Gator, IAB Cool Off And Cooperate

The dispute between Gator.com and the Interactive Advertising Bureau, which led to a lawsuit in August, seems to have been resolved.

Neither firm would speak with MediaPost today, but in a statement released yesterday, they said they have "tabled their ongoing differences" and that Gator would develop a new version of its Companion Pop-up banner that the IAB criticized in August.

The Pop-up, which replaces publishers’ ads on websites with ads Gator sells, "infringes on the rights of Web publishers and does not protect consumers from unauthorized content," the IAB said in August (MediaPost, August 29).

Jeff McFadden, president/CEO of Gator, said in the press release, "Gator has agreed to stop selling the Companion Pop-up banner in its current form. We will put this product on hold as we talk with IAB to co-develop a new version that is more publisher friendly, designed to create a revenue stream for them by monetizing unused banner inventory."

He also said Gator would honor all ad contracts through the end of the year and re-launch the Pop-up early next year.

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The IAB seems to be elated at Gator's willingness to change, since it could lead to additional revenue for Web publishers. "I commend Gator for its willingness to develop a new version of its banner product that could provide direct revenue to our member companies," said Greg Stuart, the IAB's CEO.

Gator.com is an "online companion" that helps users on the Web by filling in online forms, remembering login IDs and passwords and delivering price comparisons for shoppers. It claims to have 27 million installations. It sends related ads to online shoppers, which the IAB opposed because they replaced the ads publishers had sold. Gator had argued that the ads were legitimate because the users who downloaded Gator's software accepted its ads.

Gator filed a lawsuit in federal district court against the IAB on Aug. 27 to protect the Companion Pop-up. The two have agreed to extend various deadlines in the lawsuit, enabling the companies to work together to develop a new Pop-up.

The IAB, which holds its annual meeting next week at @d:tech, invited Gator to participate.

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