Direct Revenue Challenges Anti-Adware Programs

Adware company Direct Revenue, like rival adware companies, often has found itself on the defensive--faced with consumer complaints about ad-serving software that ended up on their computers without their knowledge or consent.

But last week, DirectRevenue CEO Jean-Philippe Maheu indicated to OnlineMediaDaily that the company is prepared to go on the offensive, and raised the possibility that the company will intervene to prevent its software from being deleted by adware removal companies.

"I think that if we're going to clearly mark opt-in, [anti-spyware companies] should clearly mark opt-out," he said. He was referring to some software removal programs that consumers either purchase or download to rid their computers of unwanted programs; these programs often automatically delete Direct Revenue's adware.

Direct Revenue, which now bundles its ad-serving program ("Best Offer") with the peer-to-peer file-sharing service Kazaa, tells consumers in the end-user license agreement that it might take action if the program stops running: "Some third parties may attempt to disrupt network communications to and from your computer to Best Offers' servers. This may include the manipulation of either your DNS configuration, or your computer's host file. If Best Offers believes that a third party is impeding your network communications, we reserve the right to correct the conflict in order to preserve proper communication."

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Rival adware company Claria used to distribute Kazaa, but ended that relationship this summer.

Currently facing a class-action lawsuit over alleged non-consensual installations of its ad-serving software, Direct Revenue has taken some steps to clean up its image.

Direct Revenue also recently started putting out all ad-serving products under the name Best Offers, rather than the long list of brand names used in the past, including Aurora. The company said it intends to phase out affiliates by the end of the year; Maheu also said Direct Revenue is investing heavily in behavioral, reward-based technology.

The company will also soon replace the large number of cookies it places on user desktops with a single refreshable cookie connected to Direct Revenue's ad server, Maheu added. This summer, Direct Revenue laid off about 40 people--one-third of its workforce.

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