New York Sues L.A. Adware Firm

LOS ANGELES – InterMix Media, a six-year-old adware placement company, is calling a suit filed by New York Attorney General Elliott Spitzer inappropriate, saying its evidence is inaccurate and outdated.

Spitzer’s Internet Bureau accused InterMix of disseminating spyware via popup and toolbar programs. The civil suit employs General Business Law provisions against false advertising as well as New York Common Law rules barring trespass, as the ads appear unsolicited.

InterMix, which claims to be the third most visited entertainment network on the Internet, is headed by executives with management experience at e-tailers iMall and Buy,com. Formerly known as eUniverse, InterMix also owns the popular community sites eUniverse and MySpace.com. The company denies collecting personal information about computer users or broadcasting information about them. The adware programs “simply do not ‘spy’ on consumer Internet activity,” claimed a company press release.

Spitzer’s office disagrees. The suit, filed after a six-month investigation, alleges that the InterMix toolbar and popup software slows computer use, creates a nuisance and often comes with dubious licensing information and unspecific or absent uninstall capabilities that thwart removal of the programs.

Spitzer’s crackdown on Internet Annoyance is being compared on many blogs to former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani’s campaign against smoking and dirty taxicabs in the 1990s.

According to Spitzer’s office, “The suit against Intermix Media, Inc. is the most sweeping case to date involving programs that redirect web addresses, add toolbars and deliver pop-up ads.”

A spokesperson for InterMix did not immediately return calls from XBiz for this article, but issued a statement indicating its willingness to cooperate with the office of the Attorney General while denying wrongdoing.

"Intermix does not promote or condone spyware, and remains committed to putting this legacy issue behind it as soon as practicable," the statement said. "We expect to continue our discussions with the New York Attorney General’s Office and are still hopeful of reaching an appropriate and amicable resolution."