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Marketer behind pop-up ads to pay $1.5-million penalty

February 17, 2007|From the Associated Press

WASHINGTON — A company that caused Internet pop-up ads to appear on consumers' computers has agreed to pay $1.5 million to settle charges brought by the Federal Trade Commission, the agency said Friday.

The FTC charged that New York-based Direct Revenue and its four principals illegally downloaded advertising software, or adware, onto consumers' computers and made it difficult to locate and remove.

The case is the latest in a recent crackdown on adware companies by the FTC, which announced three settlements in November including a $3-million penalty levied against Zango Inc., formerly 180solutions.

The FTC said Friday that Direct Revenue offered consumers free content, such as screensavers and games, and included its adware with the applications without adequate notice. The software tracked consumers' Internet use and served them targeted ads, the FTC said.

The settlement bars Direct Revenue from downloading its adware without consumers' consent and requires the company to establish easy ways to remove the software from their computers. The agency also required the company to surrender the $1.5 million as ill-gotten gains.

Stuart Friedel, counsel for Direct Revenue, blamed third-party distributors of the company's software for running afoul of the FTC's rules. He said the company stopped using the distributors in 2006.

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