Was Click Fraud Criminal Case Dropped Because Google Didn’t Cooperate?

Via Techmeme, The Vanishing Click-Fraud Case from BusinessWeek covers how alleged click fraud extortion case involving Google AdSense was been dropped apparently because of Google’s unwillingness to share details on how its own systems work:

Why did a seemingly strong criminal case simply vanish? A key culprit may have been Google’s own unwillingness to cooperate with prosecutors, according to people familiar with the case….

By all appearances, Google faced a difficult dilemma. It could risk divulging information about its approach to click fraud and help make a case against Bradley, who faced a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, according to a Justice Dept. press release. Or, Google could keep its efforts to detect and quantify click fraud a secret, which could allow Bradley to go unpunished.

Google appears to have taken the latter path, which may have several consequences. Would-be fraudsters still have to guess at how Google sifts out bogus clicks. But allowing an alleged scheme to brazenly conduct click fraud to go unpunished could embolden other fraudsters. In addition, it could undermine the confidence of advertisers, who foot the bill for fraudulent clicks.

Related Topics: Channel: SEM | Legal: Clickfraud

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About The Author: is a Founding Editor of Search Engine Land. He’s a widely cited authority on search engines and search marketing issues who has covered the space since 1996. Danny also serves as Chief Content Officer for Third Door Media, which publishes Search Engine Land and produces the SMX: Search Marketing Expo conference series. He has a personal blog called Daggle (and keeps his disclosures page there). He can be found on Facebook, Google + and microblogs on Twitter as @dannysullivan.

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  • http://www.search-engine-war.couk Teddie

    Cooperation is one possible angle, else possibly Micheal had never done anything illegal or Googles lawyers could not prove that it was illegal. Either way, in the context of the Pay Per Click ad market this is now a serious problem, Google might just have invalidated the model entirely and set a precedent making future litigation impossible.

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