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Old 06-30-2005, 11:17 AM   #1
trafficguy
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Default Microsoft Said to Be in Talks to Buy Adware Developer

The company that Microsoft has pursued is controversial: Claria, an adware marketer formerly called Gator, and best known for its pop-up ads and software that tracks people visiting Web sites. The Gator adware has frequently been denounced by privacy advocates for its intrusiveness.

More on the story
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/30/te...gy/30soft.html
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Old 06-30-2005, 12:07 PM   #2
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Here is another article about that story for those of you who don't want to register for the New York Times.

Many people at Microsoft are against this because they believe it would be very bad publicity for them.

Notice that negotiations are at the point where the deal could fall apart very quickly. http://www.crn.com/sections/breaking...leId=164904146

Last edited by Larwee; 06-30-2005 at 12:30 PM.
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Old 06-30-2005, 08:00 PM   #3
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That's just extraordinary.

MSFT is obviously nervous about how their contextual/behavioural ad product will be able to compete against the AdSense behemoth, but getting publishers offside by supporting one of the most reviled companies in the industry will do nothing to help them lure superaffiliates away from Google.

If they go ahead, even if only in the interest of acquiring an ad sales team and proven tech platform, they'll become ready targets for criticism; a fact that will likely solidify not only Google's lead, but Yahoo's position as the only other primary player in the contextual search marketplace.

Hopefully they'll wake up to themselves and choose to develop their contextual systems in-house, or acquire a more reputable and publisher-friendly player such as Kanoodle, Enhance Interactive or BidClix.
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Old 06-30-2005, 08:07 PM   #4
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Here is a very good article about the red flags this potential deal is raising. It also looks at some of the reasons Microsoft might have an interest in Claria (Gator) http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1759,1833611,00.asp
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Old 06-30-2005, 08:24 PM   #5
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The concluding paragraphs from that article are most interesting, in regards to what perception this deal will convey to the marketplace.

I'm already angry enough that the likes of ClickZ and a number of online advertising associations have indirectly helped to legitimize Claria/Gator's behaviour through their acceptance of sponsorship by Claria and the company's presence at industry-leading trade shows. By revealing to the market that the company is valued in the 100s of millions and that even the world's best known software producer and distributor of one of the most popular anti-spyware tools could be interested in purchasing an adware/spyware player is certain to encourage others to enter the space.

This is like the old days of hacking/phreaking, where stories about the best of the best being hired as consultants for major security firms or being recruited to intelligence agency ranks encouraged other script kiddies to engage in criminal activity in the hopes that their actions would eventually be interpreted in a positive light.

Hopefully, then, if the deal fails to get off the ground, the market will receive the opposite message; that spyware players who use controversial application delivery methods are considered untouchable as acquisition prospects. Taking away the promise of a clean and profitable exit strategy would dissuade other investors and entrepreneurs from entering the market.
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Old 06-30-2005, 09:00 PM   #6
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Czar, I agree with the points you made.

Whether it deserves it or not, Microsoft is seen as being bad by a lot of people. Many people hate Microsoft. They have been doing things to improve their image, but still a lot of people just plain hate them.

Just the fact that they would even consider buying Claria (Gator) is going to reflect very badly upon them. It will give Microsoft's critics even more ammunition, as well as put a dent in any progress they might have been making at making themselves look better.

Steve Ballmer, the Chief Executive Officer of Microsoft, recently said that Google was a "one-hit wonder" and that Google might disappear within the next five years. Both statements are probably wishful thinking.

Whether it deserves it or not, Google is seen as being good by a lot of people. That "do no evil" motto has stuck in the minds of a great many people. Even when Google does something that might be seen as bad by some, it doesn't really hurt their image very much due to the positive long-term view so many have of Google.

Microsoft is going to be doing battle against Google in more and more areas as time passes. They can't afford to look like the bad guy while Google looks like the good guy.

If Microsoft goes ahead and makes this purchase it could likely be a big serious wound to their body. As it stands right now it looks as if they have already shot themselves in the foot by even considering such a purchase.

Last edited by Larwee; 06-30-2005 at 09:04 PM.
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Old 06-30-2005, 09:28 PM   #7
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YIKES!!!!

IMHO this paragraph represent the real goal/purpose of the aleged MS acquasition:

"Rather, Microsoft is probably looking to purchase other assets, including advertising, personalization and behavior-tracking technology, in order to catch up with competitors like Yahoo Inc. and Google Inc., two rivals that utilize contextual technology to draw in advertisers. "

Source: http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1759,1833611,00.asp

In my view if and when the deal closes MS will take the negative baggage (Spyware) that the deal includes and divest themselves of that part and or structure the deal so they don't touch that stuff..

Sure, MS will still take TONS of flack for dealing with GATOR (LOL) but as a stockholder it makes perfect sence to me. I'm laughing all the way to the bank (LOL) along with Bill and the other Steve.

tada

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Old 06-30-2005, 10:13 PM   #8
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spyware? lol


Quote:
Originally posted by Czar
The concluding paragraphs from that article are most interesting, in regards to what perception this deal will convey to the marketplace.

I'm already angry enough that the likes of ClickZ and a number of online advertising associations have indirectly helped to legitimize Claria/Gator's behaviour through their acceptance of sponsorship by Claria and the company's presence at industry-leading trade shows. By revealing to the market that the company is valued in the 100s of millions and that even the world's best known software producer and distributor of one of the most popular anti-spyware tools could be interested in purchasing an adware/spyware player is certain to encourage others to enter the space.

