Fayetteville, NC (PressExposure) October 15, 2007 -- North Carolina based corporation Advanced Internet Technologies - AIT (www.AIT.com) filed a lawsuit against Fayetteville Publishing Company â FPC (www.fayettevillenc.com & http://www.fayobserver.com) and Paul Woolverton, a reporter for FPC, as well as several John Does. The complaint alleged that Mr. Woolverton and others, on behalf of FPC, were the authors of false and defamatory publications concerning AIT and its employees posted via the websites aitsucks.com and aitsucks.net. As part of a litigation settlement in a separate matter, AIT obtained possession and all ownership rights to these websites and their respective server logs. During the process of reviewing and analyzing the websites and server logs, AIT determined that as many as seven different authors posted false and defamatory comments concerning AIT using a unique IP Address owned by FPC.
AIT officials believe that the defamatory postings were in retaliation to a Click Fraud complaint filed with law enforcement as well as a lawsuit filed against FPC. The complaint alleged that FPC committed online Click Fraud against local, classified and national advertisers. AIT asserted FPC inflated its web traffic to its website with the sole intent to drive up the number of impressions and clicks so it could charge advertisers more money. Scott Boyenger, CEO for Click Defense, a company specializing in combating click fraud and obtaining refunds for clients independently confirmed log files related to the Click Fraud lawsuit filed by AIT against FPC. âWe received the logs from Web hosting company AIT, and it appeared to us that this traffic is repetitive and manufactured,â Boyenger said. âThe type of click fraud alleged in this lawsuit is new and very clever,â Boyenger said. âThe traffic patterns and IP addresses blend with the ISPâs address space and make it appear like legitimate traffic.
Until recently, AIT placed the criminal complaint on hold in hopes that an amicable settlement would be reached with FPC. AIT has appealed a recent decision by the court to dismiss its charges claiming that it produced over 60,000 pages of evidence and days of depositions while FPC produced nothing. âThe case was never tried and a jury never got to see the evidence,â said Clarence Briggs, CEO of AIT. âA total of 12 invoices that they billed us with were allegedly filed a few days after the discovery deadline. This is a very disappointing decision. We will not be bullied nor intimidated into allowing this wrong to go unchallenged.â AIT officials stated that they have resumed the criminal investigation to include possible allegations of public corruption.
On September 14, 2007, AIT filed a motion for a Temporary Restraining Order requesting the court to intervene because it believed FPC was spoiling or destroying the evidence on the servers even though litigation is ongoing. The motion alleges the concern arose because FPC asserted that it was under no obligation to preserve the evidence. However, the transcripts of the court proceedings that returned the web servers to FPC indicate that FPC agreed to preserve the servers as evidence until the case and appeals were concluded. âWe sealed those servers to protect the evidence for the click fraud lawsuit and criminal investigation and now they are evidence for this defamation lawsuit,â said Briggs.
AIT is the company that led the class action lawsuit against Google in 2005 where Google settled the case for $90 million with the class of online advertisers. âThrough the discovery process, we learned that FPC may be a Google affiliate,â said Briggs. AIT worked with the FBI and Senate Judiciary Committee regarding Click Fraud and its potential ties to funding organized crime and terrorism. âI have just returned from Washington, DC again as well as Raleigh discussing this issue with various officials,â said Briggs. AIT started the Click Fraud portal [http://www.igeryon.org] as a non-profit clearing house to address the issue. The original complaint filed by AIT against FPC is located there along with extensive documentation about Click Fraud.