
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Judge Nixes Class Action Over Google AdWords

(CN) - A federal judge in San Jose, Calif., dismissed a lawsuit accusing Google of failing to protect AdWords users from clicking on fraudulent mobile service subscription providers and getting stuck with the bill for unwanted products, such as ring tones, sport-score reports, weather alerts and stock tips.

Jenna Goddard filed a class action claiming the MMSPs surreptitiously bill consumers by instructing the consumer's service provider to add extra charges.

The plaintiffs claimed Google failed to uphold its content policy and to protect users by removing advertisements created by MMSPs with the Google AdWords program. AdWords allows advertisers to create advertisements tailored to certain key words. When a Google user's search results match those key words, Google displays the AdWords advertisements alongside the search results.

Goddard claimed she clicked on an AdWords advertisement linked to an allegedly fraudulent MMSP Web site where she entered her cell phone number, causing "unwanted mobile content services" to appear on her cell phone bill.

U.S. District Judge Jeremy Fogel dismissed the lawsuit, citing precedent that consumers harmed by user-generated content may not sue the service provider - in this case Google.

Although Google profits from the user-generated AdWords content, Judge Fogel held that only way the search engine could be accountable is if it had created or developed the actual content.

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