'

Adware drama

My apologies for the lack of blogging the past two days.  Several things have happened that are worth mentioning.

My apologies for the lack of blogging the past two days.  Several things have happened that are worth mentioning.  Ben Edelman published a piece on Claria ads being shown by pop-ups delivered through security exploits. In his usual style, Ben presents meticulous documentation including screenshots and a packet log.   He explains the complex relationships of the 6 companies involved.  It is a compelling write-up, in my opinion, and well worth reading.

Eric Goldman, at his Technology & Marketing Law Blog, called it a "Witchhunt Gone Awry" and described some very dramatic analogies, mentioning serious social threats and McCarthyism.  Paperghost of VitalSecurity.org responded here, talking about "Chaos in Paradise" and vigilante justice.  Finally, at SunbeltBLOG, Alex Eckelberry sums up the situation with his own conclusions.

While you are at SunbeltBLOG, check out the screenshot of the 180 Active/X install.

Back to Technology & Marketing Law Blog, Eric Goldman has another interesting post about Professor Wayne Barnes' abstract on adware contracts, which I blogged about early this week.  Eric also blogged about another witchhunt that "nailed an advertising executive", referring to the settlement with Intermix Media and "Sheriff Spitzer".  More details on the case and the settlement can be found here.

The former chief executive of a company accused of secretly installing adware and spyware on millions of home computers agreed to pay $750,000 in penalties after an investigation, New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer said Thursday.

<snip>

Greenspan, 32, served as CEO of Intermix from July 2002 to October 2003. Investigators said he directed employees to bundle adware with other free programs and to make the software difficult to remove.

I think that case and settlement should send a strong message to other companies with similar practices.