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Suing The Adware Vendors: Direct Revenue

 
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TeMerc
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2005 4:26 pm    Post subject: Suing The Adware Vendors: Direct Revenue Reply with quote

From Eric Howes in this DSLR thread:

Quote:
Early word of a class action law suit filed against Direct Revenue emerged today:

http://www.courtbriefs.com/PDF_Files/CCCOOK05CH05883CA.pdf

See also the front page of this site (which could change) for a plain text summary:

http://www.courtbriefs.com/

From the summary:


said by CourtBriefs.com:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Summary:
A class action lawsuit claims that the Defendants are involved in installing "spyware" on millions of computers without the computer owners' consent, utilizing it to track the Internet browsing habits of the owners and then send them intrusive targeted "pop-up" ads. Plaintiff Stephen Sotelo, individually and on behalf of all persons similarly situated, sues Directrevenue, LLC, DirectRevenue Holdings, LLC, Betterinternet, LLC, Byron Udell & Associates, Inc., d/b/a Accuquote, aQuantive, Inc., and John Does 1-100.

The Complaint claims that the Defendants, who are allegedly either members or advertising supporters of the Internet "spyware" industry, have unlawfully used and damaged many individuals' computers to make money for themselves, while willfully disregarding the computer owners' rights to use and enjoy their personal property.

Defendant DirectRevenue allegedly deceptively downloaded "harmful and offensive" spyware to the Plaintiffs' computers which tracked their Internet use, invaded their privacy and damaged their computers. Relying on DirectRevenue's spyware as the key to getting inside Plaintiffs' computers and learning their Internet browsing habits, Defendants Aquantive and AccuQuote allegedly bombard the Plaintiffs' computers with intrusive advertisements. (...)

DirectRevenue allegedly engages in "uniformly deceptive misconduct" to secretly install its software onto consumers' computers. It allegedly bundles its spyware into other legitimate software which is available to be downloaded for "free" on the Internet, such as a video game. When the consumer installs that "free" game, he or she allegedly simultaneously (but unknowingly) downloads DirectRevenue spyware bundled into the game being downloaded, without consenting to the installation of that software.

The Defendant then allegedly bombard users' computers with ads that constantly "pop up" over whatever web page a user is viewing. The ads are allegedly sent in a manner that breaches the security of affected computers through bypassing commonly-used "pop-up" blocker software, designed to stop ads like those sent by the Defendants. The Complaint quotes an estimate by Newsweek magazine that DirectRevenue may have as many as 1.5 billion advertising impressions (i.e., pop-ups) per month. If a computer infected with the spyware is viewing music-related Internet sites, the spyware sends a signal of such activity back to DirectRevenue, which then allegedly targets the computer user with advertisements from competing music companies.

Some of these ads allegedly deceptively give the user the appearance that there is a "Security Alert" being sent by the user's computer itself or from Microsoft Windows, which states that "Spy Software may be installed in your Computer." DirectRevenue allegedly claims access to 12 million computers in the U.S.

The spyware allegedly destroys other software programs on a computer, and it and the ads send allegedly cause computers to slow down, take up bandwidth over an Internet connection, use up memory on a computer, utilize pixels and screen space on monitors, and frustrate computer users. The software and po-up ads allegedly decrease productivity by requiring that hours be spent figuring out how to get them off of a computer, closing ads, and waiting for a slower machine to operate.

Class action status is sought on behalf of all persons or entities who had BetterInternet install spyware on their computers located in Illinois on or after April 1, 2002 and who had advertisements sent to their computers as a result. (...)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

If and when more information becomes available, I or others will post it.

Best,

Eric L. Howes

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Chao284
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2005 9:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

*sighs*

Just when the latest VX2 virant that installs other adware and one that damages it, we get another lawsuit, now I am beggening to see that they are becomming more decitive then the CWS virants, and that some of the trojans will probbly rely on VX2 to do the dirty work on this, no dout I would say burn the building down if they won't stop complaining.
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OldOnliner
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 06, 2005 4:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another report on this lawsuit:

http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=1738&u=/zd/20050405/tc_zd/149231&printer=1

Quote:

Spyware Lawsuit Alleges Computer Hijacking
Tue Apr 5,11:15 AM ET
Karen D. Schwartz - eWEEK

A recently filed class-action lawsuit against alleged spyware king DirectRevenue of New York claims that the company has deceptively downloaded harmful and offensive spyware to unsuspecting users' computers.

The suit, filed in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois, alleges that DirectRevenue LLC "unlawfully used and damaged plaintiffs' computers to make money for themselves while willfully disregarding plaintiffs' rights to use and enjoy their personal property."

