Less than a year after successfully negotiating a US$1.5 million wrist-slap to to settle charges that it used sneaky tactics to install spyware on millions of computers, DirectRevenue (also known as Best Offers) has shut down operations.
The notorious spyware vendor, reviled for shady installation practices, numerous name changes and the aggressive use of annoying pop-ups to serve contextual ads, has posted this note on its home page.
Best Offers and Direct Revenue have ceased operations. To service legacy consumers we are maintaining this page of uninstall instructions, an uninstall software tool, and an email based support service.
The note included step-by-step instructions and an uninstallation tool to remove the spyware programs from Windows machines.
DirectRevenue had a history of legal problems stemming from its use of surreptitious downloads and shady affiliates to get its free-software offerings to end user machines.
[ SEE: DirectRevenue's dirty money ]
Founded in 2002 by New York entrepreneurs Daniel Kaufman and Joshua Abram, the company raised in excess of $27 million in venture capital funding and debt financing. During the boom years, the company was raking it about $50 million a year and employed about 100 employees around the country.
Under pressure from anti-spyware advocates, the company was forced to clean up operations and offer an easy way to remove the the spyware programs.
In April 2006, the New York attorney general's office Elliot Spitzer filed suit against Direct Revenue, alleging that the company's software violates New York's General Business Law with its "drive-by downloads" and a year later, the company settled with The Federal Trade Commission under a promise to stop its deceptive practices.
Now, it appears the company has disappeared. Officials could not be reached for comment.