Consumer rating service Angie's List is suing a rival start-up over a data theft claim.


The suit alleges that Christopher Cody, founder of Washington, D.C.-based, joined Angie's List as a regular member, and then used an automated bot software program to harvest service-provider reports, ratings and other information which were then used for


Cheryl Reed, spokesperson for Angie's List, said: “We consider it industrial espionage. He came in to use technology to basically cut and paste reports.”


Angie's List did not put a dollar value on the damage caused by the alleged incident, but according to the Computer Security Institute, such incidents can typically cost companies up to $350,000 each in damage.


Cody's attorney Tony Paganelli disputes the allegations, and declined to comment on the lawsuit, saying: “We dispute the allegations, and we intend to defend against them vigorously.”


According to the lawsuit, through his Angie's List membership Cody accessed 9,278 service-provider files from the Angie's List site using a bot program in multiple sessions. In one instance, between midnight and 2 a.m on 3 December, he used the program to access 2,451 profiles.


Cheryl Reed emphasised that personal and financial information of Angie's List customers or service providers was not compromised.