September 24, 2003
FEDERAL COURT RULES AGAINST FTC'S DO-NOT-CALL LIST
Direct Marketing Assocation Hails Ruling, Starts Calling Millions of People Immediately
New York, NY /DenounceNewswire/ -- 24 September 2003 -- The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) overstepped their bounds, a federal court ruled today, in establishing a national do-not-call registry. The court ordered that the registry immediately be stopped.
In a surprise move, the court also ordered that the millions of names, addresses, and telephone numbers (many of which are unlisted) contained in the registry be turned over to the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), and that the DMA and its member telemarketing firms are free to use the information and call people starting today.
"This is an outrage!" said 300 million Americans, when asked for an opinion on the court ruling.
Stocks in publicly-traded telemarking firms soared today, the moment the ruling was announced.
Posted by denounce at 12:45 PM
September 16, 2003
Other Industries Quick to Copy Verisign's Latest Tactic
Make a Typo, Get an Upsell
New York, NY /DenounceNewswire/ -- 16 September 2003 -- Within 24 hours of Verisign Corporation's move to redirect non-existent domain name inquiries to their own advertising messages, companies in other industries have already unleashed similar tactics.
Verisign, which controls the .com and .net Internet domain names, yesterday moved to make it such that if a web user accidentally types in a domain name incorrectly, and the resulting name does not in fact exist, the user's browser is sent to an advertisement at Verisign's website, rather than the browser issuing a conventional error message indicating no such domain exists.
Now, SBC Communications, Worldcom, and AT&T have all launched similar programs within their services. If you enter a dial a bad phone number, no longer will you hear the familiar recorded voice informing you that "the number does not exist or is no longer in service." Instead, you will hear advertising messages for directory services, cellular and long distance discounts, and DSL services.
Within the television industry, changes are also taking place. Within the next few weeks, viewers across the country will discover that all those channels on their TV for which there is only static, suddenly will be filled with 100% advertisements and infomercials.
And the State of California's CalTrans division, which oversees highways across the state, has approved a ruling which will replace all "DEAD END" and "NOT A THROUGH STREET" road signs with advertisements from vendors ranging from auto dealerships to security alarm companies to tanning salons.
The U.S. Postal Service has also announced an exclusive arrangement with Gateway Computer Corporation whereby any letter sent to a nonexistent address will be forwarded to Gateway, where the letter will be destroyed in an environmentally sound way, but only before Gateway scans the return address and sends a full-color Gateway product catalog back to the sender.
Posted by denounce at 11:31 AM
September 14, 2003
Massive Class Action Suit Brought Against Viagra Maker
Millions of Email Users Tired of "Viagra" Spam, Sue Pfizer "Just On General Principles"
New York, NY /DenounceNewswire/ -- 14 September 2003 -- Two hundred and twenty million people have added their signatures to the largest class-action suit in history, brought against Pfizer, Inc., makers of the Viagra drug. The suit contends that Pfizer is at least partly responsible for billions of dollars lost annually in personal and business productivity as a result of the massive amount of unsolicited email, known as spam, advertising the Viagra drug itself or its generic incarnations.
While Pfizer is not blamed directly for the sending the spam, the suit demands that Pfizer crack down on the companies using its trademark. The suit also asks the court to enjoin Pfizer from selling, licensing, or distributing its Viagra product to any company that uses email to reach customers.
Pfizer Chairman and CEO Henry A. McKinnell, Jr. declined to comment on the lawsuit.
The suit also asks the court to ban Pfizer from manufacturing the drug entirely if Viagra spam is not stopped "completely and permanently by December 31st, 2003."
"We are fed up," said Morton Diflucor, who heads up PAVES (People Against Viagra Email Spam), a group responsible for collecting the two hundred and twenty million signatures from people all over the world, "and if the spammers won't stop selling Pfizer's product, we're going to stop Pfizer from making the product."
Asked how he was able to collect two hundred and twenty million signatures as part of the class-action suit, Diflucor said, "Simple, we sent out emails to everyone on the planet, asking for help."
Posted by denounce at 11:38 AM
September 09, 2003
RIAA to Force ISPs Nationwide to Adopt Color-Code System
Washington, DC /DenounceNewswire/ -- 9 September 2003 -- In the most aggressive -- and, some say, invasive -- step yet to protect record companies, the federal government and the Internet Service Providers (ISPs) will phase in a computer system next year to measure the risk posed by every Internet user every time they connect to the Internet.
Backed by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), which pressured the federal government to adopt this new legislation, the new system will identify each Internet user the moment they connect to the Internet, comparing personal information against criminal records, driver records, and other intelligence information, much of it gathered from Echelon, the secret U.S. government system which monitors and records worldwide all emails, web use, instant messages, as well as faxes and phone calls. The RIAA has exclusive use to browse and search through Echelon data, in a deal struck last year with the government.
Internet users will be assigned a color code -- green, yellow, or red -- based in part on the contents of the file or data being transferred at any particular moment while a user is using the Internet.
Most people will be coded green and sail through, but up to 30 percent of Internet users will be coded "yellow" and will undergo additional screening. An estimated 5 to 6 percent will be labeled "red" and will have their Internet connections cut, their homes raided within an hour, all computer equipment seized, dogs shot, and themselves arrested and sent to the RIAA's massive detention facility in Mojave, CA.
The system "will provide protections for the Internet-using public," said RIAA president Cary Sherman. "This system will keep Internet users honest, and protect the interests of the content-producing industries such as music and film."
The new system, called the Computerized RIAA American Protection System II (CRAPS II), has sparked so much controversy that the government had to issue warnings to media outlets to stop reporting on the controversy or face stiff penalties, jail time, or exile.
"This system is going to be replete with errors," said Barry Steinhardt, director of the American Civil Liberties Union's technology and liberty program. "You could be falsely arrested. You could be delayed. You could lose your ability to listen to music. You could---" but at that moment Mr. Steinhardt's telephone line was cut.
September 03, 2003
Tower Records to Sell $13 Universal CDs for Under $18
West Sacramento, CA /DenounceNewswire/ -- 3 September 2003 -- Tower Records, the national record store chain known for its pierced, blue-haired salesclerks and equally scruffy clientele, announced today a plan to aggressively cut its prices for CDs published by the Universal Music Group to under $18. Tower's move comes in response to Universal's same-day announcement that it would lower the list prices of its CDs to under $12.98 in an effort to boost sales that have been stymied by free Internet music downloading services.
"Our research shows that the sweet spot is to sell Universal's records below $18," said, Louise Solomon, a Tower Records spokesperson.
Historically, large retailers like Tower have sold new CDs at considerably less than the so-called MSRP, or manufacturer suggested retail price. Tower's move signals a reversal of that trend. "We're confident we can sell CDs for under $18 that are widely priced elsewhere at under $13," said Solomon.
Solomon declined to comment on the company's widely-reported preparations for bankruptcy proceedings in a West Sacramento court.
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