JuicyCampus to face investigation in New Jersey

The New Jersey attorney general is investigating JuicyCampus.com for what it calls “unconscionable commercial practices,” according to a statement from her office.

JuicyCampus and the companies associated with it have been subpoenaed, according to a statement from the office released Tuesday.

The college gossip Web site allow users to anonymously post comments on message boards geared toward specific supported colleges, including TCU.

According to the statement, New Jersey is “investigating whether JuicyCampus.com is violating the state’s Consumer Fraud Act through unconscionable commercial practices and misrepresentations to users.”

The subpoena requests that Lime Blue of Reno, Nev., which owns JuicyCampus, reveal how the site chooses the colleges it features, how the users’ school affiliations are identified and how parental-consent forms are implemented.

The attorney general’s office didn’t return calls seeking more details about the subpoena.

The statement said JuicyCampus contains “uncomplimentary references to the physical characteristics, race, ethnicity and implied sexual experiences of students.”

It also said though JuicyCampus warns against posting offensive content, the site doesn’t have tools to track such matters.

The office also subpoenaed JuicyCampus’ most recent advertising provider, AdBrite, requesting the details of the business relationship between the two, according to the statement. Requested materials include how JuicyCampus represented itself to AdBrite, including the types of ads requested by JuicyCampus.

Philip Kaplan, the founder of AdBrite, said in an e-mail that Adbrite removed its program from JuicyCampus three weeks ago, well before the subpoena was issued.

He wrote that JuicyCampus had violated AdBrite’s acceptable-use policy.

AdBrite agreed to cooperate fully with the investigation, New Jersey Attorney General Anne Milgram told the Associated Press.

JuicyCampus founder Matt Ivester said in an earlier interview with the Skiff on Feb. 28 that AdBrite knew what it was getting into with its partnership with JuicyCampus.

“They’re completely aware of the content,” Ivester said. “We don’t foresee any future issues.”

Google provided ads for JuicyCampus before AdBrite and was also supoenaed. Like Adbrite, Google pulled its advertising application, AdSense, from JuicyCampus, citing the site’s content.