At this point, this little blog has had about as much readership as a small-town high school newspaper on the last week of school before summer. Apparently, that was a bit too much publicity for Vertrue, aka Memberworks, aka CardMember Publishing, owner of Adaptive Marketing (current owner of the Freescore.com trademark and former owner of freescore.com). I can’t imagine why a company that has changed its name three times would be so interested in hiding its past . . .
But, lo and behold, Adaptive Marketing has pulled out the big guns for me when it filed this application for bill of discovery in Connecticut state court, alleging “defamation, trade libel, and tortious interference with contractual relations and business expectancies.”
Or maybe it’s the small guns? C’mon, didn’t you want to spring for one of those white shoe law firms handling your class action cases to do a little abuse of the subpoena power? (Reminder to the litigious types, this is an opinion.)
To recap for those of you following along at home: Felix Salmon wrote about Ben Stein advertising for Freescore. I wrote a follow up using publicly available information about Freescore’s legal and corporate history. The New York Times fired Ben Stein, and Felix Salmon celebrated at the Oyster Bar, Grand Central Terminal, NYC.
After that, I stopped paying attention to Freescore et al. But since they hadn’t stopped paying attention to me (and not in a good way), I did a little more constitutionally protected research. Here are some other interesting things that have come out since I wrote my entry:
- The Wall Street Journal online wrote some not-so-flattering things about freescore.com.
- CBS Money Watch reported with a good description of what Freescore.com has to offer.
- The Senate Commerce Committee subpoenaed Vertrue.
- A Senate Commerce aide is not so pleased with Vertrue.
- Business journalist Gary Weiss wrote about some of the same issues I covered.
- Vertrue, using the same law firm as my case, sued Wikipedia. I’ve not seen the filings in this case, but the history of amendments to their Wikipedia article looks interesting.
And some stuff I missed the first time around:
- Here is a good historical outline of Vertrue by Consumeraffairs.com.
- The Washington Post article that I linked to in the original post, but without the pay wall.
- Archived version of the Minnesota Attorney General’s case against MemberWorks and the settlement.
- Iowa Attorney General suit against MemberWorks.
Seems to me they should have let my post and my blog die the quiet death it had settled into. I guess we shall see . . .
Update 2: More coverage from techdirt.
Update 3: Salon here.