What does Vonage have to do with spyware? Ben Edelman has the answer to that question. In his usual meticulous style, Ben has documented with screenshots, packet logs and diagrams the relationship between Vonage and spyware. Vonage is caught being advertised by pop-ups from Direct Revenue, Targetsaver and others, sometimes not in the appropriate circumstances. (See spyware popping porn in all the wrong places) Ben notes:
I have repeatedly observed Vonage buying "ordinary" spyware pop-up ads from vendors like 180solutions, Direct Revenue, and eXact Advertising. See e.g. the top thumbnail at right, a March 2006 screenshot of a Vonage ad appearing through Direct Revenue. See also my March 2005 report of Vonage ads appearing through eXact Advertising. These relationships add up to big money: BusinessWeek last week reported that Vonage paid Direct Revenue $31,570 in a single month of 2005 -- a remarkable $110 for each customer Direct Revenue sent to Vonage. Meanwhile, in its litigation against Intermix, the New York Attorney General specifically documented Vonage's ads appearing in Intermix KeenValue pop-ups.
Vonage ads are being injected by spyware into other companies' sites -- note that injected into, which raises legal concerns of copyright infringement, among other concerns. Catch the video of an ad injection by DollarRevenue. Vonage ads are also being delivered by spyware using banner farms. See Ben's write up on the problem of banner farms here.
Ben notes that Vonage won an Effie award just last month for the effectiveness of their advertising. The Effie site seems to be unreachable at the moment, but perhaps someone ought to rethink that award -- why award a company that advertises with spyware? Ben notes that most companies don't necessarily intend to have their ads shown by spyware and has suggestions for how Vonage could stop their ads from being delivered by spyware.