Where do adware vendors get their ads? Follow the money
Surely some of the advertisers whose products appear as adware delivered popups must be aware of what's going on. The question is, how many? A new report (PDF) from the Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT) claims that many advertisers work directly with adware companies, and those that don't often work through only a single intermediary. The bottom line is that these companies should know exactly what they're jumping into.
The study was done by setting up two computers in the CDT office in Washington. One computer used the Zango Search Assistant (from Zango, formerly 180solutions) to display pop-up ads, while the other had the Best Offers Network (from DirectRevenue). Scripts on each computer visited several hundred popular web pages over the course of 10 days and recorded all pop-up ads. The setup generated 380 ads—ads appeared 73 percent of the time. The computers recorded the re-direction path for each one, which produced a series of URLs that showed which advertising and affiliate networks the ad was passed through.
The results were surprising. 55 percent of the displayed ads had no intermediaries at all, implying that the marketing department of a company had signed a direct contract with an adware firm. Another 25 percent of the ads had only a single intermediary, while 16 percent had two. Where do adware vendors get their ads? Follow the money
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