FTC nails Adultfriendfinder.com

The Federal Trade Commission today 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.  

The settlement bars the defendant from displaying sexually explicit ads to consumers unless the consumers are actively seeking out sexually explicit content or unless the consumers have consented to viewing sexually explicit content, the FTC said. 

It also  requires the defendant to take steps to ensure that its affiliates comply with the restriction, and end its relationship with any affiliates who do not comply. It also requires the defendant to establish an Internet-based mechanism for consumers to submit complaints.

Finally, the settlement contains bookkeeping and record- keeping requirements to allow the Commission to monitor compliance, the FTC said. 

The defendant named in the FTC complaint is Various, Inc., a California corporation doing business as AdultFriendFinder, AdultFriendFinder.com, and Cams.com.  In the meantime, rumors abound that AdultFriendFinder may have been sold today.  TechCrunch.com and others are reporting Various has been acquired, but did not say by whom. 

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