Microsoft Error Overcharges Advertisers by the Hundreds

Dennis Faas's picture

Microsoft Corp. has announced that they have fixed a glitch in their online advertising platform that has cost a number of individuals high and unnecessary amounts of money. Merchants complained that they had been charged hundreds, and in some cases, thousands of dollars due to Microsoft's error.

In a statement on one of its online blogs, representatives at Microsoft recognized the defect and admitted that the glitch in their online adCenter service had pushed up their "cost per click" rates. (Source:

The "cost per click" rates are essentially the fee that advertisers pay Microsoft each time an end-user clicks on one of their advertisement banners.

Users quickly began noticing that they were being overcharged for the ads they clicked on and filled several message boards to vent their frustration. On one particular message board, found on the WebMasterWorld website, users had initially documented that they were being overcharged by 1 or 2 dollars, but soon after, users were reporting figures in the hundreds. (Source:

One user announced that he was overcharged $900 for one single click.

James Krewson, owner of, admitted that he noticed the problem almost instantaneously. The night of the glitch, Krewson had secured a deal with Microsoft that would have seen him get charged 19 cents per click. After testing his ad by clicking on the banner four times, he noticed that his total reached $581.31. (Source:

Microsoft revealed their compensation efforts to all merchants affected by the mistake, saying that all advertiser accounts will be credited with the exact amount that they were overcharged.

Microsoft continues to apologize for the error.

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