Claria - How a pop-up pariah won the adware wars
Back in 2002, Gator was one of the most reviled companies on the Net. Maker of a free app called eWallet, the firm was under fire for distributing what critics called spyware, code that covertly monitors a user's Web-surfing habits and uploads the data to a remote server. People who downloaded Gator eWallet soon found their screens inundated with pop-up ads ostensibly of interest to them because of Web sites they had visited. Removing eWallet didn't stop the torrent of pop-ups. Mounting complaints attracted the attention of the Federal Trade Commission. Online publishers sued the company for obscuring their Web sites with pop-ups. In a June 2002 legal brief filed with the lawsuit, attorneys for The Washington Post referred to Gator as a "parasite." ZDNet called it a "scourge."
Today Gator, now called Claria, is a rising star. The lawsuits have been settled - with negligible impact on the company's business - and Claria serves ads for names like JPMorgan Chase, Sony, and Yahoo! The Wall Street Journal praises the company for "making strides in revamping itself." Earlier this year, The New York Times reported that Microsoft came close to acquiring Claria. Google acknowledges Claria's technology in recent patent applications. Wired 13.12: Don't Call It Spyware
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