New York state attorney-general Eliot Spitzer, a latterday Wild Bill Hickok and scourge of business bad guys, has drawn his six-shooter and is aiming it straight between the eyes of a Los Angeles-based internet marketing company that plants adware on the computers of unsuspecting consumers.

Spitzer, who is said to have gubernatorial ambitions, has filed a lawsuit against Intermix Media, accusing the firm of covertly invading consumers' computers with software that allows it to deliver popup ads and spyware. It also diverts internet users to its own sites.

According to the complaint filed by Spitzer's office, Intermix lures unsuspecting consumers into its clutches by offering them free games, screensavers and other programs. Those stupid enough to fall for this also also unknowingly download surreptitious spyware and adware programs.

Wild Bill Spitzer growls that these sinister implants are "more than an annoyance, [they] foul machines, undermine productivity" and threaten to hinder the growth of online commerce.

Traditionalists also like to think that Wild Bill added: "This web ain't big enough fer the two of us."

Data sourced from Financial Times Online; additional content by WARC staff