Forum latest tied to more dubious marketing tactics
Written by Daniel   
Monday, 15 March 2010 18:02

From C/Net News tied to more dubious marketing tactics

Social-networking site, is once again accused of misleading consumers.
At a time when and parent company United Online are already mixed up in a congressional investigation, is attempting to settle a lawsuit that accuses the company of sending e-mails that duped users into believing the messages had come from old high school chums.

E-mail recipients only learned the truth after paying for upgrades to their membership, according to court documents. In a court filing, has agreed to pay $9.5 million to settle the suit but did not admit any wrongdoing. The blog broke the story.

According to, is also being sued separately for making user profiles public in a bid to compete with Facebook. A spokesman did not respond to an interview request.

By all appearances, is a company that should be triggering plenty of questions among regulators and lawmakers. The U.S. Senate Commerce committee is the most likely body to look into the matter.

Led by Sen. John "Jay" Rockefeller (D-W.V.), the Commerce committee last fall launched an investigation into post-transaction marketing firms, Vertrue, Webloyalty, and Affinion. These companies would pay retailers, such as, Priceline, Continental Airlines, for the ability to "market" to their customers.

When a buyer was nearing the end of a transaction, the marketing company presented pop-up ads that the government said misled consumers into signing up for membership programs as the full terms were obscured in fine print within the ads. These companies then charged the users' credit cards each month. Many people have complained that they didn't notice the charges on their statements for months. [More...] [Comments...]



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