A pioneer of software that delivers pop-up ads based on Web sites that Internet users browse said Tuesday it will exit that business by June following persistent criticism from online publishers, consumer groups and privacy advocates.
Claria Corp, also known as GAIN and Gator, had said last summer it was phasing out its adware business in favor of new personalization services, but it did not commit to a timeline or promise to drop such ads entirely. Tuesday’s announcement is the first such commitment.
The Redwood City company said it has hired Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. to help sell its adware assets.
Critics say adware has emerged as one of the top scourges of Internet use because it often degrades computer performance, tracks a user’s browsing habits and is installed without permission.
Despite the pledge to stop adware, critics remained wary of Claria, which generated more than $149 million from 1999 to 2003.
“If they really wanted to demonstrate a commitment to being anti-adware then the right thing to do is shut down the operation, not sell it to somebody else so they can continue what Claria started,” said Dave Kramer, an attorney at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, who has represented clients in adware lawsuits.
In a statement, Claria said it will require any buyer of its adware assets to agree to abide by a set of standards outlined by Truste and other privacy watchdog groups.