This is like the old days of hacking/phreaking, where stories about the best of the best being hired as consultants for major security firms or being recruited to intelligence agency ranks encouraged other script kiddies to engage in criminal activity in the hopes that their actions would eventually be interpreted in a positive light.

Hopefully, then, if the deal fails to get off the ground, the market will receive the opposite message; that spyware players who use controversial application delivery methods are considered untouchable as acquisition prospects. Taking away the promise of a clean and profitable exit strategy would dissuade other investors and entrepreneurs from entering the market.
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Old 07-01-2005, 03:04 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by RevenuePilotRep
spyware? lol
We've already had this discussion previously, and perhaps in light of the changes that Claria has put in place of late to shed its Gator/spyware image, the term 'theftware' would be more apt. For more on that term and how it relates to Claria, please note that there are 65 threads within our StopScum forum that label Gator as theftware, and that's from a forum that only contains 199 threads. They may make for an interesting read.

Certainly, Gator/Claria has changed its practices to some degree since the rebrand and since the conclusion of the NY Times lawsuit, but the company still relies on anti-competitive practices and highly controversial distribution/disclosure methods to propagate its wares. While there may be some justification in your laughing out loud in the present climate, history might dictate that Gator almost single-handedly launched the spyware industry with its earlier releases of GAIN and its practice of surepticiously installing the software on users' computers, which is no laughing matter.

Almost every anti-spyware website and spyware removal tool (including the system owned by Microsoft) references current or former releases of Gator/GAIN/Claria software as either spyware or potentially malicious adware (See this Trend Micro link for just one example). In fact, a search for "Gator and spyware" on Google yields 317,000 results, "GAIN and spyware" 801,000 results and "Claria and spyware" 64,800 results. You'd be hard pressed to find any other company or brand that is so deeply associated with the spyware scene, even if this is an inaccurate or purely psychological association.

While I'm frequently wrong, it would be hard to imagine the other 1,000,000+ websites indexed by Google that place this label on Gator to have made the same mistake.

Of course, I can understand why you may feel different if you were unfamiliar with the company during its early years. The 'new-and-improved' Claria is, after all, incredibly keen to divorce itself from the label. It's for this reason that they've posted the anti-spyware commitment link on their website and why their spokespeople gave you a positive impression of their product when you chatted with them at Ad:Tech, but there's no denying that their brand is permanently tarnished as a result of their shady past, and that Microsoft is at risk of acquiring a share of that ill-will if they decide to purchase the company.


Out of curiosity, does any of this change your opinion? If not, are you making your judgement based solely on Claria's current product suite or do you find it hilarious that any version of GAIN could be considered spyware and/or theftware? Just wondering...
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Last edited by Czar; 07-01-2005 at 03:12 AM.
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Old 07-02-2005, 05:15 AM   #10
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I guess this is not an easy question and it doesnít have an easy answer. To start off personally I believe that companies which steal personal information, track uniquely identifying information without permission, etc.. are the ones which are really spyware. As of right now industry still has a lot of confusion regarding the true definition of spyware, adware, etc.. which only adds to the problem. In the case of gator they were never stealing any personal information, etc.. however I do admit that before they did engage in questionable practices, but please note questionable is not necessary illegal! However times pass and things change and gator did change for the good, in fact if all legal according to current law adware companies would change in the way gator did we would now have much better and pleasant internet! After talking to gator now claria guys at conferences and over the phone and personally witnessing their transformation from the outside I personally believe they are 100 % not spyware but legitimate adware provider! We can have a long discussion about adware if its good or bad but I donít think this is the point of this thread! Companies such as claria and whenu are leading the adware revolution on the internet which for them by the way means giving up some of their revenue, if anything I think they should be encouraged and rewarded for taking a charge rather then remaining the way they used to be since a lot of their former practices are still considering legal and so dropping these practices is pure good will decision on their part, comments are welcomed : )
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Old 07-12-2005, 05:12 PM   #11
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Arrow GATOR !!! MS Deal no longer food for drama

Microsoft/Claria Deal Dead

"A Microsoft staffer, who asked not to be identified, characterized the end of the talks as driven by concerns about a PR fallout that could follow a Claria purchase. That company has, in the past, been associated with spyware....."

Source: http://www.clickz.com/news/article.php/3519521

My "source" confirms the same thing

Happy trails to those of "you" who operated under the false assumption that a MS deal would have eboldened your morally and eithically reprehensible behavior.


tada

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Old 07-14-2005, 10:02 PM   #12
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Although, as we've heard, the deal is dead in the water at the moment, I still thought some of you may enjoy eWeek's latest editorial commentary about the deal, which raises some of the ethical concerns that ultimately helped to shelve the deal on public relations grounds:
http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1759,1833649,00.asp

One of the talkback comments reminded me that this isn't necessarily new territory for Microsoft. Somehow, I completely forgot about the furor that erupted in relation to MSFT's "Smart Tags" Internet Explorer feature back in 2001. Those who were around in those days may recall that Smart Tags bore some operational similarities to Gator's products at the time, by highlighting terms on web pages without the author's permission and offering to redirect viewers to contextually-related, off-site resources. The system drew enough negative publicity (and, ironically, scathing comparisons to Gator) to force the Redmond giant into submission on the issue. I guess that this latest alignment of the two companies, although more formal, is somewhat a case of history repeating.
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Old 07-19-2005, 01:42 AM   #13
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Another example of people actually understanding the difference between past mistakes and current actions!

http://www.geekvillage.com/forums/sh...962#post156962
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