Yesterday the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Squared Solutions reached an agreement regarding Squared Solutions business practices. Squared Solutions used Microsoft's Windows Messenger to sell pop-up blocking software to consumers (which would show up even if the user wasn't surfing the web). To put an end to this a federal judge halted all operations of the San Diego based company in November 2003. For those who don't know Microsoft's Windows Messenger was a feature built to allow network administrators to communicate with others on the network.
The FTC claimed that Squared Solutions practices violated the U.S. consumer protection law. According to the settlement Squared Solutions is not allowed to send pop-up ads through Windows Messenger Service, and surprisingly enough there will be no financial penalties. It wasn't just the pop-up ads that gave users headaches. No, in most cases it caused applications to freeze up, computer crashes, and caused users to lose data.
It's good to see that FTC is tackling new areas like pop-up ads, but I personally would have liked to see this company get fined. If their little business tactic caused my computer to crash, or even lost important data I'd want payback. With the way lawsuits are now a days I wouldn't be surprised if Squared Solutions did get sued. Most likely by a group of angry consumers.
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