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Report: Google's anti-click-fraud efforts are 'reasonable'

An Internet marketing expert has submitted an independent report that says Google's anti-click-fraud efforts are "reasonable."

Alexander Tuzhilin, professor of information systems at New York University, filed his report in a court in Arkansas on Friday. The report was requested as part of a settlement reached between Web site Lane's Gifts and Google.

Lane's Gifts sued Google last year, claiming it charged advertisers for fraudulent clicks. The two sides reached a $90 million settlement in the case in March but other advertisers are challenging the settlement in court, arguing that the amount is inadequate compensation.

Click fraud occurs when Web site publishers click on ads on their site to boost their revenue or when companies click on rivals' ads to eat away at their advertising budgets.

In a statement on its Google Blog on Friday, Shuman Ghosemajumder, business product manager for trust and safety at Google, wrote: "The bottom-line conclusion of the report is that Google's efforts against click fraud are in fact reasonable...It is an independent report, so not surprisingly there are other aspects of it with which we don't fully agree. But overall it is a validation of what we have said for some time about our work against invalid clicks."

Indeed, the 47-page report (click for PDF), says that although the Google Click Quality team's solutions were not perfect, "based on the information provided to me by Google, I reached the conclusion that the invalid clicking problem at Google was 'under control' by the end of 2005."

Also on Friday, Google filed paperwork urging the judge to grant final approval to the settlement. A two-day hearing on the challenge to the settlement is scheduled for Monday.