Thursday, February 03, 2005

Netflix advertisements are part of spyware

I sent the following message to public relations at Netflix via email on January 27:

"A Web site named alleges that Netflix uses a business called Gator/Claria to advertise its service. This business allegedly installs spyware or adware (unwelcome software) called GAIN, on Web users' computers, against their full knowledge and consent. Can you verify or confirm for me whether this is true? If you disagree that GAIN is spyware or adware, could you explain to me why? Can you confirm or deny the nature of your relationship with Gator/Claria?"

I haven't received a reply.

According to, Netflix is one of the top 20 advertisers utilizing Claria to distribute their ads. They obtained the information from documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

This tidbit about Claria comes via the L.A. Times:

"The businesses most often accused of distributing spyware, including privately held Claria Corp., WhenU Inc. and 180Solutions Inc., say they are providing legitimate "adware" services to customers who approved the installation. But their disclosures are often misleading or buried: A recent Claria license ran for more than 60 electronic pages, first mentioning the phrase "pop-up" on page 18."

Maybe a Netflix employee who reads my blog can help me clear up this issue.


  1. If true, I'm outraged. No company should be in the buisness of (even indirectly) hijacking a persons computer. I've been with Netflix for just over two years now but I'm the type of idealistic person that would dump a company based entirely on the corporate morals issue.

    So please Netflix, say it ain't so? Or if it is so, make amends NOW.

  2. Although I don't know anything about how Netflix manages their advertising, I'm sure they use every available abenue of approach, just like every other corporation out there in the online adspace.

    Blockbuster ads will also popup from adware that is installed onto systems, as do ones from Walmart, Amazon, the armed forces, and numerous other companies.

    This is the one situation where we don't want to kill the one sending the message...we want to kill the messenger (adware companies). :-D