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Adaptive Marketing v. Yahoo!

Adaptive Marketing, a company that advertises a telephone number for obtaining “free credit scores,” and then uses that call to sell credit monitoring services at $29.95 per month, brought a pre-litigation discovery proceeding in state court in Stamford Connecticut seeking to identify an anonymous blogger who cited published reports referring to this scheme as a “predatory bait-and-switch.” The blogger also referring to the parent company as having engaged in “deceptive business practices.” Public Citizen represented the blogger asserting the First Amendment right to remain anonymous, which was not overcome in this case because the supposedly defamatory words were opinion based on disclosed facts, and because there was no evidence of falsity. After our motion to quash was filed, Adaptive dismissed its proceeding for discovery claiming that it had become moot by its learning the Doe’s name. In fact, the name that it “discovered” was simply another pseudonym; the withdrawal was apparently an attempt to save face.