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Woods v Google Complaint

Woods v Google Complaint

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Published by Eric Goldman

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Published by: Eric Goldman on Mar 27, 2011
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03/27/2011

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Case5:11-cv-01263-HRL Document1-3 Filed03/15/11 Page1 of 83
 
 
CLASS ACTION COMPLAINT -i-
12345678910111213141516171819202122232425262728
CONTENTS
I.
 
SUMMARY OF ACTION ............................................................................................... 1
 
II.
 
PARTIES .......................................................................................................................... 6
 
III.
 
JURISDICTION AND VENUE ....................................................................................... 6
 
IV.
 
FACTUAL BACKGROUND .......................................................................................... 7
 
A.
 
The Google Business Model ................................................................................ 7
 
1.
 
AdWords ................................................................................................... 8
 
2.
 
AdSense .................................................................................................. 12
 
B.
 
Google’s Agreements with Class Members ....................................................... 13
 
C.
 
Google’s Obligations Concerning Ad Implementations .................................... 15
 
D.
 
Google’s Obligation to Monitor Compliance with Ad Policiesand Filter Invalid Clicks ..................................................................................... 22
 
E.
 
Google’s Obligation to Apply “Smart Pricing” Discounts ................................. 27
 
F.
 
Google’s Secret Conspiracy with Special Partners ............................................ 31
 
1.
 
Google’s Agreements with Special PartnersDemonstrate its Active Participation in the Conspiracy ......................... 37
 
2.
 
Google’s Knowledge of the Use of Banned AdImplementations through its Own Actions ............................................. 39
 
3.
 
Google’s Knowledge of the Use of Banned AdImplementations through Monitoring ..................................................... 39
 
G.
 
Google’s Unlawful Conduct and Violation of its Obligations ........................... 42
 
1.
 
Hard Coded Direct Links ........................................................................ 42
 
2.
 
Tool Bars ................................................................................................ 47
 
3.
 
Shadow Websites .................................................................................... 50
 
4.
 
Incentivized Search ................................................................................ 52
 
5.
 
Ads on Mobile Apps ............................................................................... 55
 
6.
 
Failure to “Smart Price” Clicks on Ads from SpecialPartners and Mobile Devices .................................................................. 57
 
V.
 
CLASS ALLEGATIONS ............................................................................................... 62
 
VI.
 
TOLLING AND FRAUDULENT CONCEALMENT .................................................. 65
 
VII.
 
CAUSES OF ACTION ................................................................................................... 66
 
VIII.
 
JURY DEMAND ............................................................................................................ 75
 
IX.
 
PRAYER ........................................................................................................................ 75
 
Case5:11-cv-01263-HRL Document1-3 Filed03/15/11 Page2 of 83
 
 
CLASS ACTION COMPLAINT -1-
12345678910111213141516171819202122232425262728Plaintiff Rick Woods (“Woods” or “Plaintiff”), on behalf of himself and all otherssimilarly situated, files this Class Action Complaint against Defendant Google Inc. (“Google”or “Defendant”). For his Class Action Complaint, Plaintiff alleges as follows:
1
 
I.
 
SUMMARY OF ACTION
1.
 
“Don’t be evil.” These are the first three words of Google’s Code of Conduct.The Code continues: “[E]verything we do in connection with our work at Google will be, andshould be, measured against the
highest possible standards of ethical 
 
business conduct
.”
See
Code of Conduct – Investors Relations – Google (emphasis added).
2
 2.
 
Google’s business revolves around this policy and the trust of its advertisingclients. Indeed, Google readily concedes, “We take this trust seriously, and we know that[Google] AdWords couldn’t exist without it.”
See
Ad Traffic Quality Resource Center.
3
 3.
 
In fact, Google lures advertisers into a relationship of confidence and trustthrough, among other things, consistent reassurance that Google will protect them. For example, Google’s chief economist encourages advertisers to “confidently bid the maximumthey are willing to pay” for all advertisements and let Google, through promised discounts,“take care of the rest.”
See
You Tube – AdSense Smart Pricing.
4
 4.
 
Through this omnipresent “anti-evil/trust-us” propaganda, Google hasengendered the trust and loyalty of millions of advertising clients—as well as the public atlarge—who believe Google is committed to operating with the highest ethical standards.5.
 
Google’s advertisers believe these promises. They view Google as their trustedbusiness partner to whom they openly reveal, through their advertising budgets, the
maximum
 amount of money they are willing to spend each day. Why not? Google repeatedly promises
1
Allegations concerning Plaintiff are based upon Plaintiff’s personal knowledge.The remaining allegations are based upon information provided by Google and/or Plaintiff’s information and belief.
2
 http://investor.google.com/corporate/code-of-conduct.html.
3
 http://www.google.com/adwords/adtrafficquality.
4
 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O1BaOMqcyQY.
Case5:11-cv-01263-HRL Document1-3 Filed03/15/11 Page3 of 83

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