Who Killed Gator?
They’ve been talking about it for over a year but now Claria(Formerly GAIN Network/Gator) has officially claimed they are no longer going to use Adware/Spyware to track customer habits. They’ve even gone as far as telling customers to remove the software (More Info). If you go to their Products page, they still list all their products like GotSmiley and Gator eWallet but you have to hunt a little to download them.
As of yesterday, Claria says users won’t be seeing Pop-up adds from the GAIN Network. I bravely downloaded Precision Time to see what would happen. I surfed around a little and didn’t find any Claria based popups. I tried syncing up my computer clock and it still worked letting me know my time was off by 13 seconds. It connected to a time server run by “National Institute of Standards and Technology “.
There are some real heros in this story that proved the little guy can make a difference. My hero’s are the folks at PCPitstop.com, Dave Methvin and Rob Cheng. PC PitStop told the truth about Gator but in September, 2003 Gator filed a lawsuit against PC PitStop for “false advertising, unfair business practices, trade libel, defamation, and tortious interference." The overall result of this lawsuit was to make the online world more aware of the bad practices and deception used by Gator and companies like it. (More Info). After changing their name to Claria(More Info), the Gator folks thought perhaps they could sell stock in the company but the public said no way. (More Info). More recently Microsoft was in talks to purchase Claria but realized it would be a PR disaster reconsidered (More Info)
Personally, I will never fully trust Claria but I welcome their admission of guilt. Their business model is still tracking behavior and given the past methods it’s hard to really wish them well.