FTC nails Adultfriendfinder.com

The Federal Trade Commission late last year settled federal charges against AdultFriendFinder.com saying the organization can no longer pelt unwitting consumers with sexually explicit pop-up ads. AdultFriendFinder.com, which touts itself as "The World’s Largest Sex & Swingers Personal Community," and its affiliates use pop-up ads to drive traffic to its Web sites. Some of the ads have included graphic depictions of sexual behavior, exposing consumers, including children, to sexually explicit images. Such ads were displayed to consumers who were searching online using terms such as "flowers," "travel," and "vacations." In some cases, defendant's sexually explicit ads were distributed using spyware and adware. WHAT'S NEW?: Adultfriendfinder.com wasn't the only sex site to feel the FTC's sting. X-rated Web site operator Cyberheat has felt the slap of the FTC and the Department of Justice by agreeing to pay a $413,000 civil penalty for paying partners who used illegal e-mail to drive customers to its Web sites. While Cyberheat did not send e-mail directly to consumers, they operated an "affiliate marketing" program in which they paid others who used spam to drive traffic to Cyberheat's Web sites. The government's complaint alleged that under the CAN-SPAM Act, the defendant is liable for the illegal spam sent by its affiliates because the defendant induced them to send it by offering to pay those who successfully attracted subscriber to its Web sites.

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