Two separate class action lawsuits were filed on April 20, 2007 against Commission Junction, BeFree and ValueClick. One names CJ and BeFree publishers (affiliates) as the plaintifs. The other names CJ and BeFree merchants as the plaintiffs. So what do these lawsuits center around? Adware.
The lawsuits allege breach of contract, negligence and unfair business practices on CJ/BF’s part by allowing adware affiliates to operate within their Network. The gist of it seems to be that CJ/BF has knowingly allowed adware affiliates within their Network which commit commission theft and fraudulent transactions through adware applications. The suit is seeking monetary damages to both affiliates and merchants. More importantly, in my opinion, they are seeking a change in ValueClick’s corporate policy related to adware and compliance.
I’ve always hoped that Networks would wise up by implementing fair business practices and enforcing them. My views on the subject matter certainly aren’t an Industry Secret. Unfortunately, the changes haven’t happened. As I was thinking about this, I realized that the adware issues have been ongoing for 6 or 7 years now. Wow, time certainly does go by quickly. It probably hasn’t been a matter of if such a lawsuit would be brought against someone, but a matter of when. Well, it looks like the “when” is now here.
How this may impact the Industry as a whole, well I just don’t know. It’s certainly bound to shake some things up. And I can’t imagine that other Networks aren’t going to be watching this case closely. I can only hope this will result in some real postive change within the Industry.
As we feel these cases are important specifically to the affiliate marketing industry, more so than any other case related to adware/spyware to date, we will be dedicating a special area of this blog to information on these lawsuits as they progress. We will limit the posting to official sources and will avoid commentary and speculation.