Yahoo, AOL Rejecting Adware

    November 16, 2005
    WebProNews Staff

In early 2006, an initiative backed by the two Internet portals will require developers to prove their software can be user-friendly and easy to uninstall before being certified as such by a new anti-spyware initiative.

The two big Internet portals will work with third-party verifier TRUSTe and two testing labs to certify software with their Trusted Download Program. It’s a move that the program hopes will cut down on the number of popup ads users experience.

One significant point made in BusinessWeek noted the initiative won’t have a grandfather clause for adware makers. This means any software company agreeing to the program’s terms will have to notify existing users about their software and what it does on their PCs.

For Yahoo, it means turning down millions of dollars those developers paid for its search ads, which they delivered with their software. “Yahoo is absolutely prepared to walk away from adware companies that don’t comply,” Doug Leeds, Yahoo’s vice-president for product justice, said in the report.

That position shows a turn from Yahoo’s position that it can make a beneficial difference in adware development by being an active participant in the field. The company faced criticism in September when spyware researcher Ben Edelman pointed out how Yahoo ads were appearing in several adware products.

Many adware products track user activity, and deliver a popup based on something they might be viewing or searching for online. Yahoo’s participation began when it purchased Overture in 2003, the report said, as Overture already had agreements in place with firms like Claria, which was once known as Gator.

AOL’s parent Time Warner and telecom firm Verizon will also be part of the initiative.

David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business. Email him here.