Wednesday, August 28, 2013
Last Update: 10:30 AM PT
Kids' Email Service Goes After Mass Spammers
By JONNY BONNER
SALT LAKE CITY (CN) - A "safe email" service for children claims in court that an online dating service and others spammed kids with 110,200 ads, some of them "explicit and profane," causing server crashes, damaged hardware and lost profits.
ZooBuh sued eight companies and two people, in Federal Court.
Named as defendants are Cupid PLC, emarketcoupons.com, FTD.com Inc., Lead Services Group Inc., Scoop Interactive LLC, Thompson and Company Inc., Triangle Media Corp., Zeus Media, and Micah Thompson and William Waggoner.
ZooBuh charges parents $1 a month for its safe-email service, through which parents can control and monitor their children's accounts.
Zoobuh claims the defendants began their spam attacks in January 2011.
ZooBuh filed a similar lawsuit against other defendants in June 2011. In that lawsuit, against Better Broadcasting LLC, its alter ego Iono Interactive, and California-based Envoy Media, the court ruled that ZooBuh was "a bona fide Internet access service and satisfies the first part of the standing test under the CAN-SPAM Act," Zoobuh claims in its new lawsuit.
CAN-SPAM stands for the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act.
In its new lawsuit, Zoobuh states: "From January 2011 to the date of this complaint, ZooBuh has received a total of approximately 110,211 electronic-mail messages sent and/or initiated by the defendants collectively, which independently and collectively caused significant adverse effect to ZooBuh and which independently and collectively, contributed to an overall spam problem which the court recognized in Better Broadcasting satisfied the second part of the standing test under CAN-SPAM for ZooBuh.
"In Better Broadcasting, the court stated 'the harm ZooBuh ... continues to suffer, as the result of its collective spam problem is much more significant than the mere annoyance of having to deal with spam or the process of dealing with spam in the ordinary course of business (i.e., installing a spam filter to flag and discard spam) ... ZooBuh is adversely affected by a collective spam problem, which includes the emails in question, and ... the second part of the standing test is satisfied.'"
Defendants in the new include an operator of multiple online dating websites, a floral service and tobacco sellers. Each is identified as a sender or initiator.
Defendant Cupid, of New York, owns and operates multiple high-volume online dating websites and, ZooBuh claims, is responsible for sending 2,248 of the emails in question.
"The Cupid plc emails were sent to minors under the age of 18 and contained advertisements for adult themed dating websites. Additionally, many of the subject headings used explicit and profane language inappropriate for the targeted recipients," the complaint states.
FTD.com, founded as Florists' Telegraph Delivery in 1910, and operating as Florists' Transworld Delivery, is a floral wire service, retailer and wholesaler based in Illinois. It sent 9,188 emails, ZooBuh claims.
Lead Services Group, a California-based marketing company, allegedly sent 1,126 unspecified emails.
Scoop Interactive, also of California, claims to operate "numerous websites focused on the insurance and credit verticals." It sent 7,317 unspecified emails, ZooBuh says.
Thompson and Company, of Florida, sent 3,841 emails containing ads for cigars and other smoking products, the complaint states.
Zoobuh says Triangle Media, of Delaware, sent 622 similar emails.
Zeus Media, a web marketing and development company of California, initiated 31,700 unspecified emails.
Waggoner and Thompson initiated 46,113 and 5,883 unspecified emails, respectively, ZooBuh claims.
Emarketcoupons.com is not described in the complaint. Its web address, checked Tuesday, yielded a dead page. The company sent 2,173 of the emails, ZooBuh claims.
"As the result of the receipt of the emails message that violate CAN-SPAM, including the receipt of the emails at issue herein, which, in significant part, also violate CAN-SPAM, ZooBuh has suffered harm in the form of the following: financial expense and burden; lost time; lost profitability; decreases in the life span of ZooBuh's hardware; server and bandwidth spikes; server crashes; and pre-mature hardware replacements," the complaint states.
"Each of the emails in question violates multiple CAN-SPAM provisions.
"The majority of emails received by ZooBuh, including the emails in question, violate the CAN-SPAM Act in one or more ways, and contributed to a larger spam problem."
The CAN-SPAM Act, of 2003, set national standards for commercial email distribution and is enforced by the Federal Trade Commission.
The law prohibits email recipients from suing spammers or filing class-action lawsuits.
ZooBuh seeks an injunction, damages of a total of $250 for each violation of four sections of the CAN-SPAM Act, treble damages and costs.
It is represented by William Kelly Nash with Durham, Jones & Pinegar, of Provo.
The Register of Known Spam Operations (ROKSO) collates information and evidence on entities with a history of spamming or providing spam services, and entities affiliated or otherwise connected with them, for the purpose of assisting ISP Abuse Desks and Law Enforcement Agencies.