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Archive for the ‘Legal’ Category

Citysearch.com is defrauding its advertising customers of millions of dollars by not only turning a blind eye to click fraud, but in fact encouraging it as well, according to a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court by Kabateck Brown Kellner, LLP.

“Most click fraud cases involve companies that simply turn a blind eye to it,” said the victims’ attorney, Brian S. Kabateck, Managing Partner of Kabateck Brown Kellner. “Citysearch does this too, since it has no real program to prevent click fraud. But Citysearch goes beyond indifference to actively incentivizing click fraud. Citysearch’s motive is simple: clicks equal cash, whether they’re fraudulent or not.”

Kabateck recently won a multi-million dollar settlement from Yahoo! And was part of an earlier $90 million settlement from Google on behalf of advertisers who were victimized by click fraud. He also recently filed a federal class action suit against Google for fraud within its “AdWords” pay-per-click advertising system.

Citysearch, part of IAC/InterActiveCorp, which is headed by Barry Diller, pays commissions to its salespeople based on the number of clicks their customers’ ads receive, providing an incentive for click fraud, according to the lawsuit. Furthermore, the suit contends, contrary to Citysearch’s own representations to its advertisers, it takes no real steps to prevent click fraud. And when customers become victims of click fraud, Citysearch fails to adequately advise them that they have been victimized or refund the money paid to Citysearch for that fraudulent activity.

The lawsuit seeks to represent all people or entities in the United States who paid money for pay-per-click advertising through Citysearch.com. As detailed within the suit, the case of plaintiff Tom Lambotte shows Citysearch refusing to acknowledge blatant indications of click fraud.

Lambotte’s Citysearch ad received a total of 7 clicks (plus two more that he generated) between December 11 and 25, 2007. On December 26 he received a response from Citysearch to his December 22 request to cancel his ad. Suddenly, his ad began receiving 12 to 16 clicks a day, for a total of 69 clicks between December 26 and December 31, when his ad was finally cancelled. He received in these five days 10 times as many clicks as he had received in the previous two weeks. Despite this, Citysearch refused his repeated requests to reverse these charges.

Click fraud can be detected by software that can track suspicious patterns, such as repeated clicks from the same source. Although Citysearch assures its customers that it applies this technology, the experiences of many of its customers shows otherwise, according to the suit. Still, customers are led to believe that Citysearch is in fact actively fighting against click fraud.

According to Citysearch’s “Invalid Click Policy”: “Citysearch also has sophisticated algorithms to track sessions and user behavior on our site to assist us in identifying click patterns that would indicate invalid clicks. In the event we identify a click as invalid, our customers are not charged for such clicks.”

“Citysearch is operating contrary to its own contract with its customers,” Kabateck said.

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The Department of Justice announced the distribution of $5 million in new funds to support Project Safe Childhood, the Department’s initiative that combats technology-facilitated sexual exploitation crimes against children. The money will fund 43 new Assistant U.S. Attorney positions across the nation to prosecute these offenses, which remain a high priority for the Department of Justice.

Deputy Attorney General Mark Filip announced the new positions, saying: “Anyone who uses the Internet to prey on children will become the primary target of law enforcement. These additional resources back up this commitment.” Filip made the announcement in visits to the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices in Charlotte, N.C., and Lexington, Ky. Both offices received one of the newly created positions, which were awarded on a competitive basis among the many districts with demonstrated records of successfully prosecuting sexual crimes against children. No district was awarded more than one new position.

This announcement was made as part of Project Safe Childhood. In February 2006, the Department of Justice launched the Project, which is a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse. Led by the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals, who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit http://www.projectsafechildhood.gov/.

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Happy Birthday Spam; e-Weapon of Destruction turns 30.The first spam email is attributed to a creative marketer’s idea, dating back to 1978, 30 years ago this month. Inviting several hundred individuals to a product demonstration, Gary Thuerk used email because it was less expensive and faster than hundreds of letters or phone calls.

Three decades later, spam comprises up to 95 percent of all email, and up to 120 billion spam messages are sent each day according to various studies.

No mere annoyance, spam routinely launches viruses and worms that can wreak havoc in unprotected networks, compromise employee and customer personal data, and cost organizations millions of dollars. In fact, the FBI estimates that cyber crime costs U.S. businesses more than $67.2 billion annually. The Federal Trade Commission has declared spam to be a significant global tool in the propagation of financial crimes, and phishing email tops the Internal Revenue Service list of the 12 most serious tax scams.

Junk Mail.But this kinky, genderless, destructive personality, who turns 30 this week, is still absconding, and at large. Such finesse in it’s execution that we’re unable to get hold of this fellow, though he pops in each day, everyday.

Happy Birthday Spam! You owe me a piece of Chocolate Cake and $456.92 cents, PERIOD!

