Feeds

Online advertiser pays $200,000 for deceptive claims

When 'free' isn't free

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual 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. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
You really need to do some tech support for Aunty Agnes
Free anti-virus software, expires, stops updating and p0wns the world
Regin: The super-spyware the security industry has been silent about
NSA fingered as likely source of complex malware family
You stupid BRICK! PCs running Avast AV can't handle Windows fixes
Fix issued, fingers pointed, forums in flames
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
HACKERS can DELETE SURVEILLANCE DVRS remotely – report
Hikvision devices wide open to hacking, claim securobods
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Designing and building an open ITOA architecture
Learn about a new IT data taxonomy defined by the four data sources of IT visibility: wire, machine, agent, and synthetic data sets.
5 critical considerations for enterprise cloud backup
Key considerations when evaluating cloud backup solutions to ensure adequate protection security and availability of enterprise data.
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?