hmm..interesting posted by

Adware scum run.

Richard Stiennon has produced a short report on his blog looking at the extent of the global adware ‘plague’, using figures culled from a sample of 1.49 million computers. If the figures are true they’re astonishing. To quote a teeny bit:

If we take the leap and assume that the sample is representative of the Internet in total we can estimate how many machines have each of these products installed on them. Using the reported number of “active Internet users” from the same time frame, 265 million, we get the following number of installs for each of these products:

  • Gator (GAIN) – 38,400,000
  • 180search Assistant – 36,200,000
  • BlazeFind – 31,700,000
  • ISTbar/Aupdate – 28,300,000
  • Transponder (vx2) – 28,200,000
  • Internet Optimizer – 27,500,000


To make it worse he goes on to give his estimate of the earnings for these adware merchants. I haven’t had time to delve deeper into the figures, but the possibilities are staggering. To whit:

Now, let’s look at how much money these “customer installations” generate. Look at my column in CIO Update where I go over the adware economy and come up with a number for the average cash flow per “customer installation” per year: $2.40

  • Gator (GAIN) – $92,000,000
  • 180search Assistant – $86,000,000
  • BlazeFind – $76,000,000
  • ISTbar/Aupdate – $68,000,000
  • Transponder (vx2) – $68,000,000
  • Internet Optimizer – $66,000,000

What an amazing business. These guys make spammers look like two-bit, back-alley businesses. Create software, sign up for affiliate relationships, maybe sell impressions directly to advertisers, and rake in the cash! End-user customer support? Product packaging? Retail distribution? Internationalisation? Forget about it! Imagine the margins! No wonder there is a gold rush to get in on this!

And the number one Internet adware scourge? Cool Web Search with an estimated 40 million or more infections. No wonder he calls it the Ebola of adware. Sheesh!

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