SoftwareOnline.com settles

Software Online, a big spender with Direct Revenue, has settled with the Washington State AG.

From Ben Edelman:

In April 2006, the State of Washington sued SoftwareOnline.com for unfair business practices arising out of marketing of Software Online's security software.

Complaint (PDF) alleges misrepresenting the extent to which software is necessary for security or privacy, misrepresenting functions on advertisements (e.g. fake user interface ads, where an "x" opened a new ad rather than closing a window), misrepresenting uninstall, and misleading negative-option billing (automatic renewals and future charges).

The State of Washington simultaneously announced a stipulated judgment and order (PDF) requiring payment of $40,000 of costs and fees, $400,000 of civil penalties (with $250,000 suspended on condition of complaince with other provisions of settlement).

Judgment includes findings of fact as to Software Online's deceptive practices, as well as conclusions of law as to Software Online's liability. Settlement prohibits misrepresentation, directly or by implication, of the urgency or need for security products; utilizing fake user interface elements; showing pop-up or pop-under ads through a trial version; and various other deceptive practices.

More here.

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