We wrote about 180Solutions back in March when the company stunned most people by raising $40 million. The issue wasn't so much that the company had raised so much money, but that their investors seemed positively clueless about what they had invested in. The company is almost universally hated (by those not investing in it), for its spyware/adware offerings. A quick search online will tell anyone who does the slightest amount of due diligence will realize that the company is trouble. Unfortunately, it appears the VCs in question couldn't even go so far as to do a Google search. Now, anti-spyware researcher Ben Edelman has come out with a new report detailing how 180Solutions, beyond just being typical adware that is installed without clear and understandable notice to the computer user, was also stealing commissions from online affiliate programs, sneakily inserting their own affiliate codes into websites when a user with their software installed visited certain retailer sites. The company denies they did this, but Edelman's report is pretty damning. This isn't a new idea, of course. We wrote about spyware products doing exactly this almost two years ago, when it was referred to as "diversionware." As Edelman points out, however, it's a bit surprising that a VC-backed company would stoop so low.
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