Brad Templeton has the word-to-word copy of the FIRST SPAM.

Courtesy: SECNAP Network Security and Brad Templeton.

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Dr. Shan Nair was announced today as the recipient of the 2008 Outstanding 50 Asian Americans in Business Award, presented by the Asian American Business Development Center (AABDC).

Dr. Shan Nair 2008 Outstanding 50 Asian Americans in Business.The awards honor Asian American entrepreneurs and executives with great achievements in business nationwide. In honor of the recipients, an awards dinner will be held May 28 at The Waldof-Astoria in New York City. The 2008 awards recognize achievements from 2007 and is the first and largest business award program for the Asian American business community.

“All this year’s award recipients have faced the challenges of running a business head-on with outstanding success. Asian Americans are a successful group of individuals and this is why our organization wants to recognize the talent among the community,” says John Wang, president of AABDC.

Dr. Shan Nair, Co-Founder of Nair & Co is an Oxford University trained Ph.D. nuclear physicist and Charter Member of TiE-Boston and has a unique blended background in high technology, software and accounting. Dr. Nair has lived in 13 countries in South East Asia, Europe and the Middle East becoming multi-lingual in the process and placing him in an excellent position to understand international issues. When the Chernobyl accident occurred, he was one of the two UK technical experts assisting the European Commission on its post-accident risk assessment.

Once the UK power generation industry was privatized in the early 1990s, he retrained as an accountant within the industry and left to found Nair and Co. He introduced and trained UK legal practices in the Law Society’ Practice Management Standards and now uses his expertise to ensure Nair’s quality standards for clients continue to reflect the Sarbanes-Oxley (SAS-70) certification requirements. Dr. Nair is also responsible for the overall development of the group’s policies, strategies and goals. He has driven the company’s strong focus on using IT to leverage business advantage.

The award program also serves as an advocacy channel for many corporations to demonstrate their support for cultural diversity by nominating distinguished Asian American executives for the program. Previous award winners include Grace Wu Vice President of Merrill Lynch; Vivek Shah, President of Digital Publishing, Business & Finance Network at Time Inc.; Sandeep Gupta, Principal of Deloitte & Touche, LLP; Grace Hwang, Director of Reporting & Analysis at Verizon Wireless; Rachel Lam, Senior Vice President of Investments & Group Managing Director at Time Warner; Nawzer Parakh, Vice President for Operations & Global Business Manufacturing Director at The Dow Chemical Company; and Ansso Wang, Assistant Vice President of Corporate and International Affairs at American International Group (AIG).

For more information about the Outstanding 50 Asian Americans in Business Awards visit http://www.outstanding50.com/.

About Nair & Co

Nair & Co provides businesses an integrated solution geared to making your company’s thrust to expanding business overseas less risky, stress free and more strategic in the finance, tax, HR, compliance and legal arenas. Specialized in working with the unique challenges of US-based technology companies, Nair & Co has headquarters in the UK and offices in USA, China, Japan and India and acts for nearly 700 foreign operations in over 40 countries. Nair & Co employs highly qualified international specialists as your one point of contact client service directors to support your international registration, tax, accounting, compliance, HR and payroll needs. Our unrivalled knowledge base, attention to detail and superior work ethics protect your company’s operations more effectively and save you time and money in the long run. For more information, visit http://www.nair-co.com.

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Microsoft Corp. has announced that it has withdrawn its proposal to acquire Yahoo! Inc.

“We continue to believe that our proposed acquisition made sense for Microsoft, Yahoo! and the market as a whole. Our goal in pursuing a combination with Yahoo! was to provide greater choice and innovation in the marketplace and create real value for our respective stockholders and employees,” said Steve Ballmer, chief executive officer of Microsoft.

Microsoft Yahoo logos.“Despite our best efforts, including raising our bid by roughly $5 billion, Yahoo! has not moved toward accepting our offer. After careful consideration, we believe the economics demanded by Yahoo! do not make sense for us, and it is in the best interests of Microsoft stockholders, employees and other stakeholders to withdraw our proposal,” said Ballmer.

“We have a talented team in place and a compelling plan to grow our business through innovative new services and strategic transactions with other business partners. While Yahoo! would have accelerated our strategy, I am confident that we can continue to move forward toward our goals,” Ballmer said.

“We are investing heavily in new tools and Web experiences, we have dramatically improved our search performance and advertiser satisfaction, and we will continue to build our scale through organic growth and partnerships,” said Kevin Johnson, Microsoft president for platforms and services.

Below is the text of the letter from Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer to Yahoo! CEO Jerry Yang.

May 3, 2008

Mr. Jerry Yang
CEO and Chief Yahoo
Yahoo! Inc.
701 First Avenue
Sunnyvale, CA 94089

Dear Jerry:

After over three months, we have reached the conclusion of the process regarding a possible combination of Microsoft and Yahoo!.

