With a planned $90 million settlement, Google could soon dispense with a class-action lawsuit involving so-called click fraud.

But while that may be good for Google, it doesn't mean the problem of bogus clicks on online ads--which advertisers have to pay for--is going to disappear anytime soon. A lack of clear standards for determining what is a fraudulent click, or some sort of third-party clearinghouse to monitor the situation, means some advertisers believe they can't do much more than head to the courts when they think there's a problem.

Certainly, Google and Yahoo, which run the two largest pay-per-click advertising networks, say they're addressing the problem. But some click auditing companies still claim that between 20 percent and 35 percent of clicks on Net advertisements are fraudulent.

"The proof will really be in the pudding going forward," Danny Sullivan, editor of Search Engine Watch said last week. "If this lawsuit gets settled and people six months later still feel like Google is charging them for fraudulent clicks on ads, there could be another lawsuit."

Unfortunately, there's no easy answer. Some experts say the solution is to have an independent auditor that would use data from the search engines and advertisers to determine in a neutral environment whether clicks are fraudulent.

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