Claria Says to Uninstall its Adware

Adware company Claria this week took the unusual step of telling users to uninstall its software, following through on a promise to exit the adware business in order to focus on personalized search. Claria says it will stop sending pop-up ads to users' computers on July 1.

"Our software will continue to collect data about your web usage from your computer for research and other purposes as described in our Privacy Statement until September 30, 2006, unless you uninstall the software before this date," the company said in a statement on its Web site. "It is recommended that you uninstall all of GAIN Supported Software presently on your computer."

Claria is best known for its Gator application, later renamed to GAIN, which tracks where individuals surf on the Web and pushes related advertisements to their screens. The company became the scourge of privacy advocates who claimed Claria was pulling in hundreds of millions of dollars thanks to spyware.

The company has been working to change its image since last year, when it first made public plans to shift to a more legit revenue model. Claria's technology even apparently interested Microsoft, who reportedly was in negotiations to acquire the company.

Claria intends to focus its resources on PersonalWeb, a new Web portal that is personalized for each user. The company has raised around $40 million for the venture.

Currently in beta, the site requires a small download that analyzes a user's surfing habits and then places suggested content on the portal without setup from the user. In an addition to suggested content, PersonalWeb also provides links to a customers web e-mail accounts and RSS integration.

Additionally, Claria has plans to resell the technology behind PersonalWeb to third parties to create branded versions of the portal, which can be customized to include the third party's content by default. The company signed an agreement with Yahoo! Japan in April to provide custom homepages for the service's users.

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