Yahoo Hit With Second Spyware Click-Fraud Suit - InformationWeek

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Yahoo Hit With Second Spyware Click-Fraud Suit

Metrodate, like a previous merchant, charges Yahoo and its partners with using spyware to distribute ads and forcing merchants to pay for it.

Another Web site filed a class-action suit against Yahoo Thursday, adding a second filing to the original submitted on Monday that accused the portal of using spyware to distribute ads.

Like Monday's class-action lawsuit, the most recent pits a Web site -- in this case the online dating service -- against Yahoo, its Overture advertising network, and unspecified third party affiliates. The charges filed by Metrodate in a California federal court were nearly identical to those offered up by New Jersey-based Crafts by Veronica.

"In spite of Defendants'' promise and duty not to place ads in pernicious spyware programs, Defendants have done just that, and have charged their advertising customers for every click made on spyware pop-up ads," the filing read.

The resemblance to Monday's filing shouldn't be surprising, since many of the lawyers representing Crafts by Veronica -- Michael Boni, Michael Donovan, and Jonathan Shub, all of Philadelphia -- are also on the Metrodate legal team.

The lawsuit accused Yahoo of knowingly serving ads from dubious sources, including spyware and adware software and sites, as well as "typosquatting" sites that typically hold down domain names a character or two off a real URL, then rake in fees from ads served to users who unintentionally type in a wrong Web address.

Metrodate's lawsuit seeks "actual and/or compensatory damages," restitution for click overcharges, and attorneys' expenses.

Anti-spyware activist and researcher Ben Edelman is also named in the suit filed Thursday. In early April, Edelman released a report, "The Spyware -- Click-Fraud Connection -- and Yahoo's Role Revisited," that traced online ad click fraud from an adware distributor back to Yahoo.

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