Is 180solutions/Zango Spyware?
There is always a lot of attention surrounding the Bellevue, Washington online media company Zango, Inc. (formerly 180solutions). The popular press claims that millions of users are crying out for help against Zango’s unlawful acts and frustration stemmed from the desktop advertising software that is installed on their personal computer. However, Zango announced this morning that the class action lawsuit filed against the company last year in federal court in Chicago was dismissed, with prejudice. Meaning the dismissal ends the litigation, is final, and is binding on the plaintiffs.
Zango’s executive vice president, general counsel and chief compliance officer, Ken McGraw, said,”We are pleased, but frankly not too surprised, by the voluntary, with- prejudice dismissal of the lawsuit by the plaintiffs. We have maintained from its inception that this case [Logan Simios, et al. v. 180solutions, Inc.] had no merit. The dismissal vindicates that position.” The dismissal “serves to confirm that Zango’s desktop advertising software is not spyware in any shape or form and that our innovative business model is entirely legitimate,” McGraw added. The Simios case was filed September 13, 2005 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois and dismissed on September 6, 2006.
Zango’s CEO, Keith Smith, expressed that “Despite occasional distractions like this unfounded lawsuit and the background noise of a small group of fixated critics, I’m very proud of the fact that our desktop advertising business continues to grow and progress nicely. We will continue to execute upon our Content Economy vision of automating and monetizing the ecosystem of content providers, Web publishers and online advertisers, while delivering the free entertainment experiences consumers desire and expect.”
Presumably the largest Zango critic is Ben Edelman, a spyware activist and researcher studying advertising fraud at Harvard University’s Department of Economics. Edelman has claimed several things against Zango, ranging from misleading installation methods to Zango purposefully interfering with affiliate commission tracking processes in order to seize affiliate commissions they did not earn.
Zango is of the opinion that their software fulfills the demand of millions of consumers for free access to online videos, games, music, tools and utilities, in exchange for targeted advertising when they search or browse the Internet. In a recent blog posting by a Zango representative wrote, “that Internet users like their music, pictures and everything else accessible via the Web to be available for free.” The post goes on to say, “At Zango, our goal is to fulfill consumers’ growing demand for free content, such as online videos, games, music, tools and utilities, while at the same time automating and monetizing relationships between content creators, Web publishers and advertisers of all sizes. This is the essence of the Content Economy.”
With a self claiming 20 million opt-in users and an average of 200,000 new consumers installing their products every day, maybe Zango is offering a useful product and service to end users and advertising clients alike?
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