Hot on the heels of reader Charles Flint’s nightmare with Google’s Adwords program comes the announcement that Google will be paying out 90 million in refunds to advertisers who paid Google money for cases of click fraud.
Click fraud is when, for a number of reasons, someone maliciously hammers an advertiser’s Google Adwords link, causing them to fork up more referral dough to Google than they should. Usually, this is done by pranksters of people with a beef with the company in question.
Google has always claimed that click fraud was a miniscule problem in Adwords and the amount of their settlement — less than 1% of their 11 billion dollar profit on Adwords over the last four years — lends credence to that assertion. Still, if you have used Adwords over the last four years, you may be entitled to a refund, so check it out, if applicable.
Of course, this doesn’t help people who don’t have Adwords accounts who suddenly have found Google billing them for thousands and thousands of dollars, but we’re working on that one.