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 Aug 17, 2004 - 04:12 PM - by Michael
* Spyware From Hell?

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PC Games/Hardware/Microsoft
News.com(.com) has an editorial on what level of Hell in Dante's Inferno spyware makers belong.
To really explode, adware required two forces: the rise of peer-to-peer applications and the rise of cost-per-click advertising. Imagine you own a peer-to-peer file-sharing application (for example, Kazaa) that is being used for copyright infringement en masse. People will do almost anything to get it, short of paying for it directly. So you get an adware distributor (say Claria, formerly Gator) to pay per installation of your application if you will bundle its adware. Claria spent about $19.3 million in 2003 on distribution arrangements such as this, or about 43 cents per active user.

...

Thus the process starts with the file-sharing taint, but gets washed by the adware vendor and the cost-per-click vendor until it is finally clean enough for the advertiser to buy into.

What I find interesting is part of what they point out - in the start of the spyware craze, the vast majority of it was coming through "illegal" or otherwise slightly-less-than-legitimate programs like Kazaa and Divx, who were nonetheless powerful because everyone wanted to have them around despite the legal morass.
 

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