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AdWords Class-action Lawsuit Emails?  (View post)

Ryan Wagner [PersonRank 1]

Sunday, May 21, 2006
14 years ago11,604 views

I received that email as well, but I don't think it is real. It wouldn't affect me anyhow.

Razi Shaban [PersonRank 1]

14 years ago #

I did my research, and the text is correct legally. However, the server it came from (xmr3.com) is known for spam mail, and a US court district would NOT use that server. I also checked with the Miller County legal district, and they say that, basically, it is bulls[put at-character here]#$. There are no lawsuits against Google AdWords in that district. I also checked with my uncle (who works in Google) and he checked around and said that there were no lawsuits against Google AdWords in Arkansas. So....

Vicky [PersonRank 0]

14 years ago #

How come they know the email that I use for Google AdWords? Strange. I almost thought its genuine.

Stephen Glynn [PersonRank 1]

14 years ago #

Vicky ... they don't necessarily know that you use Google AdWords. It's a similar principle to phishing expeditions where the spammer just sends out tens of thousands of requests that you confirm your bank details with a particular bank, knowing that <b>some</b> of these will reach people who do, in fact, have accounts with that particular bank.

iZeitgeist [PersonRank 10]

14 years ago #

Got it too...

I wonder if they sent it to Adwords enabled accounts ONLY, and how they got those emails ?

Dint [PersonRank 2]

14 years ago #

I already thought it was weird, but I did reply to it to receive the localized version tho.. (stupid, I know) Oh well, as long as I don't give out my bank details (which I would never do) I guess I'll be fine.. By the way; Nice research Razi Shaban.

Johan Terpstra [PersonRank 1]

14 years ago #

Razi,

According to the guardian, there IS a suit against them in Arkansas:

blogs.guardian.co.uk/technolog ...

We got the mail as well, also wondering what's really going on.

Johan

/pd [PersonRank 10]

14 years ago #

I tried the URL cliclsettlemnt, and at that time it was not up or but DNS shows thats it registered to a person under the gilardi.com domian in CA.

As the registant is in the US, then obersivously, th eLaws of US will prevail.

1) how did they get the email address of Adwords to send out this message ?

clicksettlement.com
Registrant:
   Gilardi & Co.
   Timothy McGoey
   3301 Kerner Blvd
   San Rafael, CA 94901
   US
   Email: gus.scherer[put at-character here]gilardi.com

Don [PersonRank 0]

14 years ago #

It is a farse. There are several suits going on against Google, as there are for any large company, but this isn't one of them. This is a hoax email that is trying to get confirmed email address to update their spam list, and it is also going to try to get banking info, etc. Ignore it and move on. :)

Don

Haochi [PersonRank 10]

14 years ago #

I got this yesterday as well(from same email), I marked it as spam...

Chris [PersonRank 0]

14 years ago #

I'm not sure about the validity of the specific email. However, Lane's Gifts v. Google was filed in Arkansas.

As mentioned in the official Google Blog:
googleblog.blogspot.com/2006/0 ...

Stephen Glynn [PersonRank 1]

14 years ago #

It's perhaps worth pointing out that the url referenced in Manoj's blog appears to point to www.clicksettlment.com but actually – as is reasonably clear, at least if you're using Firefox – points to

pull.xmr3.com/p/26541-AC6C/701 ...

Registrant:
Premiere Global Services
   100 Tormee Dr
   Tinton Falls, NJ 07712
   US

   Domain Name: XMR3.COM

   Administrative Contact, Technical Contact:
   Premiere Global Services Whois Privacy and Spam Prevention by Whois Source
   100 Tormee Dr
   Tinton Falls, NJ 07712
   US
   732-389-3900 fax: 732-389-0782

   Record expires on 07-Mar-2008.
   Record created on 09-Jan-2006.

   Domain servers in listed order:

   MEDNS1.MESSAGEREACH.COM 205.183.255.229
   MEDNS2.MESSAGEREACH.COM 205.183.255.231

Vicky [PersonRank 0]

14 years ago #

Stephen Glynn.. the email that I use for AdWords is not my primary email address. I got some many email addresses that I use to subscribe stuff one the Internet but the one that I use for AdWords is kind of private.

DandyAndy [PersonRank 0]

14 years ago #

I first marked as Spam. But, I am terribly concerned – if it really is spam – how they got my email address that was created and used ONLY for AdWords. I have plenty of throw-away email addresses that routinely make it into the Spam lists, but in four years have never received anything other than legitimate email from AdWords.

Even more curious, the email used is my address for logging into AdWords, not the address I gave them for contacting me.

So, like, has anyone taken the obvious step of *calling* the attys listed on the PDF?

kimo [PersonRank 0]

14 years ago #

It cannot be spam...again, it was emailed to my adwords only account. Either this is real – or Google's adwords security has been breached.

