New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer is suing Web site operator Gratis Internet Inc. for allegedly violating consumer confidentiality agreements by selling millions of consumers’ personal information to e-mail marketers, according to a statement issued Thursday by Spitzer’s office.
Gratis, based in Washington, D.C., operates numerous Web sites including FreeiPods.com, FreeCDs.com, FreeDVDs.com and FreeVideoGames.com.
Spitzer’s suit claims these free offers came at a price.
While Gratis informed users of its Web sites that it would not sell their personal information, Gratis owners Peter Martin and Robert Jewell in the past two years sold some seven million consumers’ e-mail addresses and other personal information to e-mail marketers. Those marketers used the information to distribute millions of e-mail solicitations, according to the statement.
The suit, filed in New York State Supreme Court, seeks penalties and injunctive relief against Gratis and its principals, under New York’s consumer fraud statutes. Thursday’s legal action comes on the heels of Spitzer’s settlement earlier this month with e-mail marketer Datran Media, which had bought consumer information from Gratis, according to the statement.