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DirectRevenue Spammed Adware; Settles Charges

A company in New York, which faces charges of infecting users' computers with adware, has agreed to pay U.S. $1.5 million. There were accusations on DirectRevenue LLC that it used illegal and deceptive methods to install adware onto consumers' PCs from the Internet and even ensured its non-removal.

In Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) efforts to crackdown on companies promoting adware, this case is the most recent installment. FTC announced three laws in November to enforce action against such companies.

DirectRevenue agreed that it would not download its adware without obtaining the consumers' permission and would also provide adequate means to remove the software from their PCs. The settlement also requires that DirectRevenue ensure its affiliates and their sub affiliates abide by the FTC order.

FTC Chairman Deborah Platt Majoras said in news for Technology News Daily that DirectRevenue's adware affected computers around the world. While the FTC settlement stops DirectRevenue from sending pop-up ads via Internet, it halts all unauthorized software downloads.

The FTC complaint detailing the chargers against DirectRevenue said the company downloaded its adware on consumers' PCs directly and through a vast network of affiliates and sub affiliates. The adware included software called "The Best Offers", "ABI Network", "A Better Internet", "Ceres" and "Aurora" that tracked consumers' Internet activities to enable display of the company's pop-up ads.

According to the FTC, DirectRevenue often offered free content and software online such as games, screensavers, and utilities without informing that that adware would accompany the downloads. Also, DirectRevenue's affiliates exploited security flaws in Web browsers to infect them with adware.

Stating the New York lawsuit as baseless, DirectRevenue declared on its Web site that its products are not spyware. Mislabeling them as spyware did a disservice not only to the company but also created confusion among the public.

According to experts the FTC's enforcement on DirectRevenue was not enough. Of course, the company paid some million dollars as settlement charges but it retains many more millions so it would repeat it in another opportunity. Anti-spyware researcher Ben Edelman said through an e-mail to IDC News Service that FTC had sent a wrong message.

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