Stephen Glynn [PersonRank 1]

14 years ago #

Vicky, it doesn't necessarily matter that an email address is private in that you don't give it out and only use it for personal correspondence. Here's two ways it could have happened.

One technique spammers, or people who sell lists of valid email addresses, use for generating mailing lists is a straightforward dictionary attack; you just start generating potential email addresses at a particular domain. Fire off emails to them all – easily done, particularly if you've got access to some zombie computers – and most will, of course, bounce back as undeliverable. Run a comparison between the list of undeliverable email addresses and your original list and remove the duplicates, and you know that the ones that are left are valid addresses.

In other words, even if you've never told anyone that Vicky123 at Gmail dot com belongs to you, if someone's generated Vicky123, along with tens of thousands of other potential email addresses @Gmail.com (and @Yahoo and @AllTheOtherDomainsHeCanThinkOf, and used them to fire off spam at Gmail accounts (and Hotmail accounts, and AOL ...) and the spam went straight into your spamtrap so you never saw it, the fact it didn't bounce straight back tells the person compiling the list that it's a live Gmail account.

Alternatively, if one of your friends to whom you've given the address found their pc infected by a trojan, it's a fair bet that, as well as using your friend's address book to forward itself to everyone, the trojan also sent a copy of the address book somewhere.

Digital Inspiration [PersonRank 2]

14 years ago #

I am no Adwords Advertiser, yet I recd this email. So I guess, they are randomly targeting people.

Amit Agarwal.

Randy Charles Morin [PersonRank 1]

14 years ago #

Why work for a living, just sue somebody for millions.

Adam Lasnik [PersonRank 2]

14 years ago #

Hey everyone,

I'm looking into this right now. A bit harder given that it's the weekend, but I'll see what I can do, and I'll post back here as soon as possible. Philipp, ping me tomorrow if I haven't gotten back with an answer...

Mark Thomson [PersonRank 1]

14 years ago #

My guess is that they're harvesting Domain Registry WHOIS info.

I wonder if they could then find out which of those domains are likely to be adwords customers. Does the adsense API have hooks for returning anything (semi)specific about particular domains?

mr fgoogle [PersonRank 1]

14 years ago #

this email is legit.

you have exactly 30 days after getting it to send a snail mail letter to the address listed if you want to opt out.

if you don't send a snail mail letter within the next 30 days, you give up all right to sue google for past claims or future claims.

in essence, google is hoping that most people will not go through the trouble of licking a stamp and mailing off a letter to opt out.

btw- the law firm that arranged the settlement is notorious for creating class action settlements that help the accused company and screw the individuals harmed.

google cant be allowed to get away with this. it will basically shield them from any and all claims of clickfraud, forever.

Adam Lasnik [PersonRank 2]

14 years ago #

Google's made an official announcement on this topic. You can check it out here:
adwords.blogspot.com/2006/05/l ...

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

14 years ago #

Looks like the bulk mail is legit then... from above link:

<<Now that the preliminary settlement has been approved by the Court, all members of the class are being notified about the settlement. On May 19 and 20, 2006 (PST), a settlement administration firm sent an email notification (from clicksettlement[put at-character here]xmr3.com and with the subject 'Important Legal Notice Regarding Your Google AdWords Account') to all advertisers who purchased online advertising from Google between January 1, 2002 and the present.>>

Wouter Schut [PersonRank 10]

14 years ago #

If it smells like spam then it probably is spam. This spam-run certainly isn't legit. The message it contains might be true, but that says nothing about the entire spam-run. This is surely meant to harvest valid e-mail adresses and even for phishing. I believe someone at google also thought it was legit.

It is very dangerous to call this legit! You can expect google to make an official anouncement on their google blog shortly.

Tony Ruscoe [PersonRank 10]

14 years ago #

Wouter: I think it's too much of a coincidence that so many people who use AdWords have received this email to the address they use specifically for their AdWords account. Surely the links are simply redirecting via another URL for tracking purposes. Surely if this was spam, I'd have received this via some of my other email addresses too instead of just one fairly obscure email address at work. (Another colleague who has an AdWords account also received a copy of the email, yet nobody else did... so that's surely not the work of an email harvester.)

Surely this must be legit...

Manoj Nahar [PersonRank 4]

14 years ago #

Tony: I got the email account I used to use for adwords till last year after google forced/persuaded users to change to google account for adwords. It has not come to my current adwords account email.

How can they get the address I used to use till sometime early last year.

Tony Ruscoe [PersonRank 10]

14 years ago #

Manoj: Same here. An employee left the company so I changed the address to mine, yet it came in to his old address.

> How can they get the address I used to use till sometime early last year?

It seems they must be using the original email addresses of "all advertisers who purchased online advertising from Google between January 1, 2002 and the present" – or the email address that was in use when the account was operating – and mine has been on pause since I changed the address so I wouldn't know...

