Google is among a host of web firms facing a lawsuit from companies complaining about programmes that place online ads on unused, parked domain names.
Vulcan Golf filed the complaint in Illinois arguing the practice, by which individuals register attractive domain names but place only ads on them, is a "shocking and egregious, intentional, bad faith scheme to generate revenue and profit from illegal and deceptive actions".
The golf firm also names Sedo, Oversee, Dotster and Ireit, each of which allows customers to make money by placing ads on their parked domains.
Google claims its AdSense For Domains programme is the web's premiere parked domain ads service, serving ads on "millions" of domains.
The case accuses the firms of...
..."intentionally and deceptively registering, licensing and utilising deceptive domains that are identical or confusingly similar to [Vulcan's]".
Vulcan, which trades at www.vulcangolf.com, complains that the companies place ads on domains like wwwvulcangolf.com, designed to capitalise on typing errors.
According to technology lawyer Eric Goldman:
"Google and the domainers could point out that consumers who access these domain names are either going to see a 404 or a page of putatively relevant paid links, and the latter is more useful to them.
"In fact, according to this study, ads on parked automotive-related domains convert at [double the rate of] ads on search engines."