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Claria Corporation

Online Advertising

Claria Corporation


From Wikipedia the free encyclopedia, by MultiMedia

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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 million users.



Claria is perhaps best known for the Gator (also known as GAIN AdServer) 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 Gator was 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 with libel lawsuits.

Adjunct applications

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.
  • GotSmiley
  • Dashbar
  • Date Manager
  • Precision Time
  • Screenscenes
  • Weatherscope
  • WebSecureAlert

While using the software, a user will be shown ads from GAIN Adserver. According to Computer Associates' spyware information center, all applications in the suite are classified as both adware and spyware, as 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. [1]


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.

Firm History

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. [2] Other spyware reporting agencies, such as Computer Associates and Panda Software s TruPrevent Technologies, still label Claria products as both adware and spyware.

In March 2006, Claria claimed that it would be exiting the adware business and focusing on personalized search technology. [3]


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 [4].
  •   See you later, anti-Gators? from CNET. Accessed October 22, 2003 from [5]
  •   Gator mutation Claria files for IPO from CNET. Accessed April 8, 2004 from [6]
  •   Microsoft denies its antispyware favors Claria from CNET. Accessed June 11, 2005 from [7]
  •   Claria to exit adware business from CNET. Accessed March 22, 2006 from [8]

External links

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