Zango Makes Nice with FTC

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Zango, the online media company formerly known as adware developer 180solutions, has reached an agreement with the Federal Trade Commission to resolve the investigation into its alleged unfair trade practices.

According to the Center for Democracy and Technology, the advocacy group that filed the complaint with the FTC in January, Zango deceived users into installing intrusive ad serving software onto their systems.

Zango has agreed to hand over $3 million in fines, and the agreement sets legal standards for downloadable adware applications. Zango maintains its innocence, saying that its software delivery system no longer relies on unscrupulous affiliates who modify and distribute Zango software against its policies.

Still, industry analyst and 180solutions critic Ben Edelman tells ADOTAS that hands aren’t completely clean with the re-branding. “180 continues plenty of bad practices, including unlabeled ads, materially misleading installations that fail to disclose key aspects of 180’s effects, and installation attempts predicated on security exploits. I have the proof, and I expect to post this on my website in the coming weeks.” Still, Edelman adds, “I commend the FTC’s efforts here, but serious diligence will be required to assure that 180 actually complies with its many obligations” under the settlement. At this instant, I am confident that 180 is not in compliance.”

In a press statement, though, Zango CEO Keith Smith stated: “Early in our business, and as we’ve acknowledged, we relied too heavily on our affiliates to enforce our consumer notice and consent policies… We deeply regret and apologize for the resulting negative impact. The FTC’s leadership in providing clarity around best practices is a welcome and significant step forward for Zango and our industry. We embrace the new standards and will continue to create, abide by and strive for best practices that protect consumers.”

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