Dean Gresham's Quest for Click-Fraud Reform

Thumbnail image for Gresham221.jpg

In the new issue of Texas Rising Stars, which is currently on desks in the Lone Star state and available online and in digital form, we took a look back at the work of Dean Gresham of Payne Mitchell Law Group in Dallas, who in 2008 helped achieve significant click-fraud reforms.

Gresham got involved in the issue after his client, the owners of Lane's Gifts & Collectibles, a gift shop in Texarkana, Ark., became suspicious about clicks on their website. "They were noticing all these strange hits from China and Korea at 4 o'clock in the morning, but they were just clicks," he says. "People weren't really browsing their website or buying their items, ... They were just clicking for whatever reason."

Gresham found out a likely reason. In advertiser click fraud, a company intentionally clicks on its competitor's ad in order to deplete that competitor's daily ad budget for its per-click fee, which is paid to Google. When the budget is drained, the competitor drops from the top spot in the search engine.

"Sometimes [a company's competitor] pays someone in India 20 rupees a day to click all day on your ad," he says.

Gresham found others that had similar experiences and pulled together a class-action. The upshot: Google agreed to give advertisers $60 million worth of free advertising, and to let an Internet expert access its documents and algorithms and observe how the company's click-fraud detection system functions. It was a transparency moment for the pay-per-click and search-engine industries, Gresham says.

To read the full story, go here.