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Microsoft Corp filed a lawsuit against three individuals believed to be based in Vancouver, accusing them of a form of "click fraud" by improperly using Microsoft's online advertising service for profit, court documents show.
In the suit filed on Monday in a U.S. federal court in Seattle against the three individuals and companies they are believed to control, Microsoft said it suffered at least $750,000 as a result of the click fraud scheme.
[edited by: engine at 1:31 pm (utc) on June 16, 2009]
[edit reason] Added quote [/edit]
That leaves mainly the Zune and the XBox that I don't personally know about but it seems like those are fairly popular. Some people tell me the Zune is better than the iPod...
Microsoft seems determined not to allow their advertising model to become like that uncontrollable Adsense fiasco.
As previously suggested by Gomvents, they have neatly poised themselves (in lieu of their latest talks with their other search rival Yahoo) for a serious assault on the leading search provider. The next few months should provide an indication of their recent strategy's success.
And it ls a good move to swat down the bad guys as fast as you can when you start out. Means that the bad boys in general get the message "don't mess" right away. Unlike google, which is looking for a lock for its barn door now that the horse are all over the horizon, Microsoft bought the lock first, and put the barn up afterwards.
Is that the first large ppc fraud battle for MS ? I haven't heard of anything on that scale before.
There is no law saying you can't click the links, its a bit dishonest but until they make you sign an agreement before you can see/click the advertisements they don't really have a leg to stand on.
Otherwise where would it end? Microsoft sueing people for using their site for searches? ;)
I know the Google agreement doesn't. Ideally their software should be picking up these clicks as false anyway, it shouldn't take the software so long that the click cash isn't reinstated before the end of the day.
So that been the case isn't Microsoft sueing for their own software been crap? :) Sounds like standard Microsoft behaviour.
my contract with my bank doesn't mention anything about me walking in with a gun... or creating fake atm cards based on what i read off of the one they issued me.
in any case, see 5. c. iv. here:
iv) You will not, and will not authorize any third party to, use any automated means, including, without limitation, agents, robots, scripts or spiders, to access Your adCenter Program account, to monitor or copy Microsoft Advertising Network or the content contained therein, or bypass Microsoft's tools or services to interfere or attempt to interfere with the proper working of Microsoft or the Microsoft Advertising Network and will not generate automated or fraudulent impressions or clicks of advertisements on the Microsoft Advertising Network
The one of them that agreed to the ad publishing agreement might be sueable, but you can't for example sue the 3rd party that did the clicking as he/she hasn't made any agreement.
IE: I could go and click every ad I didn't like on Bing and would be immune to any pusnishment dispite me costing Microsoft lots of money for the simple reason I haven't made an agreement with microsoft. Ditto if someone paid me to click specific ads.
So at worst, they get 1 conviction for breach of contract then end up paying the other 2 non-convicted people's legal bills and end up making a loss anyway ;)
They will also need to prove which clicks are from which person and that the person who signed the agreement KNEW and CONSENTED to the other two making the fraudulant clicks, if they just decided to do him a favour without him asking them to (I know it didn't happen this way but they could agrue that it did or basically that microsoft can't prove it didn't)
From what I see, some of the developing countries now have the attitude that the Internet was built exclusively for them to exploit; pillaging a nickel and a dime here and there at the expense of North American and European web site owners; who usually have no clue where their search engine ads are being displayed and who/what is clicking away their search engine marketing budget and a more frightening afterthought is what some of these third-world schemers intend to do with the money they steal from us.
I am grateful that Microsoft is trying to set the bar so as to not create another Adsense/nonsense but they have to learn how to reach across the oceans in order to effectively be preventative and I don't see that happening anytime soon.
What this makes clear is that click fraud is equally, if not a bigger problem in the developed countries where they are 'smarter' and get caught maybe less often..
"So Canadians caught doing click fraud ( in an open society)and so start blaming the guys in developing countries.."
This click-fraud case highlights three (apparently Asian) marketers operating out of Vancouver and is a fairly simple case to bring in front of the courts. What I'm saying is that there are much, much larger, more organized click-fraud outfits than this and they frequently operate outside of North America/Europe (especially in the developing nations) and that Microsoft will need to employ an army of lawyers in order to even put a dent into the huge, seemingly unchecked search engine ad fraud activities (which is a part of the bizzare legacy that will be left by Google).
" Huh.. If you don't want to display your ads in developing countries , you have enough tools on the advertisers side.."
Yes, if you know why and how to use them. None of the search engines warn the web site owners about what may occur when checking this box or unchecking that box or picking this or that country really means. Very few web site owners using search engine ads that I have encountered have any notion at all as to what they are doing in the ad management console. Sure, when done right, the owner stands a chance at getting a few extra telephone calls, when done poorly however, the budget gets wasted fairly rapidly and the telephone ends up in the pawn shop.
[edited by: Green_Grass at 8:45 am (utc) on June 25, 2009]