Google Placing Free Ads on Others’ Websites Class Action

Who should the advertising on your website benefit? The complaint for this class action alleges that Google placed cost-free advertising on non-Google websites without the consent of the owners of the websites. Even worse, that advertising often damaged the owners of the websites.

The class for this action is all persons or entities living in the US who owned websites that were active between March 2018 and April 2020 on which Google’s logo and Related Pages banner ads appeared when their websites were viewed by Android mobile phone owners using the Search App. Geogia and California Subclasses have also been proposed for persons or entities living in those states.

The complaint claims, “Google abused its dominance in three interrelated markets—the internet search, internet advertising and smartphone operating system markets—to unlawfully obtain over $1 billion of non-consensual free advertising for Google and for Google’s advertising network clients on [others’] websites. Google also derived substantial unjustly earned revenues from its free-rising ads.”

How did it do this? According to the complaint, Google had programmed Android phones, so that when their owners did an Internet search using Google’s Search App, these unpaid-for ads were displayed over the websites that came up. Also, Google had placed its Search App on Android phones in a way that induced users to choose the Search App in place of browsers or other search options.

The “free-riding” ads were of two types. First, Google placed “leaderboard” ads at the bottom of websites that had the Google logo, thereby advertising Google. Second, the complaint claims, “the leaderboard invited Search App users to click a pop-up button that, if clicked, expanded the leaderboard to block the affected web pages’ entire contents by superimposing half-page ads for Google products, for Google advertising network clients or for other businesses over [the original] web pages.”

When Android users clicked on those half-page ads, they were redirected from the original website “to the advertised websites, which often had their own ads—placed by Google—that, when clicked or viewed, generated direct fees or commissions for Google.”

In that way, the leaderboard and half-page ads nudged users to leave the original website and go to other websites that would generate income for Google.

That’s not all. The complaint says, “Many of the half-page pop-up advertisements that Google’s Search App imposed on [the original] websites promoted and linked to websites owned by their direct competitors or to news articles disparaging their businesses.”

The complaint says it brings claims for “implied-in-law contract” as well as trespass to chattels “from Google’s obstruction and interference with their websites’ presentation and content.” In addition, it alleges violation of common law and California’s Unfair Competition Law.

Article Type: Lawsuit
Topic: Trespass

Most Recent Case Event

Google Placing Free Ads on Others’ Websites Complaint

July 14, 2020

Who should the advertising on your website benefit? The complaint for this class action alleges that Google placed cost-free advertising on non-Google websites without the consent of the owners of the websites. Even worse, that advertising often damaged the owners of the websites.

Google Placing Free Ads on Others’ Websites Complaint

Case Event History

Google Placing Free Ads on Others’ Websites Complaint

July 14, 2020

Who should the advertising on your website benefit? The complaint for this class action alleges that Google placed cost-free advertising on non-Google websites without the consent of the owners of the websites. Even worse, that advertising often damaged the owners of the websites.

Google Placing Free Ads on Others’ Websites Complaint
Tags: Advertising, Interference with Website, Trespass to Chattels