York Baur acknowledges that 180solutions' original approach to spreading adware among the Internet masses wasn't properly executed by the company. "Lots of criticisms have been levied against 180, but I think the only valid criticism was that we were perhaps naïve about the world of Web publishing earlier on in our history, and it has taken us through 2005 to truly take control of that ownership of that network and get practices that we think are poor cleaned up," says Baur, 180solutions' executive VP for business development.In a podcast
, Baur explains how 180solutions--a company many critics see as the reigning bad boy of the adware business--is trying to legitimize itself, and how it may have hit on a formula to reap millions upon millions of dollars in revenue by providing an alternative to subscription-based businesses charging users for content.
As more providers seek money for their products, often through subscriptions, consumers' abhorrence to adware might wane as people exchange a few ads popping up in their PC windows for the ability to shop online for content that otherwise would cost them in the aggregate hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars.
If 180solutions and other adware providers don't get their houses in order by 1) clearly explaining to consumers what their software will do, 2) installing the software with users' consent, 3) designing software that limits CPU consumption so computers don't run sluggishly, and 4) assuring that the adware doesn't interfere with nonshopping Internet use, their days as a wayward industry will peter out.
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Read more about adware and spyware in this week's cover story, "The Spies Inside."