FTC Cracks Down on ‘Pop-Up Spam Scam’

BOSTON The Federal Trade Commission on Thursday came down hard on D-Squared Solutions of San Diego, accusing the company of engaging in a “pop-up spam scam” in which the company sold software to block the same kinds of online messages it was sending to consumers.

A U.S. District Court in Baltimore issued a temporary restraining order against D-Squared based on the FTC’s contention that the company “effectively co-opted a network administration feature of Microsoft Windows known as Messenger Service, a component designed to provide network administrators with the ability to provide instant information to users.”

According to the FTC, “The defendants allegedly caused Messenger Service windows to pop up on consumers’ computer screens as often as every 10 minutes, advertising software that would supposedly block future pop-up scams.”

A D-Squared representative could not immediately be reached for comment. A former company president, Anish Dhingra, who is also named in the FTC complaint, declined comment.

The FTC on Wednesday had called a briefing in Washington, D.C, to “address concerns raised by the widespread exploitation” of Messenger Services, but had not elaborated [IQ Daily Briefing, Nov. 5].

—Adweek staff report