Companies That Promised To Stop Advertising In Adware… Still Advertising In Adware

from the oops dept

Earlier this year, a bunch of companies paid some fines for advertising in various adware systems, and promised to stop doing so. While we weren’t clear exactly why it was the advertisers fault that the adware companies did bad things in getting their adware installed, the fact that they said they would prevent future advertisements from appearing in adware seems reasonable. Unfortunately, it looks like it’s not quite that easy. Spyware/adware researcher Ben Edelman has found that some of the companies that promised to stop advertising in adware still have ads showing up in these products. Edelman shows that both Cingular and Travelocity ads are still showing up (while Priceline ads have dropped) in certain adware products. While it likely does mean that through the convoluted ad network relationships that eventually lead to adware someone hasn’t yet received the message to stop, it does raise another issue relating back to the question of why the advertisers were fined for this. If one of these adware companies wanted to get other companies in trouble… why not just put up “free” advertising for them, in order to get them sued by the New York Attorney General or the FTC (who has also looked at going after advertisers)?

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Comments on “Companies That Promised To Stop Advertising In Adware… Still Advertising In Adware”

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Sanguine Dream says:


I’m thinking the reason they are going after the advertisers and not the adware people themselves is because its probably easier to find and take action against a big company like Cingular than it is to dig for the hidden identity of the adware makers. Oh and chances are Cingular has more money too.

Same reason that the parents of the girl that was assualted by the guy she met on MySpace tried to sue the social network instead of going after the guy that did it. MySpace or the assailant, who do you think has more money?

just me says:

they should be sued and fined

Those top CEO’s know where their money is going, and how it is spent. They also know just how that money is spent in every detail. You don’t own a company like Cingular unless you can produce the numbers to back up your claims to the investors. Cingular and other compaines are part of the spam problems online. They should force them all that spam to pay huge fines, and not be associated with the scumbags that spam, or put out adware. If they loose investors, and their stock drops then oh well, they should of known better. I have no sympathy for them, because they have none for me when I am cleaning up a computer after they have done their dirty work.

Enrico Suarve (user link) says:

So fine them some more...

Fining the companies who are advertising seems fair to me – let’s face it you are going to have a very hard time fining some of the adware ‘companies’ as they are often overseas in havens and often are just individuals with affiliations….

The whole adware tree is massive and uncontrolled outsourcing at its worst. I pay you and you outsource to him who out sources to him, who affiliates to her, who affiliates to… etc

Simple fact is that for investigators to follow the money would be expensive and why should the taxpayer pay for the original company’s lack of diligence?

Let the company do the legwork if they want to pass on blame or sue onwards for damages – this works exactly the same as if I buy a product which is faulty, I don’t return it to Sony – I return it to the store, who return it to their supplier, who return….

If a company really cared it would have clauses in their advertising contracts stating the onwards affiliation was only allowed to a depth of x and that their adverts may not be served via adware. The contracts would stipulate that any further outsourcing of the contract must carry the same conditions. This is fairly normal in above board outsourcing and often you experience contracts which state NO further outsourcing may be done without express permission of the hiring company

Want to bet AT&T/Cingular don’t care enough to have put the above in place?

If fining the original advertiser is such an unreasonable, unpractical approach how come Priceline ads have disappeared and Cingular’s have not? It works for one but the other finds it impossible?

Or is it just that one of them cares more than the other about their image since they are less of a monopoly

According to the report the fines paid were a small fraction of the original estimated advertising cost, perhaps the solution is to ensure that in future they more or less match?

As #5 states I have no sympathy for them, because they have none for me when I am cleaning up a computer after they have done their dirty work

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