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Claria Announces Yahoo Deal, New Tech

The adware maker says its new tool, called PersonalWeb, anonymously recognizes users' unique interests based on Web surfing patterns and organizes their content, news, and information on a customized home page.

Gregg Keizer

April 3, 2006

2 Min Read

Long-time adware spreader Claria, which two weeks ago announced it was abandoning that business, said Monday it had struck a deal with Yahoo, received a $40 million shot in the arm, and launched a new technology, dubbed PersonalWeb.

PersonalWeb, said Claria, "anonymously recognizes a user's unique interests based on Web surfing patterns and automatically organizes their content, news, and information on a home page that is customized for each individual user."

Other companies' software strives for much the same thing. Google's Desktop, for instance, includes a news component that displays stories based on prior reading practices.

Claria will partner with Yahoo Japan, the Tokyo-based arm of the American portal company, to produce a custom home page for users, the Redwood City, Calif.-based firm said. And it has also secured $40 million in financing from several investors, including Softbank America, Canada's Rogers Communications, and venture capitalists Asia Pacific Ventures and Sand Hill Capital.

"This investment is a strong vote of confidence in [our] ability to apply our years of expertise in understanding consumer behavior across the Internet to a new generation of applications," said Scott VanDeVelde, Claria's chief executive, in a statement. The money will be used to continue development of the PersonalWeb platform and strike deals with online content publishers and Internet Service providers (ISPs).

Claria isn't totally abandoning the concept of putting ads in front of users, however, since PersonalWeb admits to showing advertisements.

"PersonalWeb may provide links, content, information, advertisements, [emphasis added] and graphics (collectively, 'Content') that are automatically selected for users based on the information collected by PersonalWeb," the company's end user license agreement (EULA) read.

During 2004, the last year for which Claria released sales figures, the company's revenue was $117 million, making it one of the most profitable adware purveyors. At one time its Gator/GAIN line of programs was the second-most pervasive adware on PCs, which led critics to blast it as recently as November for surreptitious installations and for paying spyware vendors to show Claria ads.

A beta of PersonalWeb, which runs only on Windows XP and requires Microsoft's Internet Explorer 6.0, can be downloaded from Claria's Web site.

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