For ease of analysis, a “sliding scale” approach has been adopted. Zippo Manufacturing Co. v. Zippo Dot Com, Inc., 952 F. Supp. 1119 (W.D. Pa. 1997). At one end, jurisdiction may be asserted if the [nonresident] defendant transacts business in [the forum state] via an interactive website where contracts are completed online and the defendant derives profi ts directly from web-related activity. At the opposite end of the scale, jurisdiction does not attach where the nonresident maintains a passive website that merely provides information about the defendant’s products.


Between these types of websites lies a third category that is interactive, in that it allows customers [in whatever states they are located] to communicate regarding the defendant’s services or products. This third category may or may not be sufficient to assert in personam jurisdiction, depending on the level of interactivity and the commercial nature of the information exchanged. It is clear to us that defendants’ website falls within the third category. If defendants’ commercial website inviting prospective puppy purchasers to communicate with them by e-mail were the full extent of their Internet activity, we would not find sufficient purposeful contacts with Illinois to assert long-arm jurisdiction.


However, the pleadings at issue establish that defendants’ activity in the Tibetan mastiff chat rooms also concerned the dog breeding business and should be considered, especially since defendants’ messages in the chat rooms pertained to the lineage of plaintiffs’ AKC-registered, “breeding quality” pup in Illinois.