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DoubleClick Faces Class Action Suit Over Misleading Internet Ads

by Glen Shapiro, LawAndTax-News.com, New York

29 July 2003


Delaware-based DoubleClick has found itself facing a class action lawsuit over deceptive banner advertisements designed to mimic computer error messages, it emerged last week.

Appearing as fake user interfaces such as drop-down menus, search boxes, and error messages, the ads were designed to trick internet users into clicking their way onto the commercial websites of DoubleClick's clients, legal representative for the plantiffs, Stanley Ference revealed. In its complaint, Ference & Associates expanded on this, suggesting that

'Defendants’ deceptive business tactics temporarily commandeered users’ computers and computer systems, deprived users of their intended use of their computers, interfered with their use of their property, invaded the legally protected interests of users, wrongfully intruded into the consumer users’ right of association and right of privacy, and caused users to incur both costs and expenses, including injury to business and property.'

The law firm went on to reveal that DoubleClick served more than 630 billion advertisements on the internet last year, and that revenue generated - including that derived from the misleading adverts in question - came to more than $300 million.

Speaking with regard to the case last week, Mr Ference observed that:

'Users of deceptive business practices are employing the internet to deceive millions of people around the world. A business practice prohibited in your local community does not become acceptable because it is used on the internet to deceive millions of people.'

The class action requests that DoubleClick be prohibited from using this kind of advertising in the future, and calls for punitive damages of $500 per class member, in addition to $5 compensation for each misleading advert.


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