Claria Gives Up Adware Business

Claria, once one of the largest adware purveyors in the business, intends to leave the adware space for good by the end of June, the company said Tuesday.

The company hired Deutsche Bank Securities earlier this year to help find a buyer for some of the products it bundles with adware, such as screensavers and Weatherscope, a desktop program that displays local weather information on users' personal computers.

Claria already ended relationships with distribution partners including Kazaa, the file-sharing service. Claria now intends to focus on building out its behavioral targeting service--officially announced in February 2005--which will send targeted ads to consumers based on their surfing activity.

The service will rely on detailed--but anonymous--profiles about consumers gleaned by combining information from cookies that track behavior across a limited number of commercial Web sites with information about the surfing habits of people that install Claria's software. The service is expected to launch with "PersonalWeb," a program that allows participating publishers to serve different pages to different visitors, based on their online behavior.

Claria also will soon announce a major distribution deal that will potentially expand its consumer base; last spring, the company said it was seeking a distribution partner that offered a downloadable toolbar or an instant messaging program. Claria software resided on around 40 million desktops at the end of 2004--the last time the company publicly disclosed the number of its subscribers.

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