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D Squared To Stop Sending Pop-Ups 218

Posted by timothy
from the how-very-gracious-of-them dept.
bizpile writes "D Squared Solutions, the company created by college students Anish Dhingra and Jeffrey Davis, has agreed to stop bombarding computer users with Internet pop-up ads to advertise its ad-blocking software, avoiding a court battle with the Federal Trade Commission. They were sending pop-up ads using the Messenger function enabled on many Windows operating systems. Their attorneys claimed the pair were not trying to extort consumers with their ads and only intended to send one a day to computer users. Lawyer Anthony J. Dain has said the ads are 'annoyances you have to deal with in a free society.'" (The San Diego Union-Tribune also has a story.)
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D Squared To Stop Sending Pop-Ups

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  • Annoyances (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MaineCoon (12585) on Sunday August 01, 2004 @12:24AM (#9856147) Homepage
    'annoyances you have to deal with in a free society.'

    No, no I don't. Thank you, FTC.
    • Re:Annoyances (Score:3, Insightful)

      by eliza_effect (715148)
      That MIGHT only work if I could return the "favor", otherwise I wouldn't say it's something that I should "have to deal with".
    • Actually yeah, you do. The problem is that, thanks in part due to the mere existence of such intrusive socialist agencies as the FTC, the US is now no longer anything approaching a free society.
      • Re:Annoyances (Score:2, Interesting)

        by ergo98 (9391)
        The problem is that, thanks in part due to the mere existence of such intrusive socialist agencies as the FTC, the US is now no longer anything approaching a free society.

        So in a truly free society, they could send their messenger popup, and in return I could send a platoon of machine gun equipped commandos to liquidate their offices? Is that freedom with intrusive socialist agencies like justice departments or police?
        • Ughh...with=without.
      • Yeah, and I hear that intrusive socialist police will get on your case if you try to get people to buy "fire insurance" (to prevent a visit from your friend Vinnie the Torch).

        This was an extortion racket asking people to pay to avoid a problem created by the racketeers themselves in the first place, and as such was quite properly shut down. The only injustice is that the perps aren't going to PMITA prison.

      • What if they were advertising for Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 911 film?

        Still feel so blaise about it?

        Note, I like F911, but I bet kmweber doesn't. But he's quite willing to give anyone a free pass with intrusion and theft of resources as long as they're trying to make a buck from it.

        Oh, and as long as an evil "socialist" government agency is the opposition too.

        For we Americans, "freedom" is the crack cocaine of the English language. I found it helpful to remove it & try to same the same thing w/

    • Next you're going to tell me murder isn't something we have to tolerate. Why thats just crazy.
    • Re:Annoyances (Score:5, Insightful)

      by 0racle (667029) on Sunday August 01, 2004 @12:34AM (#9856188)
      You needed the FTC? You should look at something called a 'firewall.,' it stops unwanted traffic.
      • We had a Win2K Server box running as a router/firewall/server at a tiny company I worked at, back in 2002, before this crap started happening a lot. The person who configured the server never set it up to ignore those messages... One day I went to changed something on the server, and there were about 1,000 of those damned messages up. I think the last time someone had used the machine locally was about 2 months ago...

        So I changed something else on the server that day, of course.
      • Re:Annoyances (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Adam9 (93947)
        Firewalls don't stop telemarketers from calling my cell phone.
        • That's because your cell phone accepts incoming connections from anybody. If you could configure a set of rules by which the phone would decide if an incoming call was valid, then you'd actually have a firewalled cell phone
        • No, but the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (yes, over a decade old) is supposed to protect you of that. If you get an unsolicated, commercial call from some entity with whom you do NOT have a pre-established business relationship nor had you given them EXPRESS permission to contact you in that way, then you can sue. You have an immediate cause of action and can sue for not only merely initiating the call (even if you did not answer the phone), but also other aspects, such as failure to PROPERLY i
      • Seriously, am I the only one that feels that the government should never become involved in what is so very clearly a technical problem? What exactly did the FTC achieve with this? At an unknown cost, they stopped one US based group from sending messenger pop-ups. Why not just fix the problem at the source?

