From Google’s post:
We’re very near a resolution in that case, so we thought we’d offer an update.
We’ve been discussing the case with the plaintiffs for some time and have recently come to an agreement with them which we believe is a good outcome for everyone involved. As a result, Google and the plaintiffs are going to ask the judge to approve the settlement, which would resolve the case.
Until the settlement is approved by the judge, it is not final. And the details are confidential, but will become public when it is formally filed for the judge’s consideration. However, we can share the major pieces of our proposed agreement.
Google currently allows advertisers to apply for reimbursement for clicks they believe are invalid. They can do this for clicks that happen during the 60 days prior to notifying Google. Under the agreement with the plaintiffs, we are going to open up that window for all advertisers, regardless of when the questionable clicks occurred. For all eligible invalid clicks, we will offer credits which can be used to purchase new advertising with Google. We do not know how many will apply and receive credits, but under the agreement, the total amount of credits, plus attorneys fees, will not exceed $90 million.
What I am not sure I grok is – is this $90 million set aside only for the plaintiffs in the Lanes’ case, or is that the total Google is setting aside for all advertisers, period? I’ve asked Google for clarification. Seems to me, if they are changing their policy, the claims, and the costs, could go well above $90 million.
UPDATE: I have confirmation that indeed, this $90 million covers all US claims. In other words, this is a very small drop in the potential bucket. All US advertisers that have *ever* spent money with Google have the right to make a claim, but the total amount of those claims is capped at $90 million, a pittance compared to the billions that Google has made from AdWords/sense in the last five or so years.
On the one hand, this validates Google’s claim that clickfraud is not that big a deal. On the other, Google settled, and relatively quickly, and probably with the knowledge that a quick settlement was far better than a drawn out, public trial that might make the company look, well, defensive at the best. At the worst, it could have meant a terrible PR nightmare, and a hell of a lot more damages than $90 million. My first take: This settlement is a major victory for Google. Was it good for advertisers? Not sure. But I think the folks at Google are pleased as punch with the deal.