Court ices 'Cupcake'

The Cupcake Messenger won't be mousetrapping anymore surfers.

Translation: At the request of the Federal Trade Commission, a U.S. District
court has ordered defendant John Zuccarini, aka 'Cupcake Messenger', 'Cupcake
Patrol' and another 20 cupcake-related names, to stop hijacking errant-fingered
Web surfers to porn and other sites via URL's similar to the real ones.

That should come as some consolation to cable channel The Cartoon Network.

According to the FTC, Zuccarini used 15 variations on the real site, (in all, he used
some 5,500 copycat names of various sites), to steer surfers who didn't quite
get the right URL, where they would be 'bombarded' by pop-up ads for everything
from Internet gambling to porn.

In addition, the real site would sometimes come up, leading surfers to assume
the ads were somehow authorized by that site.

Mousetrapping is the programming trick of making it difficult or impossible
to close a browser or return to the previous page.

The FTC is telling consumers who think they have been
scammed by Zuccarini to call them at 202-326-2560 or the toll-free
1-877-FTC-HELP, referencing the case name: Cupcake Party.

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.