Feeds

Zango goes titsup

End of desktop adware market

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Updated Controversial adware firm Zango has Zangone.

The adware maker was forced to pull down the shutters on its business after it was left unable to service its debts. Initially we, along with othe news outlets, incorrectly reported that video search engine firm Blinkx had acquired Zango. In fact Blinkx has only bought a proportion of its assets from administrators.

"The bank foreclosed on Zango and Blinkx purchased some technical assets from the bank, including some IP and hardware, which constituted about 10 per cent of Zango's total assets," a Blinkx spokeswoman explained.

Zango's closure effectively sounds the death knell of a controversial business model.

Zango began life as 180 Solutions, raising $40m from Spectrum Equity Investors in 2004 and growing to employ more than 230 workers at its peak. Accusations of deceptive installation practices and problems in removing its software once installed led to a lawsuit by US consumer watchdog the Federal Trade Commission.

Zango settled the lawsuit in November 2006, agreeing to pay a fine of $3m without formally admitting guilt. The firm said that its problems were due to rogue affiliates, who it was in the process of culling even before the FTC lawsuit.

The controversy didn't die there, with Zango repeatedly forced to defend itself against accusations that it installed its ad-serving software on PCs without the consent of users.

Security researchers Ben Edelman, an assistant professor at the Harvard Business School, and Chris Boyd, of Facetime Security, continued to document evidence of malpractice. Zango consistently denied any wrongdoing.

Security firms routinely labeled Zango's software as adware, or at least potentially unwanted. Zango's separate attempts to sue Kaspersky Lab and PC Tools over such listings both failed in 2007.

Last year the firm was forced to lay off 118 of its then 200-strong workforce in two tranches, as it focused on a new product called Platrium. This involved receiving ads in exchange for playing online games. That venture looks to be history, along with support and development for Zango's existing products, the Hotbar toolbar and Seekmo, an adware program users need to install to play premium content.

The end-game for Zango marks the end of the controversial adware business model. Other well known names in the field - including Claria (Gator), WhenU and DirectRevenue - ceased operations some time ago, leaving Zango as the last man standing.

A blog posting by Zango co-founder and former chief technology officer Ken Smith laments that Zango finished its life with a "fire sale". His posting provides an insider's view on a failed business endeavour and is well worth a read. ®

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
Regin: The super-spyware the security industry has been silent about
NSA fingered as likely source of complex malware family
Why did it take antivirus giants YEARS to drill into super-scary Regin? Symantec responds...
FYI this isn't just going to target Windows, Linux and OS X fans
Privacy bods offer GOV SPY VICTIMS a FREE SPYWARE SNIFFER
Looks for gov malware that evades most antivirus
Home Office: Fancy flogging us some SECRET SPY GEAR?
If you do, tell NOBODY what it's for or how it works
HACKERS can DELETE SURVEILLANCE DVRS remotely – report
Hikvision devices wide open to hacking, claim securobods
'Regin': The 'New Stuxnet' spook-grade SOFTWARE WEAPON described
'A degree of technical competence rarely seen'
Syrian Electronic Army in news site 'hack' POP-UP MAYHEM
Gigya redirect exploit blamed for pop-rageous ploy
Astro-boffins start opening universe simulation data
Got a supercomputer? Want to simulate a universe? Here you go
prev story

Whitepapers

10 ways wire data helps conquer IT complexity
IT teams can automatically detect problems across the IT environment, spot data theft, select unique pieces of transaction payloads to send to a data source, and more.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
How to determine if cloud backup is right for your servers
Two key factors, technical feasibility and TCO economics, that backup and IT operations managers should consider when assessing cloud backup.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.