Pop-Under Pioneer Bankrupt

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X10 Wireless Technology Inc., a pioneer of pop-under advertising on the Web, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, listing more than $10 million in debt.


The Oct. 21 filing came a day after the Kent, WA, Webcam company lost a lawsuit brought by three California brothers who claimed X10 stole their technology for serving pop-under advertising. X10 was ordered to pay $4.3 million in compensatory damages, and a jury was to consider punitive damages Oct. 29.


X10 rose to prominence in 2001 by pioneering pop-under advertising, often cited by Internet users as one of their least-favorite aspects of the Internet. The company's surveillance camera ads became so ubiquitous that in June 2001 X10.com rose to No. 4 on one Internet measurement service's list of the most-visited Web sites.


In its bankruptcy filing, X10 estimates assets of $1 million to $10 million, and debt of $10 million to $50 million. Chief among its creditors is Advertising Banners.com, the company operated by the men who sued X10, which is owed $3.9 million. Other big Internet names made the creditor list, including Google, Yahoo and Microsoft.


Under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, a company can continue its daily operations while it reorganizes its finances. A bankruptcy court must approve all major business decisions.


X10's bankruptcy attorney was unavailable for comment.


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