I first want to convey my personal thanks to you, your management team, and Yahoo!’s Board of Directors for your consideration of our proposal. I appreciate the time and attention all of you have given to this matter, and I especially appreciate the time that you have invested personally. I feel that our discussions this week have been particularly useful, providing me for the first time with real clarity on what is and is not possible.

I am disappointed that Yahoo! has not moved towards accepting our offer. I first called you with our offer on January 31 because I believed that a combination of our two companies would have created real value for our respective shareholders and would have provided consumers, publishers, and advertisers with greater innovation and choice in the marketplace. Our decision to offer a 62 percent premium at that time reflected the strength of these convictions.

In our conversations this week, we conveyed our willingness to raise our offer to $33.00 per share, reflecting again our belief in this collective opportunity. This increase would have added approximately another $5 billion of value to your shareholders, compared to the current value of our initial offer. It also would have reflected a premium of over 70 percent compared to the price at which your stock closed on January 31. Yet it has proven insufficient, as your final position insisted on Microsoft paying yet another $5 billion or more, or at least another $4 per share above our $33.00 offer.

Also, after giving this week’s conversations further thought, it is clear to me that it is not sensible for Microsoft to take our offer directly to your shareholders. This approach would necessarily involve a protracted proxy contest and eventually an exchange offer. Our discussions with you have led us to conclude that, in the interim, you would take steps that would make Yahoo! undesirable as an acquisition for Microsoft.

We regard with particular concern your apparent planning to respond to a “hostile” bid by pursuing a new arrangement that would involve or lead to the outsourcing to Google of key paid Internet search terms offered by Yahoo! today. In our view, such an arrangement with the dominant search provider would make an acquisition of Yahoo! undesirable to us for a number of reasons:

  • First, it would fundamentally undermine Yahoo!’s own strategy and long-term viability by encouraging advertisers to use Google as opposed to your Panama paid search system.  This would also fragment your search advertising and display advertising strategies and the ecosystem surrounding them.  This would undermine the reliance on your display advertising business to fuel future growth.
  • Given this, it would impair Yahoo’s ability to retain the talented engineers working on advertising systems that are important to our interest in a combination of our companies.
  • In addition, it would raise a host of regulatory and legal problems that no acquirer, including Microsoft, would want to inherit.  Among other things, this would consolidate market share with the already-dominant paid search provider in a manner that would reduce competition and choice in the marketplace.
  • This would also effectively enable Google to set the prices for key search terms on both their and your search platforms and, in the process, raise prices charged to advertisers on Yahoo.  In addition to whatever resulting legal problems, this seems unwise from a business perspective unless in fact one simply wishes to use this as a vehicle to exit the paid search business in favor of Google.
  • It could foreclose any chance of a combination with any other search provider that is not already relying on Google’s search services.

Accordingly, your apparent plan to pursue such an arrangement in the event of a proxy contest or exchange offer leads me to the firm decision not to pursue such a path. Instead, I hereby formally withdraw Microsoft’s proposal to acquire Yahoo!.

We will move forward and will continue to innovate and grow our business at Microsoft with the talented team we have in place and potentially through strategic transactions with other business partners.

I still believe even today that our offer remains the only alternative put forward that provides your stockholders full and fair value for their shares. By failing to reach an agreement with us, you and your stockholders have left significant value on the table.

But clearly a deal is not to be.

Thank you again for the time we have spent together discussing this.

Sincerely yours,
/s/ Steven A. Ballmer

Steven A. Ballmer
Chief Executive Officer
Microsoft Corporation

About Microsoft

Microsoft LogoFounded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

This release does not constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy any securities or a solicitation of any vote or approval. This material is not a substitute for the prospectus/proxy statement Microsoft Corporation would file with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) if an agreement between Microsoft Corporation and Yahoo! Inc. is reached or any other documents which Microsoft Corporation may file with the SEC and send to Yahoo! stockholders in connection with the proposed transaction. INVESTORS AND SECURITY HOLDERS OF YAHOO! INC. ARE URGED TO READ ANY SUCH DOCUMENTS FILED WITH THE SEC CAREFULLY IN THEIR ENTIRETY WHEN THEY BECOME AVAILABLE BECAUSE THEY WILL CONTAIN IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT THE PROPOSED TRANSACTION.

Investors and security holders will be able to obtain free copies of any documents filed with the SEC by Microsoft Corporation through the web site maintained by the SEC at http://www.sec.gov. Free copies of any such documents can also be obtained by directing a request to Investor Relations Department, Microsoft Corporation, One Microsoft Way, Redmond, Washington 98052-6399.

