Citysearch Sued For Click Fraud

Los Angeles based law firm Kabateck Brown Kellner, LLP has filed a class action lawsuit against Citysearch, accusing it of promoting click fraud. The suit was filed on behalf of plaintiff Tom Lambotte, who has charged that Citysearch has failed to recognize or reimburse him for the clickfraud that took place on an ad he placed between December 11 and 31, 2007. The suit also applies to anyone who has used the click-based Citysearch ad program.

The lawsuit says that Citysearch promotes click fraud by paying its salespeople a commission based on the number of clicks their customers’ ads generate. It also states the Citysearch fails to take any steps to prevent click fraud, and does nothing to help victims.

The plaintiff’s claim is as follows:

“Lambotte’s Citysearch ad received a total of 7 clicks (plus two more that he generated) between December 11 and 25, 2007. On December 26 he received a response from Citysearch to his December 22 request to cancel his ad. Suddenly, his ad began receiving 12 to 16 clicks a day, for a total of 69 clicks between December 26 and December 31, when his ad was finally canceled. He received in these five days 10 times as many clicks as he had received in the previous two weeks. Despite this, Citysearch refused his repeated requests to reverse these charges.”

Basically there was an increase from less than one click per day to around 10 per day. The increase is significant percentage-wise, but the click rate was very low to begin with – any increase would represent a huge gain. On the other hand, if the plaintiff can identify a trend of neglect in Citysearch’s actions, then the class action suit could have some merit.

Kabateck Brown Kellner recently won multi-million dollar settlements involving advertisements on Google and Yahoo, and has recently filed a class-action lawsuit against Google’s AdWords program. With that kind of history it’s clear that the firm knows what it’s doing, but the case might be perceived as just another cash grab.