Friday, July 02, 2004

Mainstream companies using more pop-up advertising

You'd think that reputable companies like J.P. Morgan Chase, Verizon Communications, Merck, and T-Mobile would stay away from advertising with controversial adware/spyware companies like WhenU. WhenU and Claria (formerly Gator) are companies that operate by placing their adware programs on users' computers via "drive-by downloads." Often these programs are included in downloads of freeware or shareware, like smiley face programs, free screensavers, or Kazaa. The adware companies claim that consumers choose to download their adware because they are told of the bundled adware in the contract that you click "agree" to when you download a program.

Adware is software, often available as a free Internet download, that requires consumers to agree to accept advertising messages in order to use them. Some of these programs have been criticized for failing to adequately disclose their terms, which may include allowing companies to monitor consumer Web surfing activities, among other things.

The forthcoming report shows how WhenU advertisers target competitors' Web sites. According to the report, Best Western appears to throw up ads on 208 domains, including those of Comfort Inns and Days Inn; Thrifty aims ads at the sites of rivals Dollar Rent A Car and Enterprise Rent-A-Car; and Verizon DSL ads are triggered by visits to the sites of broadband providers Covad Communications Group, Direcway and 71 other domains.

While prominent companies advertise with WhenU, many of the advertisers hail from seamier sections of society. The report says 49 companies run gambling or betting ads on PCs with WhenU installed, and nine firms have purchased a total of 99 ads related to sexual enhancement. The largest advertisers are, J.P. Morgan Chase, Casino On Net, Verizon and Orexis (which sells sexual-enhancement pills for men).

Clearly no one appreciates getting pop-ups, and it can not help in bolstering a well though of company's reputation when they use these services.

C|Net Article here: "Adware's going mainstream, report says"


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