Wouter Schut [PersonRank 10]

14 years ago #

It is certainly not legit because it is illegal to send unsolicited emails. Just my 2 cents...

Tony Ruscoe [PersonRank 10]

14 years ago #

Wouter: I don't think it's that straightforward. For example, if I receive a Cease and Desist email, that could be described as being unsolicited yet it would not be illegal...

/pd [PersonRank 10]

14 years ago #

However, this is a 3rd party that has sent out unsolicitated email so

>> how did they get the email address of Adwords [users] to send out this message ?

and was I correct in id'ing the law firm ?? Which law firm is pushing the 'class action' case ??

Stephen Glynn [PersonRank 1]

14 years ago #

There's something rather odd happening here. The clicksettlement.com website looks distinctly fishy – no address or anything like that – and the phone number they give, 800-899-6701, appears to be unlisted (at least according to both anywho.com/rl.html and whitepages.com/phone-lookup

I'm not phoning them from the UK, but has anyone in the USA tried calling this number to see what response they get?

Alternatively, what purport to be the FAQ about this matter, at

+ Show PDF

, say you can opt out of the settlement by writing to:

Google Settlement Opt Out
c/o Gilardi & Co. LLC
P.O. Box 808070
Petaluma, CA 94975-8070

Gilardi & Co appear to be a large, bona fide law firm who live at

Gilardi & Co. LLC
3301 Kerner Blvd.
San Rafael, CA 94901
Phone: 415-461-0410
Fax: 415-461-0412
Email: classact[put at-character here]gilardi.com
Website: www.gilardi.com

someone might also want to contact them direct and ask if they know anything about this email.

I'd be very intrigued to know whether this is genuine or not. I'm in no way involved in AdWords but I have professional interest in phishing, and I'm smelling several rats here!

/pd [PersonRank 10]

14 years ago #

Yes, I tracked this domain down to this law firm... I am on call with them now!!

Gilardi is a 3rd party firm doing all the notices etc etc. They are not filing the actual case. They have been hired by George M (attonery for Plantiff) for this class action case.

The case has been filed in miller county., akansas. However, she could not give me a docket# for this. Furthe details can be obtain by calling 903-334-7000

'nuff said

this is a legitate email and case build!! so folks if you want to opt-in / opt -out this is your chance.. sue google or not ??

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

14 years ago #

Google gave them the email address list, right?
Can they just do that any second party and it becomes legit bulk mail then, or is there a restriction?

/pd [PersonRank 10]

14 years ago #

No they (google) had to give them the email address.. as they are the offical court ordered 3rd party notice filers on behalf of the courts!!

So Attoneys for the defence and Plantiff had no say in the matter....

Being supported by the Court of Miller county – they automatically are indemnified as being termed "spam" and it is "legit bulk mail"

the Restrication would be that they can never use the email db for any other activity., else it would be spam!

Kirby Witmer [PersonRank 10]

14 years ago #

Is it just me or what, but I can't even get the clicksettlement.com website to come up?? It appears to be down or something..

Kevin T. [PersonRank 0]

14 years ago #


It's real, and our lawfirm is investigating whether we want to represent people who "opt-out."

We ourselves spend over $100,000 per year at Google, and the thought of getting what works out to less than 1 percent of that in a settlement is disturbing.

If your company has spent more than $100,000 at Google, please email me at seamless.com[put at-character here]gmail.com with your contact information.

Thank you,

Kevin.

Al [PersonRank 0]

14 years ago #

I have a special e-mail account I use for AdWords and a couple dozen other reputable vendors. I created the e-mail account in 2001, and up until last week it had never been spammed.

I received the clicksettlement[put at-character here]xmr3.com e-mail message on May 20, 2006. On May 23, 2006, May 24, 2006, and May 25, 2006 the e-mail account received its first three pieces of spam. All three had misleading subject lines ("dispenser," "aptitude," and "advent") and consisted entirely of an attached GIF file "appallingly.gif," "destroyer.gif," and "album.gif"). I did not display the GIF files so I don't know what the spammer was pushing. The routing information appeared to have gone through zombie PCs.

I am extremely suspicious that I received the spam as a result of my e-mail address being released to the fine folks at Premiere Global Services (xmr3.com).

Did any of you have a similar experience after receiving the clicksettlement[put at-character here]xmr3.com e-mail message?

Al

Razi Shaban [PersonRank 1]

14 years ago #

hmm.... lets see... if google wanted to inform people about this, would they use an email @xmr3.com? i doubt it...

Michael S [PersonRank 1]

14 years ago #

I only got one notice to an address of an account that I hardly use. The email used for my main account, which has a vary large spend, did not receive a notice. Strange.

If it's appropriate to post here... My company (ClickTracks) decided to offer a credit on click fraud reporting software to all members of the class action.
clicktracks.com/fraud_recovery ...

Hope that helps.

-Michael S.

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