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Social Gaming Gets Litigious: Zynga Sues Playdom Over Mafia Wars Ads

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The social gaming boom has resulted in a legal spat between two of its biggest players: Zynga is suing rival Playdom over the way Playdom is advertising one of its games. Zynga claims that Playdom is misleading players with ads that compare its Mobsters to Zynga’s Mafia Wars game; it wants Playdom to take down the ads, pay damages — and even run new ads that make the distinction between the two games (and companies) clear. first reported on the filing, which we’ve embedded after the jump.

Neither company responded to requests for comment, but details from the filing show why this is about much more than just ad copy: Zynga claims that it’s losing out on traffic — and ultimately revenues — because Playdom’s Mobsters ads are luring people that might otherwise be playing Mafia Wars. And since companies like Zynga and Playdom need scale (in the millions of users) if they want to make money from virtual goods sales and performance ads, any player attrition or churn could have a significant negative impact on the bottom line.

Playdom, which recently brought in EA and Ticketmaster vet John Pleasants as its CEO, was founded in early 2008; the company hasn’t raised funding yet. Zynga was founded in 2007 and has raised about $39 million from backers like Union Square Ventures, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Foundry Group.

Zynga Lawsuit

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