180solutions Acquires Hotbar, Rebrands

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180solutions, a company whose behavioral advertising practices have resulted in a slew of spyware/adware lawsuits, has purchased Hotbar reports the Seattle Times. The latter’s Internet Explorer plug-in is known for letting users customize their toolbar wallpaper, and for tracking their online activities. 180solutions’ purchase of Hotbar is a way for the beleaguered company to increase the size of its audience and ad inventory. Still, 180 hasn’t disclosed how much it paid for Hotbar, but 83 of Hotbar’s 140 employees in their New York and Israeli offices will be merged with 180, including CEO Oren Dobronsky.

To reflect the merger, 180solutions is now known as “Zango,” also the name of its behavioral advertising service. “Zango” will continue to provide the same Hotbar and 180 services as before.

“We have built an extensive user base and effective advertising opportunities through a wide variety of Internet services,” said Dobronsky in a statement. “The scale of this merger makes possible an array of opportunities to fulfill consumer and advertising demand for the products of the new Zango.”

This is perhaps the most bold move from 180solutions to clean up its image as an advertising provider. In January, the company fended off complaints filed by the Center for Democracy and Technology with the FTC for deceptive business practices.

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