        I mean, let's just say there was a switch on all phones that said, "Do not receive telemarketing calls." Would it be better for the government to start going after telemarketers or to just have peo
        • I think you are missing the point, no matter what the lawyer for the company says, they were engageing in racketeering! They were sending popups, to convince you to buy their popup blocking software. If a telemarketer was constantly calling to sell you a service to stop telemarketers it would be the same freakin thing.
          • Exactly how is this racketeering? [lectlaw.com]
    • Re:Annoyances (Score:5, Insightful)

      by gmhowell (26755) <gmhowell@gmail.com> on Sunday August 01, 2004 @12:39AM (#9856221) Homepage Journal
      Speaking of annoyances you don't have to live with, clicking this link [slashdot.org] removes the awful color scheme that /. has for the IT section.
    • by Eggplant62 (120514) on Sunday August 01, 2004 @08:32AM (#9857205)
      "Lawyer Anthony J. Dain has said the ads are 'annoyances you have to deal with in a free society."


      Anthony needs to sit in one place while someone beats him about the head with a flyswatter, and needs to be told that being hit with a flyswatter about the head multiple times is just an annoyance he has to deal with in a free society. Then maybe he'd get it.
      • Anthony needs to sit in one place while someone beats him about the head with a flyswatter, and needs to be told that being hit with a flyswatter about the head multiple times is just an annoyance he has to deal with in a free society. Then maybe he'd get it.
        s/flyswatter/baseball bat/g
    • People who support the wrong political party, dumb people, stupid people, lawyers and people who litigate things you don't like, religions you don't like, people with race or color or national origin or a gender or with a disability or who are between the age of 40 and 65 that you don't like for any of those reasons, people who talk about the government and some core laws (no murder and no private weapons/drug/medical/legal/money-printing/army organizations operating outside regulations) are the "annoyances
  • by Eeknay (766740) on Sunday August 01, 2004 @12:26AM (#9856153)
    Lemme guess, their popup was advertising for how to stop popups, right?
  • by Maestro4k (707634) on Sunday August 01, 2004 @12:26AM (#9856158) Journal
    • D Squared agreed not to send pop-up ads using the Messenger function enabled on many Windows operating systems; such ads do not require an open Web browser to display. The company also won't sell ad-blocking software any longer, and it is barred from sending other ads unless users can choose not to receive them.
    Looking at this it looks like their advertising days are over. That last bit will be hard for them to get around since they'll likely be heavily scrutinized by the FTC for some time to come.

    I certainly won't feel sorry for them, they were sending their popups using the windows Messaging function, making them even lower down than most popup advertisers. Kudos to the FTC for going after these guys!

  • Annoyances? (Score:5, Funny)

    by nysus (162232) on Sunday August 01, 2004 @12:28AM (#9856165)
    'annoyances you have to deal with in a free society.'

    Which? Lawyers that defend assholes like this?

    • Re:Annoyances? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ScrewMaster (602015) on Sunday August 01, 2004 @12:34AM (#9856189)
      He's just trying to equate unwanted advertising with constitutionally-protected free speech. Idiot ... the vital principle of being allowed to speak one's mind without fear of retaliation by a vengeful government has nothing to do with abuse of one's fellow citizens for fun and profit. I have the feeling that if junk mail, junk faxes and spam had existed during the Revolution there'd be specific provisions against them in the Constitution.
      • i think you americans should make a revolution reloaded or some other sequel
        we over here in switzerland add things to our constitution four times a year
        • i think you americans should make a revolution reloaded or some other sequel we over here in switzerland add things to our constitution four times a year
          By now, it must have 10,000 amendments, then...
        • Our Constitution is difficult to change to prevent legalized discrimination such as Republican Anti-Gay amendments from passing on a whim. If we could pass 4 amendments a year, we'd have the DMCA, PATRIOT, PATRIOT II, and the His Majesty George Bush amendments in the Consititution.
          • we have to pass changes in constitution with a plebiscite
            so it would be hard to pass something like DMCA or even more the gay thing or PATRIOT shit
            there has to be at least 50 % of all vote (not people) for it to pass
            here in switzerland we have 4 (?large) parties, the biggest about 30 % of the votes
            so you have to get a lot of peoples to agree with you to pass something(btw those four parties are ruling together)
            for preventing discrimination we have our a sort of Federal Supreme Court
            you would first hav
      • Re:Annoyances? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by nysus (162232) on Sunday August 01, 2004 @02:18AM (#9856513)
        Gee, let's think about this for a 1/2 second. What's stopping me from plastering a billboard right on your front lawn for a miracle drug that cures cancer?

