If internet printable coupon sellers thought they could continue to operate in the shadows, hiding behind enigmatic and ever-changing usernames on various social media sites, they’ve got another thing coming. The company that owns Coupons.com says it has uncovered the identity of one particular “coupon fairy” – and now expects to see her in court.

You may recall the lawsuit that Quotient Technology filed last month, against an unnamed coupon seller offering “unlimited IP (internet printable) coupons” on Instagram. She, and many others who call themselves “coupon fairies” or “IP fairies”, have devised ways to circumvent coupon providers’ print limits in order to get as many unique coupon prints as they’d like – which they then sell online.

Quotient says it sent this particular seller a cease and desist order, and never heard back. So the company filed a federal lawsuit, in order to ascertain her identity. “Quotient expects to be able to identify Defendant by serving third-party discovery on the ISP to which Quotient has traced Defendant’s device’s IP address, as well as Instagram and, if necessary, other third parties identified in Defendant’s Instagram posts,” Quotient’s lawsuit read.

Turns out they didn’t even have to do all that. They just found her on Facebook.

“IP sales will now only be posted on my IG account,” a Facebook post dated back on June 1st read. “My IG name is: i_slay_ips.”

That’s one of the many usernames the defendant had used on Instagram. And here she was identifying it as her username, in a Facebook post – using her real name.

Mystery solved.

Quotient has now amended its lawsuit, and has issued a summons to a Melanie S. of Ohio (her name and hometown are part of the public record, but as a private citizen accused in a civil case, Coupons in the News has opted not to publish her full name at this time).


A single internet-connected device typically gets you two unique prints of a Coupons.com offer. But Melanie S. had “discovered or developed a method of circumventing Quotient’s device-based print limits, by deceiving Quotient’s servers into perceiving that Defendant had thousands of different devices,” Quotient’s lawsuit states. As a result, she was able to “obtain thousands of additional digital printable coupons” that Quotient alleges she then sold online, under the username “i_slay_ips” and at least a half-dozen others.

“i_slay_ips” is now known as “savings.galore” on Instagram. The new account was created shortly after the lawsuit was filed, and before the account holder’s alleged identity was discovered. “savings.galore” was still offering printable coupons for sale as of a couple of weeks ago, along with bulk coupon inserts. But then the posts and the offers stopped – possibly because of the lawsuit, or possibly because of new changes that Coupons.com recently made in its systems to help enforce its print limits.

Now, Quotient wants to make sure that the selling has stopped for good. It plans to request a court injunction, ordering Melanie S. to refrain from printing and selling coupons altogether, no matter what username she chooses. “Defendant appears to have disabled some of her Instagram accounts, deleted posts she had made to those accounts, and moved her illicit sales activity to other Instagram accounts,” Quotient’s amended lawsuit reads. “Defendant’s conduct demonstrates that it is necessary and appropriate for this Court to enjoin Defendant to prevent future violations of her legal obligations.”

Quotient accuses Melanie S. of violating state and federal computer fraud acts, and misappropriation, for “appropriating for herself the substantial investment of time, effort, and expense that Quotient has expended.” The amended complaint omits the original lawsuit’s breach of contract claim, which accused the defendant of violating Coupons.com’s terms of use, to which she agreed when she downloaded Coupons.com’s printing software.

The company is seeking unspecified compensatory, statutory and/or punitive damages, as well as any profits that Melanie S. may have earned from the sale of its coupons.

A peek at Melanie S.’s Facebook page reveals what appears to be a picture-perfect family – mom Melanie, her happy husband and three young kids. You’d be hard-pressed to imagine her as a hardened criminal running a black-market coupon ring in order to rake in piles of illicit dough. And with only a few hundred Instagram followers, as compared to other “fairies” who have tens of thousands, she can’t be making that much money. One can picture her thinking it was a fine idea to print and sell some extra coupons to help support her growing family.

None of that excuses any alleged illicit activity on her part, especially given her deliberate efforts to evade detection (if you believe what you’re doing isn’t wrong, then why not do it out in the open?) But now that Quotient is putting a name and a face to its previously unidentified adversary, the optics of a big corporation going after a suburban “coupon mom” could complicate Quotient’s efforts to make an example out of her.

For her part, the target of the lawsuit maintains her innocence. “I do not believe any wrong is being done by selling legitimate coupons that have unique PIN numbers,” the defendant – whose username at the time was “pdf_queen” – told Coupons in the News last month. She and others like her “are only using our computers and not altering their software or hacking into their systems,” she said.

That’s an argument she’ll be able to make in court. But if the prospect of losing a federal lawsuit, and paying big bucks to a litigious corporation, prompts her and other “IP fairies” to cut their losses and quit selling coupons altogether – then Quotient may already have won.

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