Aussie site to take on Google over clicks dispute
Search engine results are important to any business, but in Australia where the vast majority of people sign into Google to browse the web, ranking well can be a matter of survival.
For local businessman Mark Bowyer making sure his travel site is easily accessed by users from across the country is a top priority.
According to Fairfax Media the founder of Rusty Compass – an online travel website – has filed a complaint against the search engine at NSW Fair Trading.
He is accusing the company of unconscionable conduct – a legal definition that refers to harsh or unfair treatment by a stronger party (business) over a weaker one – or abusing their position as an online provider.
Earlier this year Google cut Mr Bowyer's company from its advertising network, however, it failed to offer a detailed explanation as to why this action was taken.
Instead, the international corporation told Mr Bowyer that his site "posed a risk of generating invalid activity".
Mr Bowyer told the publication that Google had previously approved content on this site, as well as collaborative efforts with Travel Indochina – a site that is owned by Google and shares information on trips to Vietnam.
"So their very processes gave my business a tick of approval in August and then they kick me off the entire program about a fortnight later," he said.
On September 13, all ads were blocked from the site and Google also withheld money that had been generated by its partnership with the site.
He says attempts to clarify why Google took this course of action have largely failed, prompting him to take legal action.
According to Mr Bowyer it is not clear whether 'invalid' activity was taking place on the site and attempts at clarification have also been turned down.
But Google is said to suspect him of click fraud – paying people to click on or like a site – and at this point in time seems unlikely to change its position.
Posted by Aimee McBride