Washington Post: Advertising.com Inc., a unit of Time Warner Inc.’s America Online, agreed to settle federal charges that the company offered free security software without adequately disclosing that it also came with adware.
Under a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission, Advertising.com will be required to “clearly and prominently” disclose that consumers who install the program, SpyBlast, will receive pop-up ads based on their Internet browsing habits.
The FTC complaint charged that when consumers install SpyBlast—a software intended to protect against hackers—they are not required to read the agreement alerting users about receiving potential marketing messages.
Adware and spyware have become major nuisances for consumers. Both types of programs typically are installed with little or no disclosure. While adware is less dangerous than spyware, consumers complain adware programs bombard them with pop-up ads, slow their computers and are hard to remove.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.