Online-advertising agency AdTrader on Dec. 13 filed a lawsuit accusing Google of fraud and deceit.

The agency claims the Mountain View tech giant made “fraudulent promises” to refund or credit advertisers whose ads were targeted in scams, while the company was just keeping the money. AdTrader also alleges that Google failed to pay it nearly $500,000.

None of the claims have been proven. A Google spokesperson said the company had not reviewed the lawsuit but looked forward to doing so.

“From what we have read in the press, these allegations are without merit,” the spokesperson said.

“We have a longstanding policy of refunding advertisers for invalid traffic.”

AdTrader claims that after Google withheld almost $500,000 it owed the ad agency over fraudulent ad traffic, Google responded — ” the same way it has to hundreds of thousands of publishers for many years” — that it wouldn’t pay the money because it had already given it to the affected advertisers.

“What Google apparently forgot, however, was that AdTrader also helps companies place on-line advertisements on various advertising platforms,” alleges the lawsuit, filed in Northern California U.S. District Court. “AdTrader and its advertising clients, using a Google product called DoubleClick Bid Manager, had placed some of the … advertisements that ran on the websites of AdTrader’s publishers.

“Thus, Google’s explanation that it had refunded all of AdTrader’s withheld earnings back to Google’s advertisers rang false, because neither AdTrader nor its advertising clients received any refunds.”

AdTrader is seeking unspecified damages.

“What’s really outraging is they’re lying about what they do with the money,” AdTrader co-founder Dobromir Kamburov told The Register.

Google said it had recently announced that its policy of refunding advertisers for invalid traffic “is currently being expanded to include ads purchased via DoubleClick Bid Manager.”

Photo: Two men walk past a building on the Google campus in Mountain View, Calif., on Nov. 12, 2015. (AP/Jeff Chiu)

Tags: AdTrader, digital advertising, Google, lawsuit

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