        I can't do that because sometimes property rights and deceptive trade practices trump free speech rights. It's not a difficult concept. The two college kids want to take over your computer to pitch false claims at you. Damn straight that should be illegal.
        • It not only should be illegal, it *is* illegal, as those two jackasses found out.

          -jcr
        • Most people think Free Speech means they can do and say anything, anywhere. Free speech only applies to the government itself not being to censor you. Private entities can do it all they'd like.

          Second, this right to speech only extends so far that it does not trample the rights of someone else. That is why we claim free speech in this country yet cannot harrass someone, or stick billboards on their private property, and so on.

          I could go off on a rant against P2P piracy at this point, but I won't. Poin
        • What's stopping me from plastering a billboard right on your front lawn for a miracle drug that cures cancer?

          My 12 gauge.

          But really, one has to look at the purpose of "free speech" as defined by the Constitution. Control of information flow constitutes control of society, any society. You just have to look at how a number of other nations handle this issue, and the importance of free speech becomes readily apparent. But that doesn't mean that preventing jackasses from tunnelling unwanted NetBIOS pa
    • Lawyers that don't know how to disable the 'messenger' service in Windows, and instead opt to buy this product to do it for them.
  • Annoyances (Score:5, Funny)

    by Chapium (550445) on Sunday August 01, 2004 @12:29AM (#9856172)
    I guess they learned about another annoyance in a free society: Lawyers
  • by KarmaOverDogma (681451) on Sunday August 01, 2004 @12:29AM (#9856173) Homepage Journal
    Oh yeah... Right...

    Fool me once, shame on - shame on you. Fool me - can't get fooled again.

    Oh, wait, that's the guy from Texas, isn't it?

    .
  • by ScrewMaster (602015) on Sunday August 01, 2004 @12:29AM (#9856175)
    Anyone got this "Dain" person's IP address? I have a "NET SEND" that I'd like to throw his way.
  • Square D (Score:4, Interesting)

    by suso (153703) on Sunday August 01, 2004 @12:31AM (#9856181) Homepage Journal
    You know, when I first read that headline, I was thinking of the Square D company [squared.com] that makes circuit breaker boxes and other electrical supplies. And I was thinking "What the hell?"
  • White Hat Spammer! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Ryan Stortz (598060) <ryan0rz@@@gmail...com> on Sunday August 01, 2004 @12:32AM (#9856182)
    Has anyone thought of sending out messages telling people how to turn off Windows Messenger?
  • by kidventus (649548) * on Sunday August 01, 2004 @12:34AM (#9856186) Homepage Journal
    Messenger should never have been exposed as a default running service on Windows XP, 2000, & NT computers.. with no authentication and no option to turn it off without going deep in to a services menu.

    This proves that software developers in general were caught flat-footed by the internet, and that they failed us as customers by claiming that their computers were now "internet ready" and only meant by that that they gave us integrated no-choice branded browsers and instant messengers to save their market share, they didn't even think about us, just themselves.

    Bottom feeders like Square D exist and will always exist. The real failure are software developers, and they should take the blame for the decisions they made from 96 - 01 (when XP was released with Messenger ON) and do better.

    Now if you'll excuse me, I have to run a virus scan and delete my tracking cookies.
    • This proves that software developers in general were caught flat-footed by the internet, and that they failed us as customers by claiming that their computers were now "internet ready" and only meant by that that they gave us integrated no-choice branded browsers and instant messengers to save their market share, they didn't even think about us, just themselves.

