Is Google Breaking The Law In Providing Ads On Typosquatting Domains?
from the blame-Google! dept
Lawsuits against Google come at a pretty regular pace, with some being more interesting than others. Often, companies blame Google for something someone else did, because Google has a lot more money and makes for a sexy target. That may be the case in the latest lawsuit, which is an attempt at a class action lawsuit against a group of “domainers” (firms that buy up domain names and simply dump ads on them) and Google — because Google supplies the contextual ads for many of these sites. Google’s AdSense for Domains program works pretty much like its regular AdSense offering, in that it provides contextual ads, based on the domain (rather than the search term). Effectively, Google simply processes the domain name as if it’s a search term, and returns relevant ads. The idea of the suit is that this somehow gives Google control over the site, and therefore they should bear the liability for potential trademark infringement. That seems like a stretch. As Eric Goldman notes in the link above, it may also be difficult to turn this into a class action lawsuit, since trademark cases require specific facts proving that a trademark is valid and infringed, which you can’t really do for everyone in the class. Either way, it’s hard to see how Google can be blamed for a domain owner registering a typosquatted name, even if Google’s ads appear on the site.