July 22, 2003

Fooey to FUI

I think this will be a good lawsuit to follow. We’ve all seen those banner ads on websites that are mocked up to look like Windows dialog boxes. You know, it says, “Your Internet connection is not optimized”, or “Your PC may be infected!” And they usually have the red X or yellow exclamation point, and a button that says OK. Most of us are able to tell they’re just images in the web browser, and if we click them we’ll be taken to some site trying to sell us “Internet Boost” software or some other such snake oil. But a lot of people are being tricked, novice computer users that might not realize the difference between a real dialog box and a faked picture of one. These people are the intended targets of this deceptive advertising, and apparently they’ve been clicking through those ads in the millions.

And now they’re fighting back.

The class action complaint alleges that DoubleClick deceptively and fraudulently commandeered millions of Internet users to the commercial websites of DoubleClick’s customers through dissemination of tens-of-millions of fraudulent Internet advertising banners that impersonated computer error messages. The Complaint states that through use of such Fake User Interface (“FUI”) dialogs that gave the false appearance of being computer error messages, DoubleClick tricked millions of Internet users into interrupting the work they were performing to respond to the fraudulent error message, only to unexpectedly find both computer and computer user thus hijacked to the commercial websites of DoubleClick’s customers.

Blammo! Not only are they striking back against the worst of the online advertisers, they’ve also brought to light a nifty TLA (three-letter acronym). FUI! Pronounced, of course, “Fooey”. Which is exactly what we’ve wanted to say to these advertisers all along.

Now if only an epilepsy association could get together and sue the makers of those flashing and “vibrating” ad banners, we’d have something going.

Filed under The Computer Vet Weblog

Comments (0)

Comments RSS - Write Comment

No comments yet

Write Comment