Microsoft Files "Click Laundering" Suits

After an investigation spanning more than a year, Microsoft Corp. has filed two lawsuits involving what it says is a new and alarming type of click fraud used by unscrupulous Web publishers to enrich themselves at the expense of online advertisers, including many small companies.

Microsoft, of Redmond, Wash., filed suit on Monday in federal court in Seattle against Eric C. Ralls and the company he founded, RedOrbit Inc., a Dallas science news and shopping site, plus 10 unnamed defendants. The software giant claims RedOrbit engaged in "click laundering," a term for making bogus clicks on third-party sites look like legitimate clicks on a publisher's site, thus inflating ad revenue.

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