Gator Bites IAB
In response, Gator filed suit in federal court against the IAB on Monday, seeking protection for its advertising vehicle, the Companion Pop-up banner. The pop-up serves relevant ads to users when they are browsing the web. The IAB claims the ads replace ads already on the sites. Gator says, "the consumer sees the publisher's ad first, and can choose which ad to click."
The lawsuit will be an important one, because it will go into uncharted territory. "There's not a lot of case law on this," says an IAB spokesman, indicating there are few laws that govern the Internet.
The IAB says Gator's pop-ups "obscure advertising and/or editorial content on websites through the use of specially designed pop-up windows and without the consent of websites or innocent third party advertisers." The IAB spokesman says the practice "could be harmful to the reputation of the site and cause users not to go there." Also, publishers get none of the revenue from the advertising Gator places on their sites.
Gator didn't rebut all these charges. In fact, it defended its practice of placing its own ads on unaffiliated websites by saying "the central issue is that every consumer has the right to decide what software they want to run on their own computer screen." Consumers who load Gator's software accept its advertising, according to L. Scott Primak, Gator's director of legal affairs.
The IAB says Gator's practice "interferes with the contractual relationship between web publishers and advertisers."
Gator claims its advertising is effective because its ads have a 10 to 14.7 percent click through rate while "99.8 percent of current banners ads are being ignored."
The IAB spokesman made a point of saying, "We are not suing anyone. We're making the case and it could go to the Federal Trade Commission." But in the meantime it's going to a federal court.