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Intermix refutes spyware label

Los Angeles-based Intermix Media, owner of community site, on Thursday disputed charges in the press that its downloadable toolbars "spy" on consumers. The announcement came in the face of being investigated by the New York Attorney General for practices associated with spyware.

"The company's toolbar and redirect applications do not collect information about a person's web surfing habits or otherwise collect or transmit any personal information about users," according to a press release issued Thursday by Intermix.

Earlier in the week, Intermix, formerly eUniverse, reported in a SEC filing that the New York AG's office is investigating the company's alleged practices of distributing downloads "installed by users without sufficient notice or consent," according to an SEC filing from Intermix. In addition, the NYAG is concerned that the downloads are too difficult for consumers to remove.

Now, most antispyware outfits including Webroot Software would label a piece of software "spyware" by those criteria, even if the program didn't monitor users' personal information.

But Intermix is surely invested in avoiding the wrath of Elliot Spitzer's office.

Hence: "The company has decided to cease distribution of its redirect and toolbar applications pending a thorough review of the issues raised by the NY AG's office. The Company will not reintroduce those applications as downloads until every precaution is taken to ensure that users are fully informed about and consent to the installation of the applications during the download process and that the applications, once installed, can be located and removed easily," according to the press release.

Distribution of Intermix's search toolbar is not core to the company's fiscal 2006 outlook, according to Intermix. But if action were to ensue, it could face civil fines, among other damages.