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Google Loses Appeal By AdWords Advertisers In Suit Over Ads On Error Pages
Ruling overturns lower court denial of class-action status for advertisers, paving the way for plaintiffs to be able to sue as a group. Higher court also sides with advertisers on methods for calculating restitution.
AdWords advertisers have won their appeal of a ruling that denied them class-action status in their suit against Google over ads appearing on error pages and parked domains.
The Ninth District Court of Appeals overturned the 2012 ruling by a US District Court of Northern California judge in appeal case Pulaski & Middleman LLC v. Google Inc. 12-16752. The higher court concluded that the lower court erred in its decision to deny class-action status. The ruling remands the case to a trial judge.
In the district court case, In re Google AdWords Litigation, 5:08-cv-03369, advertisers argued that Google misled them about the types of sites and pages on which their AdWords ads could appear between 2004 and 2008. In March 2008, Google updated the AdWords interface to allow advertisers to opt out of having their ads show on error pages and parked domains when advertising on the Google Display Network.
The advertisers are seeking restitution for the difference between what they paid per click versus what they would have paid had Google told them their ads were appearing on error pages and parked domains. They have proposed three methods for arriving at the damages. Google argued that these methods were arbitrary; the lower court had sided with Google.
The higher court disagreed, stating that the calculation does not need to take into account sales that might have come from ads on those “lower quality” pages because the focus is to be on how advertisers would have valued the service at the time of purchase if they’d known where the ads were running.
Hat tip: BloombergBusiness