According to the suit, the spyware infiltrated users' computers to learn their Internet browsing habits and track their Internet use.

Further, the suit contends that DirectRevenue deceptively prevents users from removing its spyware, overwhelming computers with unsolicited advertisements.

DirectRevenue's business model is to pay independent distributors—often small companies that dropped out of the spam business or that develop peer-to-peer file sharing or screensavers—several cents per installation to install its software.

"Those guys love to bundle additional software that tracks what people are doing," said Benjamin Edelman, a researcher studying spyware and a Ph.D. candidate at Harvard University.

"Sometimes we see that the affiliates that sign up design software that exploits security holes in Windows and Internet Explorer, and so as you are surfing a Web page, it installs the DirectRevenue software."

Sometimes, Edelman said, the way the company goes about its business is downright offensive.

In one video Edelman made last month, a DirectRevenue ad on Yahooligans, a children's Web site, showed an American Express ad, while the Cartoon Network's Web site showed a gambling ad.
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TeMerc
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 06, 2005 7:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

From eweek:

Spyware Lawsuit Alleges Computer Hijacking

By Karen D. Schwartz
April 5, 2005

A recently filed class-action lawsuit against alleged spyware king DirectRevenue of New York claims that the company has deceptively downloaded harmful and offensive spyware to unsuspecting users' computers.

The suit, filed in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois, alleges that DirectRevenue LLC "unlawfully used and damaged plaintiffs' computers to make money for themselves while willfully disregarding plaintiffs' rights to use and enjoy their personal property."

According to the suit, the spyware infiltrated users' computers to learn their Internet browsing habits and track their Internet use.

Further, the suit contends that DirectRevenue deceptively prevents users from removing its spyware, overwhelming computers with unsolicited advertisements.

DirectRevenue's business model is to pay independent distributors—often small companies that dropped out of the spam business or that develop peer-to-peer file sharing or screensavers—several cents per installation to install its software.

Full Read @eWeek
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suzi
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 06, 2005 9:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had this email from David J. Fish, the attorney who filed the complaint against DirectRevenue:

Quote:
A law firm is investigating claims of pop-up advertisements containing files with the following names: Ceres, BestOffers, BetterInternet, LocalNRD, MSView, MultiMPP, MXTarget, OfferOptimizer, or Twaintec. If you would like to report your experience with these files, email:
dfish @ collinslaw.com


It's not too late to contact Mr. Fish. (Email address made non-clickable due to spam bots.)
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2005 3:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll have to see if I saved the log from yesterday's box...if I still have it I'll send an e to him.
I know this one showed, plus others...randreco.exe right on desktop!
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80-yr old lady on a dial-up...uses the machine for email (Win98, never been cleaned!)
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Busymom
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 07, 2005 5:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It is still not too late to contact this firm! I sent an email yesterday and received a prompt reply.

The class action lawsuit is only for Illinois residents at this time. Since I live in NJ, I am not eligible to be included, but Mr. Fish was eager for the details of my problems. He asked me if I was willing to sign a statement describing my problems and I agreed.

The more people who take an active position in cases like this, the more likely something will be done about it!
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Chao284
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 07, 2005 10:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Busymom wrote:
It is still not too late to contact this firm! I sent an email yesterday and received a prompt reply.

The class action lawsuit is only for Illinois residents at this time. Since I live in NJ, I am not eligible to be included, but Mr. Fish was eager for the details of my problems. He asked me if I was willing to sign a statement describing my problems and I agreed.

The more people who take an active position in cases like this, the more likely something will be done about it!


Illinois my butt, I feel that other states need to be involved, I mean look at it this way, we have 3 other adware/spyware venders up here in Washington State, yet only being involved in this lawsuit only makes those companies want to sue Adaware or Spybot S&D because they have no right to blacklist them, and that would get VX2 involved as well knowing some of the compaines up there apparnetly would with Abetterinternet on this stuff, and I feel I am going to be sick if other vendors get involed here.
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Nick
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 20, 2005 7:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So is there any news about this? Been awhile since the last post.
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Nick
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 11, 2006 8:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It appears that there was a settlement last month in this case.

http://publications.mediapost.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=Articles.san&s=41054&Nid=19103&p=211448

Some of the settlement conditions include providing a 1-800 number where people can get uninstall instructions, clearly marking any promotions as advertisements, destroying any personal information collected, and refraining from collecting any personal information such as Social Security numbers in the future. Most importantly, the company will ensure that people are clearly agreeing to any software installs from them.

This is a different case than the current suit by New York State against Direct Revenue.
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