Following the Adware Money - Take Two
Today we released the second installment of our "Following the Money" series, which untangles the complex funding arrangements behind nuisance and harmful adware. The discussions that surrounded our release of the first report in the series revealed a lack of awareness among advertisers, ad agencies, and intermediary networks about how ads end up in deceptive adware programs. To shed some light on this issue, we conducted a study of the ads generated by two deceptive adware programs, the results of which are explained in today's report. We were a little surprised to learn that fully 55 percent of the 380 ads in our sample were placed directly by advertisers, rather than through intermediaries. In our first report, we focused only on well-known national companies using adware. Those companies tended to use more intermediaries when advertising through nuisance adware products. But in the larger universe of adware ads, most appear to be placed by companies that have a clear knowledge of what they are doing. The message, from our standpoint, is clear. It's time for advertisers to take responsibility for where their advertising dollars go. Consumers are beyond fed up with these deceptive programs and we can't imagine they'll be happy if they learn that companies they do business with are helping to support this online scourge.