Click Fraud Class Action against Miva / Lycos: Good idea, but payoff and motives questionable.

Update upon closer examination of the terms:   Holy crap, BatClickMan, this action is pretty bogus unless you are on the legal team.   Here’s the deal:  Lawyers get a bunch of cash from MIVA while the defrauded customers get 50% off future purchases of clicks from MIVA.      Given that MIVA clicks are generally of  questionable value and positive ROI is tough even with PPC campaigns at Google where they do much better job making sure clicks are legitimate and relevant, this is almost a worthless payment for the defrauded folks unless they have accounts with MIVA now and are spending huge amounts AND are getting some good  ROI.

I won’t even be bothering with this nonsense which appears more like the legal firm looking to nab a few million for an interesting case rather than much if any justice getting done. 

As a MIVA advertiser I just got the email announcing a class action lawsuit against Miva/Lycos that alleges:

… MIVA and Lycos breached their contracts with class members, unjustly enriched themselves, and engaged in a civil conspiracy by failing to adequately detect and stop “click fraud” or other invalid or improper clicks on online advertisements.  MIVA and Lycos deny Plaintiffs’ allegations and contend that all payments they have received from class members for online advertising were legally and properly charged …

I’m surprised there have been so few of these lawsuits because there has been and still is a staggering amount of click fraud, and despite some crackdowns all the advertising places are essentially misleading people about the extent of the fraud.    Part of the reason the wrath has been lower than one might expect is that you generally can get pay per click refunds from search engines  for many types of complaints and I assume they have done a lot of crediting of major ad accounts if fraud was discovered or even suspected.

Of course this may not be worth the trouble as the payout is in … wait for it … more MIVA clicks!    Ha – I guess this could be called the “one fraudulent click deserves another” class action?

Under the settlement, MIVA will establish a settlement fund of $3,936,812.00 on behalf of MIVA and Lycos, of which a portion will be used to pay class counsel’s fees and costs, and the remainder will be available to class members in the form of advertising credits that may be applied to up to 50% of the cost of future online advertising purchased from MIVA.  To receive credits, you must submit a valid and timely claim form.  Credits will be awarded on a pro rata basis, taking into account the amount that you paid to MIVA and/or Lycos for ads that you believe in good faith to have been result of click fraud and the total amount of credits available.  For example, if the amounts that you paid to MIVA for the affected ads were 1% of the combined online advertising revenues of MIVA between January 1, 2000 and September 30, 2007 and Lycos between September 23, 2002 and March 30, 2006, you would be eligible to receive 1% of the total available credits.  You must certify in your claim form the percentage of your ads you believe were the result of “click fraud.” Credits must be used within one year of issuance and may be used only for advertising on the MIVA Media US Network.

Here’s the online claim form and a lot more information:

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