Microsoft aims its legal guns at click fraudsters

Redmond (WA) – Microsoft yesterday filed suit against three individuals, three companies and several John Does allegedly involved in a massive click fraud scheme on Microsoft’s AdCenter network. Microsoft is asking for damages and fees in the neighborhood of $1 million.

We knew such a suit would be just a matter of time and today we learned that Microsoft has had enough of click fraudsters. Tim Cranton, a counsel for Microsoft. Said the company filed a civil lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for Western Washington outlining a click fraud scheme that is believed “to have impacted Microsoft’s advertising platform and potentially other networks.”

Click fraud usually happens when automated scripts generate clicks on so-called pay-per-click advertising on the Internet. Those clicks imitate real web users and generate advertising revenue, in this case for the defendants in this lawsuit.  

Microsoft claims that it has “gathered substantial evidence” that a few individuals may have been responsible for click fraud attacks targets ads relating to “auto insurance and the online role playing game World of Warcraft.” The suit “seeks an injunction to help stop this activity and to recover damages.”

In its 31-page filing, Microsoft asks the court to prevent the defendants from further click fraud, “compensatory” damages of at least $750,000 as well as statutory or triple damages. The company also wants the individuals to pay back all AdCenter revenues generated through the click fraud scheme, and reimbursement of attorney’s fees as well as costs associated with the lawsuit.  The total amount awarded could easily exceed $1 million.