      No, it proves that Microsoft had zero regard for the Internet and for their customers. The Mac OS had no problems like this. Linux had no proble
  • Brilliant (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Zareste (761710) on Sunday August 01, 2004 @12:36AM (#9856201) Homepage
    annoyances you have to deal with in a free society.

    Yep, we dealt with them all right. Same way we deal with shoplifting,
  • by RLiegh (247921) on Sunday August 01, 2004 @12:40AM (#9856223) Homepage Journal
    of how the government can properly work with the internet community in policing legitimate nuisences. I'd almost go as far as to say this is evidence we don't need a ton of laws specially tailored to the internet.
  • Only..? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by krhainos (637354) <js58@uakr[ ]edu ['on.' in gap]> on Sunday August 01, 2004 @12:47AM (#9856246) Homepage
    only intended to send one a day to computer users

    Only once a day? ... that still seems like a lot.
  • by aardwolf204 (630780) on Sunday August 01, 2004 @12:58AM (#9856290)
    Its truly sad that Windows XP Service Pack 2 sets the messenger service to disabled by default. It was always nice to know that no matter if you friend on a lan was on AIM, Yahoo, MSN, Jabber, etc, you could send them a message. Its a shame marketing agencies abused this. I for one leave write on in *nix and messenger on in windows because I'm behind a NAT and dont get these annoyances, and sure every once in a while at a LAN party someone will annoy you with it when your playing a full screen game, but none the less its a shame that this functionality is going away by default, it was truly a cool feature in windows.

    Oh, yeah, this is slashdot, um, in Soviet Russis you annoy popups
    • Except that those of us who don't like invasive proceedures on our computers, like DRM, will not accept SP2. It will fix many problems but the cost is too high. I will download individual pieces that I need and ignore the rest. I also deleted messenger from my machine, don't want it or need it.
      • Except that those of us who don't like invasive proceedures on our computers, like DRM, will not accept SP2.

        I got news for you - its not just the tinfoil hat crowd that won't install it - it's Joe Sixpack that won't install it as well.

        It's the same Joe Sixpack that's running stock IE6 on XP and stock IE5 on Win2k and stock IE3 on Win98. Joe Sixpack doesn't give a shit about patching his browser or installing a service pack, all he want's to do is check his email and the ESPN site and surf for porn.
        This i
  • This color scheme is also an annoyance we must deal with in a free society.

    But seriously, it's quite amazing that they are admitting in court that their business model is a regretable annoyance. There are so many ways to make money which are a) legal and b) not annoying. I do agree with their lawyer that they should be allowed to continue; users should turn off functions which make their computers accessible to the net in general if they don't want to receive such things.

  • "Annoyances"? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by penginkun (585807) on Sunday August 01, 2004 @02:05AM (#9856487)
    So if I come 'round and kick them in the groin once a day and then leave, is that another of those 'annoyances (sic) you have to deal with in a free society'?

    Seems like assault and battery, but really, it's not! And those ads they're sending, they only SEEM like an invasion of privacy, but trust me, they're not!
    • Just find out where they live and drive around the block with the windows open and the radio turned up and play "how much is that doggie in the window" the dog chorus version. Get a team and take shifts. All perfectly legal. Just an annoyance they got to put up with.
  • Annoyances (Score:5, Funny)

    by Kwil (53679) on Sunday August 01, 2004 @02:11AM (#9856495)
    You know other annoyances you might have to deal with in a free society? People throwing excrement at your house and car if you're a scumbag lawyer.

    Hell, it's biodegradable, so it can be argued that it takes even less action to clean up than a windows messenger pop-up.. just leave it there long enough and it'll go away.

