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7/28/2006
04:15 PM
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Zango Blasted For Targeting MySpace As Adware Channel

Despite one critic saying he has a "smoking gun," Zango says it's not going after the social networking site.

"This practice was immediately halted last month upon learning of MySpace's 'Non-commercial user by members' term of use shortly thereafter," Magnus said. "As of a result of this finding, there are no longer MySpace users/profiles commercially benefiting through installations of our software."

That may be true in the letter of the law, but not the spirit, countered Boyd, who earlier this week detailed how a partner continues to push Zango installs on MySpace. "You'd naturally assume that this affiliate's account has been terminated," Boyd said. "But he's still installing Zango software.

"This proves that Zango's system doesn't work. One hand says we don't know anything about it, while the other sends out e-mails saying how to target MySpace," said Boyd.

Zango acknowledged the site Boyd found is run by an affiliate, but denied that that meant it was in violation of MySpace's terms. "We do have partners that provide tools to MySpace usersbut sites like this are individual sites not directly tied to MySpace. In addition, our content is often shared virally and we don't discourage that."

"In other words, they're just not going to take responsibility," said Boyd in reaction.

Boyd's claims weren't the only bad news for Zango. On Thursday, Warner Bros. Studios said that it was thinking about terminating its business arrangement with Zango. A Warner Bros. Web site targeting kids offers free game downloads bundled with Zango Search Assistant, Zango's most commonly-distributed adware.

"Our agreement with Zango is contingent upon Zango's ability to satisfy a rigorous set of adware/trackware integrity requirements," Warner Bros. spokesman Scott Rowe said. "After initial concerns were recently raised, we requested that Zango meet an even higher standard by earning certification from TRUSTe. We take this issue very seriously and we have maintained all along that if Zango does not meet any one of these criteria we will terminate the deal."

Although Rowe wouldn't confirm that the arrangement was dead -- "I'm still checking with the lawyers," he said Friday -- Zango's Magnus did.

"As of today, we are no longer working with Warner Bros.," he said.

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