Feeds

Online advertiser pays $200,000 for deceptive claims

When 'free' isn't free

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Remote control for virtualized desktops

An online advertiser that falsely claimed consumers had won free prizes has agreed to pay a $200,000 penalty to the Federal Trade Commission, which says the outfit failed to disclose that people had to spend money first.

Member Source Media, which operated under names such as ConsumerGain-dot-com, PremiumPerks-dot-com and FreeRetailRewards-dot-com, also agreed to disclosure the costs and obligations to qualify for any future incentives it may offer.

According to the FTC, the company and its principal, Chris Sommer, violated the federal CAN-SPAM act and other laws that bar deceptive advertisements. The company sent emails bearing subjects such as "Congratulations. You've won an iPod Video Player" and "Nascar Tickets Package Winner." Web-based ads contained statements such as "CONGRATULATIONS! You Have Been Chosen To Receive a FREE GATEWAY LAPTOP."

More savvy readers probably know where all of this is heading. End users hadn't "won" anything at all. To collect their winnings, consumers had to page through reams of other offers and then participate in other promotions that, among other things, required them to buy products, subscribe to a satellite television service and apply for multiple credit cards.

The settlement, which is still subject to court approval, also requires the company to open its financial records to regulators for monitoring. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Webcam hacker pervs in MASS HOME INVASION
You thought you were all alone? Nope – change your password, says ICO
You really need to do some tech support for Aunty Agnes
Free anti-virus software, expires, stops updating and p0wns the world
Meet OneRNG: a fully-open entropy generator for a paranoid age
Kiwis to seek random investors for crowd-funded randomiser
USB coding anarchy: Consider all sticks licked
Thumb drive design ruled by almighty buck
Attack reveals 81 percent of Tor users but admins call for calm
Cisco Netflow a handy tool for cheapskate attackers
Privacy bods offer GOV SPY VICTIMS a FREE SPYWARE SNIFFER
Looks for gov malware that evades most antivirus
Patch NOW! Microsoft slings emergency bug fix at Windows admins
Vulnerability promotes lusers to domain overlords ... oops
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Website security in corporate America
Find out how you rank among other IT managers testing your website's vulnerabilities.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.