Ironic that this is occurring while I’m at Affiliate Summit where many of these networks are doing business, but Jon from Wickedfire has talked to numerous sources who have confirmed this is occurring.
You can see his forum thread post about it here, but essentially Myspace is suing these networks for violating the CAN Spam Act for spamming people through the Myspace bulletin feature.
Jon points out that Myspace is seeking for two types of damages:
Myspace’s lawsuit against the networks are to ban them, and their owners from visiting the myspace.com site.
Myspace is seeking punitive damages from $20 million to $75 million PER network.
Apparently the total is over $500 million as 14-17 networks are targeted. He goes on to add:
The list of networks being sued reads like a shopping list, because they all, at some point or another drafted known Myspace spammers and phishers into their programs to promote their offers, even AFTER cease and desist letters were issued to them by Myspace.
What does this all mean? Apparently affiliate networks have been openly recruiting known spammers and phishers to promote their offers through spamming Myspace users. Many of you have probably been asked to be friends with “hot girl” profiles who then proceed to send you bulletins for all types of things. If Myspace sent them cease and desist letters and they continued to do this, you can’t blame Myspace for getting a bit upset here.
If Myspace is successful it will definitely put a major hurt on the networks being sued, potentially putting some of them out of business.
While it’s not known yet if the CAN Spam Act qualifies here, it will be interesting to see what sort of ruling occurs or if everyone settles out of court. Either way, Myspace is taking a big step here to say that spam is not okay regardless of whether it’s email or web bulletins on a social network.