Adware Purveyor Gator Morphs Into JellyCloud

JellyCloud homepageNotorious adware company Gator has resurrected itself once again, this time as an ad network named JellyCloud.

The Silicon Valley company, which was quietly launched late last year, has already run several ad campaigns and has joined the RightMedia ad exchange as well as one run by DoubleClick, according to Director of Marketing Antonio White.

"The JellyCloud network is similar to Blue Lithium, and all other ad networks--our mission is to buy standard publisher banner inventory across the Web and to optimize advertiser ad placements using publisher data, its own proprietary ad optimization technologies, and advertiser retargeting, etc.," he said in an e-mail to Online Media Daily. JellyCloud's connection with Gator wasn't generally known until this week, when a news story revealed the company's history. At least two JellyCloud executives--Scott Vandevelde and Scott Eagle--were formerly with Claria, which still operates as a subsidiary of JellyCloud. Vandevelde serves as CEO of Claria, while Eagle is its chief operating officer.

As one of the first and largest adware companies, Gator was a lightning rod for criticism from both consumer advocates and Web publishers. Advocates charged that the company tricked consumers into downloading its software, which tracked people across the Web and served them pop-up ads. Web publishers argued that Gator's pop-ups unfairly interfered with their own advertising efforts.

In 2002, publishers including The Washington Post, The New York Times and Dow Jones sued Gator. The parties entered into a confidential settlement agreement the following year.

Gator changed its name to Claria in October 2003, and in early 2005 announced it was getting out of the pop-up-serving business and into online behavioral targeting.

Although Claria still exists as a subsidiary of JellyCloud, most Claria employees have left the company, according to White.

At least some of them landed at behavioral targeting company NebuAd, which found itself at the center of congressional hearings this summer over its plan to serve people online ads based on information about their Web history provided by their Internet service providers. NebuAd recently lost its CEO and suspended plans to deploy its broadband provider-based platform.

This summer, the site drew an average of 601,000 visitors a month, according to online measurement company Quantcast. JellyCloud itself has no content that would draw consumers, and it appears that those people were counted as visitors because JellyCloud served them ads over the summer.

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