inome

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inome
Type Privately held company
Industry Information commerce
Genre Electronic commerce
Founded January 2003
Founders Naveen Jain, John Arnold, Ed Petersen, Kevin Marcus, Niraj Shah, Chandan Chauhan
Headquarters Bellevue, Washington,
United States
Area served United States
Key people Bill Owens, Chairman
Rich Karlgaard, Director
Chris Kitze, Director
Georgette Mosbacher, Director
Paul Cook, CFO
Peter Currie, Director
Bill Kerr, Chief Corporate Officer
Peter Currie, Director
Arthur Harrigan, Director
Products Date Check App
Services Background checks, Identity theft protection
Revenue $128,000,000 (2008)
Employees 350[1]
Website www.inome.com

inome (previously "Intelius, Inc.") is a public records business headquartered in Bellevue, Washington, United States.[1] It provides information services, including background checks and identity theft protection, and post transaction marketing.[2] inome, founded by former InfoSpace executives, was started in 2003. Although concerns from consumer groups between 2008 and 2010 had drawn negative attention to inome, the company continued to work towards an Initial Public Offering and won awards from the business community.

History[edit]

Founded as Intelius in 2003[3] by six former Infospace executives: Naveen Jain, Kevin Marcus, Niraj Shah, Ed Petersen, Chandan Chauhan and John Arnold.[4] Jain was then sued by InfoSpace for allegedly violating noncompete agreements, mishandling business-specific secrets and interfering with InfoSpace's customer relationships.[5] The judge ruled in favor of Jain, citing a lack of "clear and convincing evidence" that there was a violation of noncompete agreements.[6]

Intelius filed a registration statement on January 10, 2008 for an initial public offering to raise up to $143.75 million.[7] The plans were withdrawn October 2010.[8]

In late 2010, Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer Kevin Marcus left the company to form Versium.[9]

In October 2011, Jain stated that an IPO might be in the company's future in 2012.[10]

In November 2011, Intelius purchased the Facebook genealogy app Family Builder.[11] During the same month, the company announced the inclusion of TrueRep to its services. This program allows consumers to provide explanations for any indiscretions on their records.[12][13][14]

In 2012, Intelius was renamed inome, and the Intelius name was assigned to the division focusing on online background checks.[15]

Background check market[edit]

For more details on this topic, see Background check.

Background Checks for Dating[edit]

Intelius targets marketing for consumers with an interest in dating, especially online dating. It provides background checks and verification of identity under the InteliSign brand.[16] Industry experts point out the advertising campaign's reliance on "scare tactics".[1][17] Intelius has created an application for mobile devices that allows users to do a quick background check on a potential date.[18]

Employer Background Checks[edit]

On December 5, 2006, Intelius enlarged its employment screening market with its acquisition of Bothell, Washington's IntelliSense Corporation, integrating an infrastructure capable of international background information, fingerprinting and drug screening to complement its previous capabilities for small and medium businesses.[19]

On April 30, 2009, Intelius acquired Spock, a people-oriented search engine.[20]

Controversies[edit]

Class action lawsuits[edit]

On September 30, 2009, before the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, a class action lawsuit was filed alleging that Intelius automatically enrolled California consumers into programs of its partner, Adaptive Marketing, without permission.[21] The complaint showed evidence as to how the defendants allegedly automatically charged California consumers' credit cards for "memberships" and intentionally frustrated the victims' abilities to dispute the charges.[22]

On October 19, 2009, in the Federal Court in Seattle, Intelius was accused of violating Washington's Consumer Protection Act. This lawsuit stated that Intelius engaged in misleading messages on its website. Such conduct allegedly led consumers to unknowingly receive charges from Intelius' partner, Adaptive Marketing. The suit, filed by Washington resident Bruce Keithly and Ohio residents Donovon Lee and Edith Cramer, claimed that after purchasing background reports through Intelius the plaintiffs were each charged a $19.95 monthly fee for subscription services which were not requested. While Intelius has publicly stated a disassociation with Adaptive Marketing, the outcome of this lawsuit is still pending.[23]

Cellular phone directory[edit]

In early 2008, Intelius came under scrutiny for providing access to private cellular phone numbers culled from a variety of sources.[24] In response, Verizon threatened a lawsuit over posting consumer phone numbers without consent.[25] On February 1, 2008, the cellular phone directory was removed from the company website.[26][27]

Post-transaction marketing[edit]

Washington State Attorney General and the Better Business Bureau received over 900 complaints about Intelius as of March 2009. Most complaints involved the practice of "post-transaction marketing." Partly due to concerns about Intelius, Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna requested legislation aimed at stopping what he calls "deceptive" Internet marketing.[28]

On August 10, 2010, Washington settled with Intelius for $1.3 million and any Washington consumers affected by post-transaction marketing will be contacted regarding refunds.[29]

Opt-out policy[edit]

Criticism has also arisen due to the difficult nature of "opting out" of being listed on Intelius.[26] The company's website states that "Intelius does not usually offer individuals the opportunity to permanently remove their publicly available information from our public records databases."[30] Instead, the website states that the personal information may be suppressed by a user's request after he or she mails or faxes a notarized letter and copy of his or her photo identification, in order to confirm the person's identity.[26]

Consumer complaints[edit]

The Better Business Bureau of Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington has cataloged numerous complaints about the company's customer service, including a continual refusal to provide refunds to customers who claim not to have requested or received the services that they paid for.[31] Additional complaints have been made about misleading advertising and background information that has been inaccurate or out-of-date. According to the BBB, the company is not a member, and does not always respond when contacted by them.[32]

Recognition[edit]

In 2008, Intelius was a finalist for the Stevie Award for "Best New Product or Service."[33]