  • Now they'll just send Pop-unders
  • by E8086 (698978) on Sunday August 01, 2004 @03:22AM (#9856657)
    this was slashdot-ed back in Nov03 [slashdot.org] according to MSNBC [msn.com]
    "Part of the reason Windows Messenger pop-ups caught the attention of the FTC is that one of the agency's commissioners received one of the advertisements at home"
    Around a year ago(or more) one of my housemates, whose only firewall was the WinXP "it's almost a firewall," was getting several dozen a day. I told him to use a real firewall, think it was the free ZoneAlarm. Even after that he was still getting enough to have to tell me he was still getting them, possibly during windows startup before Zone Alarm could start or when he disabled it to run Kazaa. Even with the little extra cash I got installing free firewalls it wasn't worth the number of complaints I was getting.

    Funny how you can net send spam millions of the world's computers and get away with it, but spam one gov't agent and you'll be promptly(after months of legal stuff) shutdown. Because of the inconvenience of not being able ignore them like traditional email spam I'm going to side with the FTC on this one.
    • Dude, your friends computer was loaded with spyware. Don't blame the windows xp firewall.

      If he had kazaa installed, then that's where the popups were coming from. The windows xp built-in firewall can stop messenger ads just fine. You should have told him to download spybot [kolla.de], adaware [lavasoftusa.com], and spywareblaster [javacoolsoftware.com].

  • by w4rl5ck (531459) on Sunday August 01, 2004 @04:39AM (#9856798) Homepage
    nuff said. what a strange excuse for bad marketing habits. "Hey it's a free world, that is, no rules... or isn't it?" I don't want a free world without rules, I want a free world with proper rules. That's a difference.
  • by Detritus (11846) on Sunday August 01, 2004 @04:59AM (#9856835) Homepage
    We should revive trial by combat for cases involving spam. It's been argued that it is still a valid part of the common law in some places.

    In the red corner, at 110 pounds, we have a pencil-necked geek from UCSD, who is an accused spammer.

    In the blue corner, at 250 pounds, we have California's Special Prosecutor for Spam, the Governator, Arnold Schwarzenegger!

    Let's get ready to rumble!

    • Of course, people were allowed to hire Champions in trial by combat. So it's really not much different than our current system, except that someone would get killed. Fighting and random outcomes.

      But at least a person would have a chance in hell of being their own attorney.
    • We should do it like in Spartacus. Have two spammers fight. The winner is to be crucified.
  • Free Society? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Gigantic1 (630697)
    Lawyer Anthony J. Dain has said the ads are "annoyances you have to deal with in a free society." Hmmm...let me see. According to Mr. Dain, a Free Society is characterized by a lack of property rights. For example, strangers are allowed to use my PC in an unauthorized manner and, in the process, disrupt my activities. All of this done with impunity on thier part. Hmmm...this doesn't sound like Freedom to me!
  • SP2 turns off the Messenger and alert service so they would need to rely on different methods.

    Course looking at all the zombies out there most computers wouldn't have it installed.
  • Hypocrites (Score:5, Insightful)

    by UnrepentantHarlequin (766870) on Sunday August 01, 2004 @10:23AM (#9857559)
    ...annoyances you have to deal with in a free society

    They seem to be very selective about that freedom.

    I assume they're more than willing to call on the agents of the government (the police, for instance) to protect them from people exercising their freedom to visit the company offices and beat the living crap out of them. And I'm sure that they would not be so dedicated to people's freedom to slam every system they own with a DOS attack. The only "freedom" they're concerned about is their freedom to commit extortion without that mean ol' FTC interfering.

    They're all fired up about their rights (is there a right to commit extortion?) but they're conveniently ignoring one thing: rights come with attached responsibilities. You can't separate the two, and when you try, you get problems. For instance, if you have the right to swing your fist around, it comes with the responsibility to stop short of my nose. If you have the right to drive a car, it comes with the responsibility not to squash pedestrians. A society which granted those rights but does not acknowledge the associated responsibilities would be murderous chaos.

    In a truly civilized society, people are as aware of their responsibilities as they are of their rights, and act accordingly. Only in such a society can there truly be freedom.

    In modern US society, right and wrong have been equated with legal and illegal -- or, even worse, with getting away with it and getting caught. Rights are everything. Responsibilities are not in the picture at all. Civilized behavior is mocked. This has cost us many things, including the expense of feeding an ever-more-bloated government. But most of all, it has cost us freedom.

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