MalWare Investors

Ben Edelman is a Ph.D. candidate at the Department of Economics at Harvard University and a student at the Harvard Law. He is more than annoyed at spyware.

Ben has been fairly active tracking the activities of spyware companies. While most of us merely whine about the pathetic weasels who put out this technogarbage (along with making an occasional anonymous death threat), he has actually done something productive about it.

His site is a rich resource for "Research, Testing, Legislation, and LawSuits". More recently,  Ben created a page that:

"lists major US companies in the spyware business as I define it (tracking and/or collecting sensitive information, either without notice and consent or without meaningful notice and informed consent), along with the investors who have provided these companies with, by my count, at least $139 million of venture funding."

In other words, a list of the VCs who gave money to Malware firms. I wonder how many partners know that they are investors who fund and support Spyware? Let’s hope they apply pressure to their general partners to stop them, and cut the funding off at the source. 

I like the idea a lot. Nothing like a little sunshine on bad corporate/VC activity to influence some behavioral modifications.

Investors Supporting Spyware
Ben Edelman

Ben Edelman‘s research on VC  malware investments:

Company (products)

Investment amount, firm, date

Controversial product characteristics / my research / references

180solutions (Zango, n-Case)

$40 millionSpectrum Equity Investors – March 2004

installation through security holes

claiming affiliate commissions

covering web sites with competitors’ sites

Claria / Gator (GAIN)

$58+ millionU.S. Venture Partners, Greylock, Crosslink Capital, Garage Technology Ventures, Rosewood Stone Group, Investor AB, Technology Crossover Ventures

confusing installations with lengthy, poorly-presented, one-sided licenses

covering web sites with ads for competitors

making false claims about business practices

Direct Revenue (OfferOptimizer, many aliases)

$20 millionInsight Venture Partners – April 2004

$6.7 millionTechnology Investment Capital Corp – August 2004

installation through security holes

deleting competitors from users’ disks

covering web sites with competitors’ sites

Newsweek article: use of many aliases, claiming affiliate commissions

advertiser list forthcoming

eXact Advertising (BargainBuddy, BullsEye)

$15 millionTechnology Investment Capital Corp – November 2004

installation through security holes

claiming affiliate commissions

covering web sites with competitors’ sites

advertiser list forthcoming

These investments total more than $139 million.

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  1. Chad Gillies commented on Jun 17

    we are looking for venture capital.

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