Phoenix man goes toe-to-toe with Facebook over app

Posted at 8:35 AM, Jun 05, 2012

Phoenix (KPHO) — Every time you log onto Facebook, you see ads that are specifically designed for you. A Phoenix man has come up with a way to hijack those ads and replace them with other ads that companies have paid him to promote. And Facebook isn’t happy about it. 

“Nobody’s monetizing off of this?” Dru Mundorff asked himself. “Why?” It’s a question that inspired Mundorff to create LilyJade, a browser plug-in named after his two daughters that changes the ads you see on popular websites.

“Completely delete their ads with an ad-blocking system and then replace them with our ads,” he said.

Imagine you have a company and you want to advertise on the internet. You pay LilyJade $1,000, and all of the people who have installed the plug-in on their browsers will see your ads on sites like Facebook. But why would someone install LilyJade?

“We have built-in ad blocking for porn sites,” Mundorff said. Oftentimes if you click a link to watch a video off Facebook, you’re led to another window that says: “Are you sure you want to download this?” That’s how LilyJade works – some people may not even realize they are downloading it. But Mundorff said LilyJade is all about supporting a cause – helping the little guy make money. In this case, Facebook loses money, so they’ve sent Mundorff a cease-and-desist letter.

“I’ll fight it 100 percent,” he said. “I’ve actually already told them multiple times, ‘Send me to court.'”

“It is legal right now,” said Aaron Kelly, an attorney who has represented several internet startups who have gone toe-to-toe with Facebook. He has also offered to help Mundorff. He told us the laws regarding plug-ins like LilyJade are a little blurry and even though the terms of service Mundorff has put in place protect him, he’s going up against some pretty big dogs.

“They do not let up, so Dru is in for a fight,” he said.

LilyJade is still in its beta – or test – phase, but it officially goes live on Monday.