Microsoft has indentified an emerging form of click fraud in online advertising dubbed “click laundering,” a previously unknown form of pay-per-click (PPC) alleged fraudsters are using sophisticated techniques to mask the source of traffic to Internet ads — making it look as if they’re coming from interested web surfers when they’re actually manufactured artificially behind the scenes. Through various means, including malware programs, fraudsters are able to trick innocent Internet users into visiting websites where they unknowingly click advertisements. Click launderers also can further disguise the origin of those invalid clicks by using scripts and other methods to alter information that’s sent to ad platform.”
As part of the initiative, Microsoft filed two lawsuits in U.S. District Court in Seattle against online publishers accused of abusing Microsoft’s own online advertising systems. ” One lawsuit is a John Doe suit; the other lawsuit names Web publisher RedOrbit Inc. and its president, Eric Ralls, as defendants.
“We want online advertisers to know that when they advertise on our networks they will get what they pay for, and we will stand behind them,” said Brad Smith, Microsoft’s general counsel, during a briefing with reporters today. He added later, “They’re paying for legitimate clicks from human beings, using the Internet.”