Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

The advertisers that support spyware

Ben Edelman dedicates quite a bit of his time to investigating spyware – recently Limewire comissioned him to research into what spyware was installed by its competitors programs (Limewire is now spyware-free).
His latest study looks into the advertisers whose adverts are shown in the spyware application eXact. The advertisers are either directly or indirectly supporting the spyware revenue model – if there were no advertisers willing to use spyware then the problem would go away; the same with popup advertising, although part of that also falls on content producers.
What is worrying is the number of big, reputable companies whose adverts appear in eXact. These include:

  • Air France
  • Apple Computer
  • Cingular
  • Dell
  • Expedia
  • Netflix

It is possible that these companies are not dealing with eXact directly, but that affiliates, who receive comission from each sale, are. Either way, these companies should not be funding malicious software which damages consumer’s machines, and if the problem does lie with their affiliates then their affiliate accounts should be terminated. I’m particularly ashamed that Apple is in on this.
Ben also points out that Thomas Cook recently started advertising with Claria, the company formally known as Gator. Which therefore means that Thomas Cook won’t be getting my custom.


  1. Good post Neil. I’ve always warned my friends and family about the curse of spyware (they normally don’t listen anyway) but I’m suprised to hear of big companies supporting spyware in an indirect way.

  2. It strikes me as a bit hypocritical that you’ve decided to boycott Thomas Cook for being involved in advertising through spyware, but haven’t chosen to do the same with Apple.
    I seriously doubt whether Thomas Cook even care if 1 or 2 potential customers decide against holiday’ing with them. It’s not as if they don’t make enough money.
    But if it makes your conscience feel better…

  3. It’s possible that it isn’t Apple but Apple’s affiliates that are advertising through spyware, whereas Thomas Cook made a direct deal with Claria. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt, for now.
    And besides, I like my iPod too much 🙂 .

  4. Still, they should be aware of how their affiliates are advertising them.
    I thought it’d have something to do with your iPod, though 🙂

  5. Online users unite. Lets start a global ban on companies who use these morons. The power of da peeps to form a united front. Committ to never using their services or products EVERRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!!
    Da Sharkkk vvvvvvvv