Microsoft Corporation and its directors and executive officers and other persons may be deemed to be participants in the solicitation of proxies in respect of the proposed transaction. Information regarding Microsoft Corporation’s directors and executive officers is available in its Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended June 30, 2007, which was filed with the SEC on August 3, 2007, and its proxy statement for its 2007 annual meeting of stockholders, which was filed with the SEC on September 21, 2007. Other information regarding the participants in a proxy solicitation and a description of their direct and indirect interests, by security holdings or otherwise, will be contained in any proxy statement filed in connection with the proposed transaction.

Statements in this release that are “forward-looking statements” are based on current expectations and assumptions that are subject to risks and uncertainties. Actual results could differ materially because of factors such as Microsoft Corporation’s ability to achieve the synergies and value creation contemplated by the proposed transaction, Microsoft Corporation’s ability to promptly and effectively integrate the businesses of Yahoo! Inc. and Microsoft Corporation, the timing to consummate the proposed transaction and any necessary actions to obtain required regulatory approvals, and the diversion of management time on transaction-related issues. For further information regarding risks and uncertainties associated with Microsoft Corporation’s business, please refer to the “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and “Risk Factors” sections of Microsoft Corporation’s SEC filings, including, but not limited to, its annual report on Form 10-K and quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, copies of which may be obtained by contacting Microsoft Corporation’s Investor Relations department at (800) 285-7772 or at Microsoft Corporation’s website at http://www.microsoft.com/msft.

All information in this release is as of May 3, 2008. Microsoft Corporation undertakes no duty to update any forward-looking statement to conform the statement to actual results or changes in the company’s expectations.

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Whirlpool Corporation today announced that it has taken aggressive, new legal steps against LG Electronics Inc., of South Korea, and its U.S. and Mexican affiliates.
Whirlpool Corporation Logo

Whirlpool has asserted four additional patents against LG in an action pending in Delaware district court. Whirlpool Corporation’s claims in that action state that several LG-manufactured refrigerator products imported into the U.S. infringe on these additional patents. Whirlpool is asking for injunctive relief and monetary damages in the matter.

The patents safeguard proprietary technologies associated with product reliability, performance and quality, including:

  • Structure and stability of the refrigerator interior;
  • Quality and performance of ice dispenser; and
  • Food storage features.

“Whirlpool Corporation is again taking aggressive legal steps to vigorously protect our proprietary products and technologies from infringement,” said Phillip Pejovich, vice president, refrigeration, Whirlpool Corporation North America Region.

Whirlpool Corporation is the world’s leading manufacturer and marketer of major home appliances, with annual sales of approximately $19 billion, more than 73,000 employees, and more than 70 manufacturing and technology research centers around the world. The company markets Whirlpool, Maytag, KitchenAid, Jenn-Air, Amana, Brastemp, Bauknecht and other major brand names to consumers in nearly every country around the world. Additional information about the company can be found at http://www.whirlpoolcorp.com.

Additional Information: This document contains forward-looking statements that speak only as of this date. Whirlpool disclaims any obligation to update these statements. Forward-looking statements in this document may include, but are not limited to, statements regarding expected earnings per share, cash flow, productivity and material and oil-related prices. Many risks, contingencies and uncertainties could cause actual results to differ materially from Whirlpool Corporation’s forward-looking statements. Among these factors are:

  1. Intense competition in the home appliance industry reflecting the impact of both new and established global competitors, including Asian and European manufacturers;
  2. Whirlpool’s ability to continue its strong relationship with Sears Holding Corporation in North America (accounting for approximately 12% of Whirlpool’s 2007 consolidated net sales of $19.4 billion) and other significant trade customers, and the ability of these trade customers to maintain or increase market share;
  3. (Changes in economic conditions, including the strength of the U.S. building industry and the level of interest rates;
  4. The ability of Whirlpool to achieve its business plans, productivity improvements, cost control, leveraging of its global operating platform, and acceleration of the rate of innovation;
  5. Fluctuations in the cost of key materials (including steel, oil, plastic, resins, copper and zinc) and components and the ability of Whirlpool to offset cost increases;
  6. The ability of suppliers of critical parts, components and manufacturing equipment to deliver sufficient quantities to Whirlpool in a timely and cost-effective manner;
  7. Our ability to attract, develop and retain executives and other qualified employees;
  8. Health care cost trends and regulatory changes that could increase future funding obligations for pension and post retirement benefit plans;
  9. The cost of compliance with environmental and health and safety regulations;
  10. Litigation including product liability and product defect claims;
  11. The impact of labor relations;
  12. Whirlpool’s ability to obtain and protect intellectual property rights;
  13. The ability of Whirlpool to manage foreign currency fluctuations; and
  14. Global, political and/or economic uncertainty and disruptions, especially in Whirlpool’s significant geographic regions, including uncertainty and disruptions arising from natural disasters or terrorist attacks. Additional information concerning these and other factors can be found in Whirlpool Corporation’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including the most recent annual report on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, and current reports on Form 8-K.

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