Google near US settlement over ad practices

May 13, 2011
Google is close to reaching a settlement with the Justice Department over allegations it made hundreds of millions of dollars by accepting advertisements from online pharmacies that break US law, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Google is close to reaching a settlement with the Justice Department over allegations it made hundreds of millions of dollars by accepting advertisements from online pharmacies that break US law, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The disclosed earlier this week that it had set aside $500 million in anticipation of the results of a US government investigation into "the use of advertising by certain advertisers."

Google did not provide further details in the filing with the US (SEC).

"As this is a legal matter, we're not commenting on it," Google said on Thursday in response to an AFP inquiry.

But the Journal, citing "people familiar with the matter," said it concerned an investigation into whether Google had knowingly accepted ads from online pharmacies based in Canada and elsewhere that violated US law.

"It's unclear whether those online drugstores were alleged to have sold counterfeit or expired drugs, whether they didn't require a valid doctor's prescription, or both," the newspaper said.

The Journal said a $500 million payment "would rank high among the criminal or civil penalties paid by companies in disputes with the US government."

In 2007, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo! agreed to pay a combined $31.5 million fine to settle allegations they had accepted ads from sites, the newspaper said.

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User comments : 2

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dogbert
not rated yet May 13, 2011
We should not expect or require a service provider to serve as a police force.

This is doubtless just another instance of prosecutors making a name for themselves while seizing money.
Beard
not rated yet May 14, 2011
When is the last time you bought something because of an internet ad? I never understood why they're worth so much.

When I want to buy something:
1) Google search
2) Assess several independent articles and reviews
3) Come to conclusion based on evidence
4) Purchase at lowest price I can find

I love the internet.