Class Action Suit May Derail Concentric, 9 Net Ave. Deal

Thousands of people that trusted their Web site hosting services to 9 Net Avenue Inc. are about to get
their day in court for an alleged junk fax incident that took place this
past summer.

A class-action lawsuit has been filed against 9 Net Avenue and Concentric Network Corp.
for allegedly sending unsolicited facsimile advertisements between June 9
and June 11.

Giordano, Halleran & Ciesla, P.C. opened the suit, brought on behalf of
John R. Levine earlier this week, before the Superior Court of New Jersey.
The two companies have been ordered to show cause as to why financial
relief should not be granted to the plaintiffs by the court.

A court date scheduled for mid-November may determine whether the proceeds
from the sale of 9 Net Ave. to Concentric (CNCX), are at risk as a result of the suit.
Kurt Anderson, Giordano, Halleran & Ciesla attorney representing Levine,
said that more people are likely to join the suite against 9 Net Avenue
because they knowingly violated the law.

“We believe that there are hundreds if not thousands of recipients of these
faxes. We believe that 9 Net Avenue did this knowingly and that they
intended to violate the law,” Anderson said.

Under U.S. law, it is illegal to use any telephone facsimile machine,
computer, or other device to send an unsolicited advertisement to any
equipment that has the capacity to transcribe the text or images from an
electronic signal received over a regular telephone line onto paper.

Anderson said the law allows individuals to sue the sender of such illegal
“junk fax mail” for $500 per copy.

“This law is a consumer protections privacy protections law designed to
stop companies from essentially transferring their advertising costs to the
recipients of the faxes,” Anderson said.” We are representing people who
did not give their permission to receive these advertisements from 9 Net
Avenue, these faxes were unsolicited.”

Informal reports concerning the 9 Net Avenue suite said that the total
damages could run into the millions for the recently acquired Web hosting
company. Representatives for 9 Net Avenue have offered no comments on the
case at this time.

Concentric is named as a defendant in the suit because the e-business
solution provider acquired New-Jersey-based 9 Net Avenue on October 18, 1999.

Concentric purchased 9 Net Avenue’s assets and certain liabilities, but the
company contends it did not assume liabilities of this nature in the
transaction. In a statement regarding the lawsuit, Concentric said they
believe that the lawsuit naming Concentric as a defendant is without merit.

“Concentric has a well-deserved reputation of strongly opposing any sort of
unsolicited electronic advertising or spamming,” the statement read. “It
obtained the first ever injunction prohibiting a company from sending junk
email to its subscribers, and its user agreement is among the strongest in
the nation with regard to prohibiting abusive email marketing practices.”

Concentric paid approximately $51.8 million dollars in stock and cash for
the assets of 9 Net Avenue and assumed approximately $9.9 million in
liabilities in the acquisition. With the deal complete, Concentric has more than
188,000 registered domains and over 104,000 hosted Web sites, making it the
second largest Web hosting and e-commerce solution provider in the U.S.

Levine, Internet for Dummies co-author, writes, lectures,
and consults on the Internet and related computer topics. Since 1997 Levine
has been a board member of the Coalition
Against Unsolicited Commercial E-mail,
a anti-spam Internet advocacy
group. He also operates the Network Abuse
a free service that helps Internet users report and abusive online behavior.

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