In 2009, the company was listed among the "500 Fastest Growing Private Companies" by Inc. Magazine.[34] That same year, the Puget Sound Business Journal mentioned Intelius as a "2009 Best Places to Work" finalist.[35]

In December 2011, Intelius was awarded the Red Herring Top 100 Global Award.[36][37]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Nina Shapiro (2007). "Intelius Says it's Capable of Conducting a Full Background Check on Anyone". Seattle Weekly. Retrieved 2007-04-13. 
  2. ^ John Swartz; Byron Acohido (2007-04-02). "Who's guarding your data in the cybervault?". USA Today. Retrieved 2007-04-07. 
  3. ^ "Intelius’ Naveen Jain Turns to Moon Mining, Philanthropy". IndiaWest.com. May 9, 2011. Retrieved June 7, 2011. 
  4. ^ David Heath and Sharon Pian Chan (2005-03-07). "Dot-con job: How InfoSpace took its investors for a ride Part 2 - Cashing Out". Seattle Times. Retrieved 2009-01-08. 
  5. ^ Sharon Pian Chan (2003-05-21). "Judge denies bid to bar Jain from work at InfoSpace rival". Seattle Times. Retrieved 2009-01-08. 
  6. ^ John Cook (2003). "InfoSpace founder wins round". Seattle PI. Retrieved 2009-01-08. [dead link]
  7. ^ Julie Vorman (2008-01-10). "Intelius plans IPO of up to $143.75 mln - SEC filing". Reuters. Retrieved 2008-01-10. 
  8. ^ "Intelius withdraws plans for IPO". The Seattle Times. 2010-10-15. Retrieved 2011-08-24. 
  9. ^ "About Versium|Versium About". 
  10. ^ John Cook (2011-10-25). "Intelius CEO Naveen Jain: IPO could be in the cards in 2012". Geekwire.com. Retrieved 2011-11-07. 
  11. ^ John Cook (2011-10-25). "Intelius quietly buys Facebook genealogy app Family Builder". Geekwire.com. Retrieved 2011-11-09. 
  12. ^ Greg Lamm (2011-11-15). "Got a blotch on your record? Intelius lets you explain". Puget Sound Business Journal. Retrieved 2011-11-20. 
  13. ^ "Next Generation of TrueRep Empowers Individuals to Add Comments to Background Checks on Themselves". Business Wire. 2011-11-15. Retrieved 2011-11-20. 
  14. ^ "Next Generation of TrueRep Empowers Individuals to Add Comments to Background Checks on Themselves". Market Watch. 2011-11-15. Retrieved 2011-11-20. 
  15. ^ Cook, John (2012-06-10). "Meet Inome: The latest thing to sprout from Naveen Jain". GeekWire. Retrieved 2013-09-18. 
  16. ^ Sara Kehaulani Goo (2007). "Dinner, Movie, Background Check for Online Daters". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2007-04-17. 
  17. ^ Mandy Stadtmiller (2006). "Check Mate - More Women Paying To Investigate Dates". The New York Post. Archived from the original on 2007-02-27. Retrieved 2007-04-17. 
  18. ^ Ubergizmo (2010). "Intelius DateCheck Software". Ubergizmo. Retrieved 2010-02-17. 
  19. ^ "Intelius Expands Applications for Fortune 500 Customers Through Acquisition of IntelliSense Corporation". December 4, 2006. Retrieved August 18, 2011. 
  20. ^ Lisa Hoover (2009). "Spock sale sparks privacy concerns". Computerworld. Retrieved 2010-02-17. 
  21. ^ Michael Arrington (2008). "Naveen Jain's Latest Scam: Intelius,". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2008-11-29. 
  22. ^ Nina Shapiro (2009). "Internet Wizard Loses His Magic: Intelius Hit with Two Class Action Suits". Seattle Weekly. Retrieved 2010-02-17. 
  23. ^ Intelius hit with another lawsuit as it alters marketing tactics
  24. ^ Alex Johnson (2008). "Cell phone directory rings alarm bells". MSNBC. Retrieved 2008-02-29. 
  25. ^ Jeffrey Nelson; Debra Lewis (2008-01-29). "Verizon Wireless Calls For Halt To Data Mining Of Wireless Phone Numbers". Verizon. Retrieved 2009-05-01. 
  26. ^ a b c Suzanne Choney (2008). "Company shuts down cell phone directory". MSNBC. Retrieved 2008-02-29. 
  27. ^ Svensson, Peter (2/4/2008). "Cell-phone directory assistance closing". USA Today. Retrieved 2009-05-01. 
  28. ^ "Intelius and the Dubious Art of "Post-Transaction Marketing"". Seattle Weekly. March 17, 2009. Retrieved 2009-07-21. 
  29. ^ Chris Grygiel (2010-08-09). "'Deceptive' Intelius cheated thousands of people". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved 2010-08-10. 
  30. ^ "How can I remove my information from the Intelius public records databases?". Intelius. Retrieved 2008-02-29. 
  31. ^ "Seattle Weekly: Intelius and the Dubious Art of "Post-Transaction Marketing"". Retrieved 2009-03-19. 
  32. ^ "BBB Reliability Report for Intelius Inc". Better Business Bureau. Retrieved 2011-05-28. 
  33. ^ American Business Awards
  34. ^ Intelius in Inc. Magazine
  35. ^ Intelius on Puget Sound Business Journal
  36. ^ "Intelius CEO Naveen Jain Honored with Lifetime Achievement Award". The Times of India. December 23, 2011. Retrieved January 2, 2012. 
  37. ^ "Intelius Receives Red Herring Top 100 Global Award". Reuters. December 9, 2011. Retrieved January 2, 2012.