Pa. settles with Miley Cyrus fan club Web site

March 13, 2009 8:04:10 AM PDT
A Tennessee marketing firm is giving nearly 1,000 fans of pop singer Miley Cyrus free four-month extensions to their online fan club memberships in a deceptive practices settlement with the state attorney general's office.

Hundreds of Pennsylvanians complained to the attorney general when they couldn't buy tickets during fan club pre-sales for Hannah Montana concerts in December 2007 at Wachovia Center in Philadelphia and January 2008 at Mellon Arena in Pittsburgh.

Hannah Montana is the television and concert alter ego of Cyrus, the 16-year-old daughter of country singer Billy Ray Cyrus.

The pre-sales were advertised as a perk of joining Cyrus' Mileyworld.com Web site for a $29.95 yearly membership fee. The fan club continued advertising the perk even after blocks of tickets reserved for pre-sales were sold out, attorney general's spokesman Nils Frederiksen said Thursday. "All those people joined the fan club thinking they had a chance of getting those tickets when they didn't have a snowball's chance in Tennessee of getting those tickets," Frederiksen said.

Interactive Media Marketing Inc. of Nashville runs the fan club site. It agreed to the free membership extensions as part of an 11-page settlement the attorney general's office filed Tuesday in Allegheny County Common Pleas Court in Pittsburgh.

The company isn't admitting wrongdoing, but will also pay a $20,000 civil penalty.

The fan club must also post this notice prominently on the fan club site whenever it advertises ticket sales: PURCHASE OF A MILEYWORLD FAN CLUB MEMBERSHIP DOES NOT GUARANTEE ACCESS TO TICKETS.

The Associated Press could not immediately locate a telephone number or e-mail address for Interactive Media Marketing or its president, Jason Gluck, who signed the settlement papers. Gluck's home telephone in Nashville is unlisted.

More than 700 Pennsylvanians complained to the attorney general's office about not getting tickets through the fan club pre-sales.

Investigators determined 966 people joined the fan club during the separate three-day pre-sale events for the Pennsylvania concerts in September 2007. Those fans are getting the free membership extension, Frederiksen said.

"We can't tell how many of those people were joining the fan club specifically to buy tickets, but there's a high likelihood that was one of the reasons they were joining," Frederiksen said. "In essence, part of their fan club purchase was useless."

Frederiksen said a national class action lawsuit against the fan club resulted in a free two-month extension for members. That means the members included in the attorney general's settlement will get a total of six months' free membership in the club.

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