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Fayetteville Observer Suspected of Destroying Evidence of Click Fraud

09-25-2007 07:10 PM CET | Industry, Real Estate & Construction

Press release from: Advanced Internet Technologies, Inc.

(Fayetteville NC) In 2005 and 2006, web hosting company AIT (AIT.com) filed an FBI criminal complaint and lawsuit against Fayetteville Publishing Company (FPC) in Cumberland County, NC alleging that the local Fayetteville Observer, fayettevillenc.com / fayobserver.com or Fayetteville Publishing Company (FPC) of committing online Click Fraud against its local, classified and national advertisers by inflating its web traffic to its website. The lawsuit alleged that the manufactured traffic's sole intent is to drive up the number of impressions and clicks so it could charge advertisers more money. AIT placed the criminal complaint on hold until recently. During the litigation, FPC servers were maintained by a third party until a court ruled that the servers be returned to FPC, who in turn agreed to preserve the servers in tact as evidence until the litigation between the parties was concluded.
On September 14th, 2007, AIT filed a TRO requesting the court to intervene and expressing concerns that FPC may have spoiled or destroyed the evidence on the servers even though litigation is still 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. Company officials at AIT indicate that they have reopened the FBI criminal investigation and have asked the FBI to intervene to protect the evidence on the FPC web servers.
AIT company officials also said that the day after FPC attorneys asserted they had no obligation to preserve the evidence, Paul Woolverton, a reporter from FPC, went to the Cumberland County Courthouse to obtain a copy of the transcripts from the hearing. “We have a copy of the document where Mr. Woolverton signed for the transcripts the day after attorneys from both sides discussed the issue,” said Clarence Briggs, CEO of AIT. “I find this very odd, considering that we have recently uncovered and expressed our concerns about FPC employees posting derogatory and libelous information on the web about AIT and its employees for the past several years, often anonymously. Of course, the same FPC web servers are involved here as well.”
AIT is the company that led the class action lawsuit against Google. AIT has also worked with the FBI and Senate Judiciary Committee regarding Click Fraud and its potential ties to funding organized crime and terrorism. “I have just returned from DC again discussing this issue with various officials,” said Briggs. “It is amazing that we produce over 60,000 pages of discovery and evidence and days of depositions to substantiate our allegations while FPC managed to produce very little in discovery. The primary thing we asked of them was to protect the core evidence maintained on the original web servers.” AIT started the Click Fraud portal www.igeryon.org as a non-profit clearing house to address the issue. The complaint filed by AIT against FPC is located there along with extensive documentation about Click Fraud.

Advanced Intenet Technologies, Inc.
421 Maiden Lane
Fayetteville, NC 28301
bkeaton@AIT.com
910-321-1247

AIT, Inc., is home to over 210,000 customers to include Fortune 500 companies as well as small businesses. AIT was founded in North Carolina and has grown into a multimillion dollar web hosting and technology company. From a garage start-up to a 93,000 SF headquarters, AIT has always been entrepreneurial and customer-centric. small businesses to larger clients like Time Warner, Microsoft, Newsweek, U.S. Federal Government, PC World, United Nations, Business Week, The Oakridge Boys, State of North Carolina, Department of Defense, Wall Street Journal, ZDNet, Pizza Hut, GOODYEAR, Smart Money, Discover Radio, and many more have benefited from AIT's products and services. The technology company has achieved 10 straight years of sustained profitability generating $100s of millions in revenue creating a profound influence on its surrounding community. AIT has created more than 236 IT jobs AIT has also been named 2 times to The Inc. 500 list of fast growing firms, 3 times to the Deloitte & Touche Fast 500 list, and has been named as the NC Entrepreneur Firm of the Year.

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