The Internet is abuzz with Zango’s (formerly 180Solutions) announcement that a class action lawsuit filed against them last year was dismissed with prejudice in Federal Court. The first statements in Zango’s press release:
Zango, an online media company, today announced the dismissal with prejudice of the putative class action lawsuit filed against the company last year in federal court in Chicago. The dismissal ends the litigation, is final, and is binding on the plaintiffs.
This left the impression for me that the Judge has ruled in Zango’s favor dismissing the case. But often times that is the purpose of press releases.
However, ClickZ’s is reporting the plaintiff’s attorney stating that they are the ones who requested the case to be dismissed without prejudice as they felt they would be unable to meet the court’s standards for a class action suit. That is somewhat different and is interesting. While IANAL and in no way pretend fully tounderstand the legal wrangling and strategies which can go into a lawsuit, an interesting fact is brought to light. Lawsuits against spyware/adware companiesthat are dropped, dismissed (for whatever reasons)or lost in court will most likely be used by thecompany to legitimize their business practices. They would be remiss in their own businesses not to spin it to their favor.I do not like to see spyware/adware companies handed this type of public relations platform. I wouldd much rather see no lawsuit being brought against a spyware/adware company unless there is a high expectation that the case could reach the trial stage and a reasonable expectation of winning the case.
I also found it interesting that Zango’s press release focused on the issue of their software not being spyware. Spyware certainly isn’t the same thing as adware.While consumers are certainly concerned about true spyware (applications which capture personally identifiable information without their knowledge), within the online advertising and affiliate marketing world, it is certain business practices associated with adware that concern me. Zango’s business model related to the adware component of their softwareis one of my concerns. I do not agree in the least that a company claiming their software is not spyware justifies and gives legitimacy to their software, which behaves in certain ways in the adware spectrum of the software. Of course, the lawsuit was not really about any of the issues many in affiliate marketing have regarding adware.