Zango Inc., the irritating adware firm that was fined $3 million by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission in 2006 has been sold at “fire sale prices” to video search engine company Blinkx PLC, it was announced yesterday.
The company was notorious for its weasel-word excuses and explanations of the intrusive adware it distributed. It also was famous for (unsuccessfully) suing anti-virus Kaspersky Labs and PC Tools in 2007 in an attempt to intimidate them and force them to stop cleaning Zango code out of victims’ computers.
Zango was first named 180 Solutions when it was begun in 2004. It employed more than 200 people at its peak, but laid off 118 of them last year. Two other major adware firms, Claria (which distributed Gator) and DirectRevenue have closed in the past. A third, WhenU, was bought out by a Canadian company, which has continued to perform installations of WhenU’s software, though the company is definitely a shadow of its former self.
Chris Boyd, of Facetime Security, and Ben Edelman, a security researcher at the Harvard Business School, extensively documented Zango’s offensive practices over the years. The company basically installed adware on victim’s computers without permission, served porno advertising without notifying victims and profiting from the distribution of pirated material, according to Edelman’s research.
Edelman told Computerworld that the company failed because:“Zango could never get over its history of non-consensual and deceptive installations.”
See the Computerworld story here.