Kids’ Email Service Takes Bite at Spam

SALT LAKE CITY (CN) – A “safe email” service for children has joined the never-ending battle against spam. It claims three marketing companies spammed thousands of its users – crashing its servers, chasing away customers and forcing it to develop custom filtering software – in ads disguised as safe messages for children.

     ZooBuh sued Better Broadcasting LLC, its alter ego Iono Interactive, and California-based Envoy Media, in Federal Court.
     ZooBuh charges parents $1 a month for its safe-email services, which allow parents to control and monitor their children’s accounts. It says the defendants launched their spam attack in January.
     Better Broadcasting and Iono sent more than 12,800 emails to ZooBuh’s young subscribers, and Envoy sent about 4,600 emails, many of them promoting a website selling windows, ZooBuh says.
     It claims the junk email violated the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography And Marketing Act of 2003.
     ZooBuh says the spammers and other unidentified marketers did not mark the messages as advertisements, did not display valid sender addresses and stymied recipients’ access to opt out.
     “None of the owners of the email addresses opted-in or subscribed to receive commercial emails from and of or about the defendants’ products, services, or websites,” the complaint states.
     ZooBuh says Envoy hired marketers that it knew “would and/or did violate CAN-SPAM” and “‘consciously avoided’ knowing that its marketers would and/or did violate CAN-SPAM.”
     After the onslaught, ZooBuh “has had to upgrade server capacity, has had to create custom spam filtering software, has had to dedicate additional man hours to dealing with spam-related issues, has received customer complaints, has lost customers, and has experienced server spikes, slowdowns, and crashes inhibiting ZooBuh’s ability to fulfill its contractual obligations with its customers,” according to the complaint.
     It says that message on Envoy’s homepage touted the multi-platform marketing company as, “A trusted messenger.”
     ZooBuh demands an injunction, statutory damages of a total of $225 for each violation of five sections of the CAN-SPAM Act, treble damages, and costs.
     It is represented by Evan Schmutz with Hill, Johnson & Schmutz of Provo.

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