Google Agrees To Pay $3.5 Million In AdWords Settlement For Accidental Content Bids

I just received an email from Google stating Google has proposed a settlement agreement amounting to a total of $3.5 million.

Google said it would apply to any AdWords advertiser who accrued charges from Google after leaving the “CPC content bid” field empty when creating a new AdWords campaign. If their ad was displayed on the content network, Google would pay you back money. Also, you had to have created the ad between October 2007 and July 2009.

Google said you can read the full details at but that page won’t load for me. If you view the Google cache of that page, the page reads:

On November 5, 2010, the Court granted preliminary approval of the Settlement reached in this case. Please review the information on this website concerning the proposed Settlements and important deadlines, including the February 25, 2011 deadline for filing objections.


There is now pending in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California a class action lawsuit entitled Largo Cargo, Co. v. Google Inc. (Case No. 10-CV-00241-RMW). Subject to final approval by the Court, the parties have reached a Settlement in this lawsuit. The Court has authorized this website, which provides information about the lawsuit and the proposed Settlement, including important deadlines and links to relevant documents.

If approved by the Court, the Settlement would resolve the claims of all members of the “Settlement Class.” You are a member of the Settlement Class if you satisfy all three of the following conditions:

You are a person or entity located within the United States who created an AdWords campaign between October 2007 and July 2009; You left the “CPC Content bid” input blank when you created the Adwords campaign between October 2007 and July 2009; and You were charged for content ads appearing on Google’s Content Network. If you are a member of Settlement Class, you can submit an Electronic Proof of Claim Form or, alternatively, you can seek to exclude yourself from the Settlement Class.

IMPORTANT. If the settlement is approved, your legal rights may be affected whether or not you act. You should therefore carefully read the documents filed with the Court concerning the Settlement, the reimbursement of attorneys’ fees and litigation expenses, and the litigation generally. All of these documents can be found here.

IMPORTANT DEADLINES. The deadline for submitting an objection to the Settlement is February 25, 2011. The date of the hearing for final approval of the Settlement is March 11, 2011, at 9:00 AM at the “U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, San Jose Division, 280 South 1st Street, San Jose, CA 95113. Please note that dates and other materials set forth in the Preliminary Approval Order and the Settlement Agreement (and/or in any of the exhibits) may be changed or revised by the Court. Please check this website for updates.

This website has been approved by the Court and is intended to provide information about the lawsuit and the proposed Settlement. Please click here for contact information if you have questions about this case which are not answered here. Please DO NOT contact the Court or Google Inc. with questions concerning the litigation and the proposed Settlement.

Related Topics: Channel: SEM | Google: AdWords | Google: Legal | Legal: General | Top News


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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  • Brent Rangen MN SEO

    I’m glad Adwords was held accountable here. Heard this happening many times over the years and very little has been done. Probably because they were such small accounts.

  • Tom Demers

    That’s interesting it looks like my note this morning was slightly different:

    I think it sets an interesting precedent since so much of what gets set up on AdWords is defaulting you into things that cause you to spend more money.


  • Tom Petryshen

    Google’s opt out strategy for the content network in new Adwords campaign has been a major thorn in my side since it’s introduction. Many advertisers in Australia had no idea their ads shown and receiving clicks outside the search network.

    I’ve seen accounts where the content network sucked up tens of thousands of dollars over a few short months and that’s in small market of 22 million people. $3.5 million is not even a slap on the wrist.

  • Amit Verma SEO Delhi

    Hey Barry, Thanks that you post it here…

    I got the same mail from Google and also discussed it in V7N forums –

    I mailed it to the Google and waiting for their reply and I also know, they are too lazy in doing replies….

    Amit Verma

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