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A class action suit has been filed in Spokane County Washington against Bonzi Software, the maker of the fake error message banner ads you have all seen thousands of times.

The law firm orchestrating the action is called Lukins and Annis. And here is the nub of its Bonzi scheme:

A nationwide class action lawsuit was filed on November 25, 2002, in the Superior Court of Spokane County against Bonzi Software, Inc. Bonzi is among the world’s most prolific issuers of internet advertising banners. Bonzi’s website has been ranked as one of the most frequently visited websites in the world.

The class action complaint alleges that Bonzi deceptively and fraudulently commandeered millions of internet users to Bonzi's commercial websites through dissemination of tens-of-millions of fraudulent internet advertising banners that impersonated computer error messages. The Complaint states that through use of such Fake User Interface ("FUI") dialogs that gave the false appearance of being computer error messages, Bonzi tricked millions of internet users into interrupting the work they were performing to respond to the fraudulent error message, only to unexpectedly find both computer and computer user thus hijacked to defendants' commercial website.

Bootnote

FUI Fake user interface. GIF advertisements that have phony interface elements (search boxes, pulldown menus, input fields, et cetera) to trick you into clicking on them. Not to be confused with TFUI (touch-and-feel user interface), a gimmick used by a porn CD-ROM publisher.

The above definition appeared in a 1998 Jargon Watch column in Wired. ®

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