Processor - Microsoft Cracks Down On Click Laundering


(2-Jul-10) Microsoft has an established history of filing suit against companies engaged in digital forms of fraud. Adding to this pattern, the computer maker has recently filed separate suits—one against RedOrbit and the other against a group of 20 anonymous defendants—alleging that the accused are involved in a type of click fraud Microsoft has dubbed “click laundering,” designed to garner increased clicks on click-based ads.

RedOrbit, which was once an approved site on Microsoft’s AdCenter service network, is accused of using botnets and parked sites to dramatically increase the number of clicks on the ads on its site, which is typical of click fraud. What’s unique to click laundering, however, is that RedOrbit allegedly directed the traffic to its own servers, where the company removed the source information that traced back to the botnet and replaced it with code that made it seem that the traffic legitimately came from the approved site rather than a botnet.

Microsoft first noticed the bogus clicks when the number of clicks increased inordinately within a two-week period. Normally, hits from RedOrbit.com average about 75 per day, but they shot up to 10,000 per day in early 2009. RedOrbit denies “engaging, assisting in, or condoning” click laundering, but Microsoft wants its advertisers to know it stands behind its loyal network of companies, so it’s quashing any foul play.

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