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Contextual ads are those ads you see when you do a search on Google. The advertisers only pay if someone actually clicks on their ad. It seems "pashut" to me that clicking an ad if you know you're not going to buy anything from the site is tantamount to gezel. A friend of mine, however, claims that the advertiser is willing to pay the xyz amount in order to get you to his online store and have a chance at convincing you. Especially since the advertiser goes into this knowing that people may click ads but not buy.

Can anyone think of any sources to prove this one way or another?

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Why is it obvious to you that clicking on a link is tantamount to stealing? What are you stealing and from whom? – WAF Dec 6 '12 at 22:53
Why are you clicking on it then? Presumably if you see something you like you will buy yes? That's all the publisher can hope for. No one is expecting a guaranteed buy. The halacha probably follows the expectation of the seller. He expects people who have an interest to click, but not people who click and then close it without looking. – Ariel Dec 6 '12 at 23:19
Just to be clear, are you speaking about Click fraud (were the entire intent is to cause loss), just bored clicking, or clicking because you have some interest in seeing the site but are not planning to buy? – Michoel Dec 6 '12 at 23:46
@ba the advertiser himself. The fact that the ad is there means he wants you to click on it in order to hopefully buy something. – Shraga Dec 8 '12 at 19:00
So then you can click on it even if you aren't! He wants to click on it in order to hopefully buy something – b a Dec 9 '12 at 2:52

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