Advertising (and in particular AdWords) has evolved into Google’s main source of revenue. In 2012, it topped USD$42.5 billion. (Gulp, right)
The original idea was invented by Bill Gross of Idealab. Google wanted to buy the idea, but a deal couldn’t be reached. So not wanting to miss out, Google launched its own version called Google AdWords. (A version so similar to Bill’s it led to legal action between the two parties. Eventually, the dispute was settled out of court.)
Google AdWords has generated lawsuits in the area of trademark law, general fraud and click fraud. In 2006, Google settled a click fraud lawsuit for US$90 million. In 2012, Google was tangled in a trademark infringement case with Louis Vuitton.