Advertisers Receiving Settlement Payments From Google AdWords

In the mail today I received a check for $25.05 from the Hanson vs Google AdWords settlement. In fact, there are hundreds of Google advertisers receiving checks this week. The settlement was reached in 2009 for $20 million due to exceeding the daily budget within the AdWords system.

After a few years, the lawyers have sent out payment to advertisers who joined the class action suit.

Most advertisers seem to be receiving checks worth less than the postage being used to mail them out. Here are some tweets:



Here is a picture of the check I received:

Related Topics: Channel: SEM | Google: AdWords | Google: Legal


About The Author: is Search Engine Land's News Editor and owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on very advanced SEM topics. Barry's personal blog is named Cartoon Barry and he can be followed on Twitter here. For more background information on Barry, see his full bio over here.

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  • Terry Cushman

    I received a check for .16, yes, 16¢! By the way, the “cent” sign isn’t on keyboards so I had to look up the ascii dec code, it is alt 0162. I’m going to deposit it (the next time I go to the bank; not going to make a special trip)just to make a point.

  • Krista Lorraine

    I received a check as well, mine was for $187.63. I was upset that it was a very small percentage of what I lost. I guess I should be happy it wasn’t 16¢.

  • DisneyORama

    Mine was $1.98, enough to get two $.99 tacos at my local Federicos (today’s Taco Tuesdays)! ;-)

  • Live Ambitions SEO

    You guys all beat me… I received a whopping $0.12!!


     what a scam, only the ones who joined the law suit? if google had to pay all the money stolen, yes, stolen using hidden fake clicks, they probably will not have enough money to cover half of the cost of the law suit, no ips? Once in a blue moon, I get a refund for about 3 cents for possible fraudulent clicks, and then I ask myself, google claims the bids start at 1 penny, but in my account I have never seen a bid showing for less than 10 cents, so, how did they got the fraudulent click refund for pennies? As you can imagine, a sarcastic and pathetic scam just so they can claim that they work to protect your investment. I do hope the FTC and DOJ starts getting into their case, now with the very sensitive data sharing on the Toasted Store Program and the law suits lost in EU, that should be enough ingredients for them to prepare a nice cake for google.

  • Pushpendra Solanki

    $11.60 no payments received, INDIA

  • Jenksy

    What’s really funny is that nothing was changed – at all. Google is still exceeding our budget cap by at least 5% DAILY. Which is not to mention that average 3% of total clicks that register in none of our three analytics tools but G.A.

    If the numbers didn’t ultimately work in our favor as regards ROI I guess I’d be super-hot about it… What a shame when one has to factor-in get nickeled-and-dimed as a cost of doing business.

  • Pat Grady

    My refund check is tiny, not the amount, the physical size of the check.  It’s not much bigger than a biz card.  Probably gag my ATM, thanks lawyers, dad was right about y’all.

  • Chris Ruseler

    Hello everyone, i’m hoping that someone can help me with the following: for a customer of mine, I’m looking for an Adwords specialist in the USA. my customer is based in the Netherlands, but wants to sell his unique pool/jacuzzi/whirlpool filters online in the United States.
    Thanks in advance and kind regards,

    Chris Ruseler

  • Justin Sous

    Hey Jensky, I actually thought Google can exceed a campaign’s daily budget by up to 20%. However, I’ve seen the number of invalid clicks go up TREMENDOUSLY in the past year (I guess we haven’t had access to that metric all that long though). It makes me wonder, especially for those unruly accounts, how many invalid clicks Google isn’t parsing out and which ones my clients are paying for. 

  • Color FX

    I didn’t join the suit, but I received a whopping 8 cents anyway.  I’m planning on taking my Google settlement money and building a future for myself.  I won’t just squander this away like so many lottery winners do.  Not me.  My 8 cents is gonna build something.

  • Jenksy

    I suppose that’s entirely possible, Justin (Google’s TOU stating that 20% figure).  If so, however, it’s really just one more irritant: 20%? …Really, Google? lol, that’s quite the margin of error, and guess I should now be glad that I’ve never seen it above 12% in our campaigns…. I guess. Just feels like we’re all frogs in the proverbial pot set to boil. There we sit.

    Re: Invalid clicks — Indeed. It’s remarkable how far Google has gotten, is getting, and — for the foreseeable future — will continue to get with what is little more than the ‘trust us’ mantra. 

    Again, though, the numbers work out, so… ugh. Which is not to say that I wouldn’t drop AdWords in a nanosecond were a truly viable competitor to come along… hell, even something CLOSE. 

    I don’t wish anyone ill, but Google will likely one day eat the crow that is this sentiment; shared, I’m certain, by anyone who has dealt with AdWords/Google for any length of time and become significantly reliant on them for this or that.  

    At least once a day, a find myself scratching my head at the business enigma that is Google — that no one but Google really knows what they are doing (i.e. lack of transparency, or the ability for the consumer to be able to verify certain things via independent 3rd parties). 

  • Angee Pearson

    I received a check a week ago and have been hesitate to deposit it. To the best of my recollection, I don’t think I joined the suit. My memory isn’t quite what it use to be, especially if the claims had to be filed a few years ago. I even sent an email to the claims administrator. I was afraid this was a scam just to get an inside view of my banking account.

  • Rachel ‘Janz’ Christman

    The check is a postcard check – they do it that way to save money on postage. The less that is spent on mailing costs, the more that can be put into the pot to distribute to class members.

  • Rachel ‘Janz’ Christman

     It’s not just those who joined the lawsuit, it’s anyone who fits within the definition of the Class (essentially any AdWords advertisers during the specified time period who were allegedly overcharged).

  • Rachel ‘Janz’ Christman

    It is true that a lot of people received small checks, but there are also a lot of people/businesses who received large checks – it’s all relative to the amount your account was overcharged. And at the end of the day, regardless of the size of your check, you are a part of the system that is working to hold big companies like Google accountable. Even a huge corporation like Google is going to feel a $20 million settlement.

  • Brian Spence


    Be careful.  The returned check fee from my bank was MUCH LARGER than the face value of the check.

  • Jefferson Lanz

    I received a check as well. Mine was for $2.10.  I admit I didn’t spend a lot on Google adwords because in most cases we could not track the ROI, and like others, our metrics systems did not even show those pages as relevant.  Interesting though, once we canceled our campaigns, our ratings in their organic searches went down.  When we re-instated various campaigns they went up.  I draw my own conclusions to this, but I would be interested to hear if anyone else had similar experiences and believe that the drop in ratings is in no way related to the amount of  clicks they got.

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