Claria Corporation (formerly Gator Corporation) is an
advertising software company based in
Redwood City, California. They were established in 1998 by Denis
Coleman. Their name is often used interchangeably with their
GAIN advertising network, which they claim services over 40
Claria is perhaps best known for the Gator (also known as GAIN
spyware products, which display ads on the computers of web surfers. It
bills itself as the "leader in online behavioral marketing". As a result of the
problems relating to its software and the way it has often been installed,
Claria Corporation may be the Internet-based company with the worst corporate
reputation. The company changed its name to Claria Corporation on October 30,
2003 in an effort to "better communicate the expanding breadth of offerings that
[they] provide to consumers and advertisers", according to CEO and President
Jeff McFadden. The change was also likely an attempt to distance itself from
the reputation it had earned from its products.
The company has three divisions, GAIN Publishing (Gator Advertising and
Information Network), the division producing and marketing the ad-displaying
software, including getting it bundled with other programs; GAIN Network, the
company which sells ads on the network; and Feedback Research, which provides
online research and analysis based on data from the ad network.
Originally released in
1998, Gator is most frequently installed together with programs being offered
free of charge, such as Go!Zilla, or Kazaa. The development of these programs is
partially funded by revenue from advertising displayed by Gator. As of late 2003
installed on an estimated 38 million PCs. It has been installed through
misleading or surreptitious means in the past, usually without disclosing that
it will be monitoring web browsing habits and displaying ads based on profiling
of the user.
Although Gator is usually installed without an
uninstall routine (making it difficult to remove), many spyware removal tools
can detect and remove it. Gator's end user license agreement attempts to disallow its manual removal by
prohibiting "unauthorized means" of uninstallation.
The Gator software has in the past undercut the fundamental ad-supported
nature of many Internet publishers by replacing banner ads on web sites with its
own, thereby depriving the content provider of the revenue necessary to continue
providing that content. In June
2002 a number of large publishers, including the New York Post, The New York
Times, and Dow Jones & Company, sued Gator Software for its practice of replacing ads.
Most of the lawsuits were settled out of court in February 2003.
In September 2003 the company started threatening web sites that classified
Gator as spyware
As Gator corporation, Claria released a suite of "free" internet applications
that performed various tasks. However, after installing the applications, a user
would continually be shown ads from the GAIN network, even when the programs
were not running in the foreground. This suite included:
- eWallet - a program that will automatically fill in personal information
on webpages from a stored set of data entered by the user.
- Date Manager
- Precision Time
While using the software, a user will be shown ads from GAIN Adserver.
Computer Associates' spyware information center, all applications in the
suite are classified as both
they both display ads unrelated to the product while the primary user interface
is not visible, and it employs the user's internet connection to a centralized
server without the explicit consent of the user.
PersonalWeb is a new advertising model proposed by Claria Corporation, in
which clients will opt-in to advertising, rather than their previous model.
Claria is often criticized for unethical and misleading tactics in
distributing and installing its software, and not providing the proper tools to
uninstall the software. Though Claria's applications have been labeled as both
adware and spyware by several third party spyware organizations, Claria
Corporation continues to fight the claims, going so far as to threaten websites
with libel lawsuits.
In July 2005,
Microsoft Corporation came under fire when it revealed that their AntiSpyware
product would no longer label Claria software as "spyware". News had surfaced
that Microsoft was also contemplating the purchase of Claria, which many
consumers felt to be a conflict of interest.  Other spyware reporting
agencies, such as Computer Associates and Panda Software s TruPrevent
Technologies, still label Claria products as both adware and
In March 2006, Claria claimed that it would be exiting the adware business
and focusing on personalized search technology.
Despite their generally unpopular reputation, Claria Corporation has received
backing from major Venture Capital firms, including Greylock, Technology
Crossover Ventures, and U.S. Venture Partners. They considered an $150 million
IPO in 2004, but
backed out at the last minute.
↑ eTrust Spyware Encyclopedia
- claria.ewallet from
Computer Associates. Accessed from
↑ See you later,
October 22, 2003 from
↑ Gator mutation Claria
files for IPO from
April 8, 2004 from
↑ Microsoft denies its
antispyware favors Claria from
June 11, 2005 from
↑ Claria to exit adware
CNET. Accessed March 22, 2006 from
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