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EBay 'Cookie Stuffer' Gets Six Months In Prison

By John Letzing A Las Vegas man found to have defrauded eBay Inc. (EBAY) by selling a program used to insert code in computers and draw unwarranted referral payments from the online retail giant has been sentenced to six months in prison. Christopher Kennedy was also ordered to pay eBay, of San Jose, Calif., about $408,000 in restitution, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office in San Francisco. According to the U.S. attorney's office, Mr. Kennedy sold a program for most of 2009 that would "stuff" cookies, or code, into computers and thereby trick eBay into paying undeserved referral fees. By having the cookies on a computer, it would make it appear as though the computer's user was participating actively in eBay's Partner Network program, which would pay sites for displaying eBay ads and referring users to eBay's online auction service. However, such cookie stuffing would unfairly credit a site for purchases made on eBay without it having actually driven Internet traffic to eBay. EBay shares closed Tuesday up 2.4% at $43.50. Write to John Letzing at john.letzing@dowjones.com

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