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Google drops click fraud case against Michael Anthony Bradley

Wednesday, 06 December 2006

BusinessWeek has a great article about how Google has quietly dropped the case against Michael Anthony Bradley who was arrested in 2004 for 'click fraud' and attempted extortion against Google, and could have faced a 20 year penalty in prison. All the usual search engine marketing news sites seem to have missed this major event which has serious repercussions for the Pay-Per -Click advertising marketplace, as it sends extremely mixed messages about Googles treatment of the clickfraud issue.

BusinessWeek claims that Googles secretiveness is partly to blame for the case being dropped, while others will read it as a clear indication that law enforcement is impossible for click fraud related issues, thus highlighting a serious flaw in the Pay-Per-Click ad billing system.

"Google appears to have taken the latter path,
(...keep its efforts to detect and quantify click fraud a secret which could allow Bradley to go unpunished. ) 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."

Ben Elgin BusinessWeek's Silicon Valley bureau.

This is definitely something that demands a response from Google to their advertisers.


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