Bam! Claria Wins One

Claria Press Release

In January 2005, McAfee issued a report on the top threats for 2004 and inadvertently labeled Gator software as a malicious threat. Since Claria’s GAIN ad-supported software provides high consumer value and requires user permission and consent, these applications clearly do not pose any malicious threat. McAfee addressed their error in a release issued today by the McAfee AVERT team. Claria has also requested that McAfee adjust their criteria to not penalize ad-supported software that is “popular” and has “scale” — factors that appear to contribute to ad-supported software being included into McAfee’s category of Potentially Unwanted Programs.

Adjab:

Claria says McAfee taking away their “thumbs down”

Claria, makers of free ad-supported software, stated Monday that McAfee has changed its tune on the company’s products, no longer calling them a “malicious threat.” This is possibly the first step for Claria to build a more positive image to their brand, which took a big hit when it was known as Gator a few years back.

What is McAfee thinking? Here’s some background info on Claria:

Claria and 180solutions Misleading Installations

Claria’s Misleading Installation Methods

The cost of spyware

Claria, which used to be called Gator, is one of the most notorious publishers of adware (got to be careful there, the company has apparently taken to suing anyone who calls its code spyware). Gator has long been one of the poster bad boys of the adware world.

The reason it is still in the game? Adware pays. In fact, just a couple of weeks ago, Claria filed for an IPO to raise $150 million to continue developing what the company is pleased to call a behavioral marketing platform.

Gator/Claria Spyware Firm Officer Appointed to DHS Privacy Advisory Board!!

In a stunning example of lobby influence over voters interests, the Department of Homelad Security has appointed the “Privacy Officer” of Claria Networks (formerly known as Gator Networks) to the Data Privacy and Integrity Advisory Committee.

And here’s a pdf article on spyware:

RevenueToday: Stumped About Stopping Spyware

Affiliates are finding that spyware is stealing their cookies, their customers and their commissions.

If the politicians and the virus companies want to start legitimizing this stuff, an affiliate has only one choice: start putting the heat on merchants and look at boycotting those who allow parasites into their programs. And it’s also another wakeup call to find something other than cookies to track sales.

Or time to get real aggressive and drum up other methods of generating income online that doesn’t involve dealing with this crap.

Entrepreneur and Hacker Arrested for Online Sabotage

Well here’s one way to eliminate the competition I guess:

The Case Of The Hired Hacker

Our “Entrepreneur” was still living at home with his parents when he launched two online sports apparel businesses specializing in “retroâ€? or “throwbackâ€? sports jerseys. These jerseys are a booming, multi-billion dollar industry, crowded with competitors, and in the early going he was selling only a couple shirts a day—at $200 to $300 a pop.

Then he allegedly came up with a plan to jumpstart sales. Did it involve expanding his inventory? Overhauling his web sites? Launching a marketing blitz? Nope. Our Entrepreneur took another tack entirely. He went out and hired a hacker.

I didn’t realize hacking came so cheap:

The agreed-upon payment for his services? A watch and several pairs of knock-off designer sneakers.

I think I’ll blame this on Google too. 😆 [joking]

Thanks to ABestWeb for finding the article

Content Unchecked – Thank You

So how many of these ‘traffic exchanges’ are in the wild do you think? And how many of them know *just the right keywords* to use on their pages to grab those high bids?

One more reason to *uncheck* content on your adwords – thank you. What I’ve done too is really *lower* my cost per click so that I’m either too low to be of interest to these guys (and let my competition pay the bill), or they’ll have to click like mad to get more than $5 from me. But I hardly ever do content.

See this thread at Digital Point Forums Check this TOS violation out…

Blurb from the Googleplex site:

If You Currently Have Pay Per Click Advertising On Your Website You Have Come To The Right Place. By Using Googlepex. com Your Advertising Will Really Pay Off! Add Your Website To Our Program For Free And Watch Your Adsense Or Other Advertising Programs Potential Increase Overnite!

Plus this post with another ‘traffic exchange’ Google knows “Click Fraud”

Here’s Swap Click’s frisky service:

Our members visit other members’ websites and see what they have to offer and then check out their competitor’s ads that are listed on their site to check out the member’s competition.

Gooooood Grief!

Remember that these types of sites multiply faster than rabbits. Google’s a smart bunch of people, but they’re being outclicked and outsmarted. On your dollar.

ETA: July 24th – The spam drivebys for this site have succeeded in closing the comments section down for this blog entry. It’s too bad – a good convo is always better than nonsense.

Xblock Spazbox Investigation

This is a long (and disturbing) piece with lots of resources to read. Wayne Porter starts off with:

Prepare for a digital journey into computing hell…

SpazBox- Just Because You Don’t see it Doesn’t Mean It Isn’t There

My team spent this weekend doing a lot of research on a curious domain called spazbox. net (Warning- do not visit the site unless your defenses are optimized). It was truly an enigma in terms of drive-by downloads and that is what attracted my team to the site.

*I killed the live link to spazbox in the quote, so if you *really* want to go there, you know what you need to do.

A digital journey into computing hell – that about sums things up doesn’t it? Unbelievable what people are doing out there just to make money.

Phishing For Shoppers

Supermarkets Next In Line For Phishing Attacks

Online retailers are likely to become the next target of ‘phishing’ scams, UK police warned last weekend. Scam emails that form the basis of phishing attacks attempt to trick users into handing over their account details and passwords. First seen in the UK approximately 18 months ago, phishing emails are becoming increasingly sophisticated, directing users to bogus websites which accurately reproduce the look and feel of legitimate sites. Up till now online banking websites or auction sites such as eBay have been the main target but the National Hi-Tech Crime Unit warns online retailers that they need to be on their guard, the Mail on Sunday reports.

Crooks Targeting Internet Shoppers

Tony Neate, the unit’s industry liaison officer, said: ‘We have warned all the big retailers that we consider them to be the next targets and are helping them to secure their sites against the attacks we think are coming. We are working with the online retailers, but are also working to educate their customers and make them aware of the problems.’

Thanks to TechDirt for the heads up.

Apparently, phishers are discovering that they can’t get the same bang for the spam when sending out phishing emails pretending to come from various banks, so they’re looking to move on to various online retail establishments.

Lots Of Spyware & Adware News

So while Google is building adware (think: AutoLink), AOL/Advertising.com is dumping it and the FTC is putting ‘firms on notice’. A few articles:

AOL Gets Out Of The Adware Advertising Business

Advertising.com Drops Adware

AOL’s Advertising.Com Ends Relationships With Adware Companies

AMERICA ONLINE’S ADVERTISING.COM QUIETLY STOPPED doing business with adware companies such as Claria, WhenU, and 180solutions last year, OnlineMediaDaily has learned. The move, confirmed by AOL, happened last fall–after the Dulles, Va.-based portal company acquired the ad network Advertising.com in August for $435 million.

FTC Tentatively Defines Spyware, Puts Firms on Notice for Deception, Omission

Adware seems to have been the sticking point in differences among the FTC’s panel members, the speakers putting forth “a range of views as to whether and when adware should be classified as spyware.” Some put some adware firms into the spyware bucket based on disclosure practices. Some took adware firms out of the category because the applications didn’t monitor behavior. Others seemed to think anything that generated pop-up ads, “regardless of whether consumers are bombarded with such ads or just occasionally receive such ads,” must be spyware.

Let’s hope that AOL will be leading the pack of ‘big names’ that want to disassociate themselves from the taint of adware/spyware.

Knock Knock Knock Hello Amazon? Do you *really* wanna be part of some funky autolink tool?