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|Claria (Gator Rebranded) Data Sheet
|Knowledge Base on ThiefWare and other
WhenU w/ SaveNow
Microsoft Internet Explorer
is a welcomed change! Claria has decided to shut down its GAIN program and has
advised people that use their software tied to the GAIN advertisement system to uninstall
Claria's software (Gator, etc.). See this URL: http://www.claria.com/gainexit/ . Also note
that any former Gator URL (http://www.gator.com/ and interior page URL's) redirects to
It's too bad many affiliate victims had to lose commissions to Claria (new corporate name
formerly known as Gator). Most likely all of the ill-gotten gains taken from affiliate
sites and other Web sites from 20012006 will remain with Claria. If affiliates knew
how much money they lost to GAIN, they would likely be very angry. I wonder how much money
I lost to GAIN.
Before we get into the details of Claria's now defunct ThiefWare program,
we want to inform you of a much better program to replace the only useful function of
Claria's Gator program. Enter RoboForm. RoboForm is specifically designed for the task of
auto filling forms for you. RoboForm is the Gator replacement program. It's ThiefWare free
and ad free. They have 2 versions, a free version and a worthwhile paid upgrade version.
Kick Gator off of your computer and use the best alternative to Gator. You can download it or read more about it.
It should also be noted that the following related software was also used in the GAIN system:
Offer Companion (the actual ad serving component of GAIN)
(misspellings might include: Dash Bar, Entry Pass, Got Smiley, Screen Scenes, Weather Scope, and
Web Secure Alert)
SUPPLIER NAME / URLs
Claria (Gator Corporation Rebranded), a.k.a. GAIN Publishing (Gator
Advertising and Information Network) / www.gator.com, www.claria.com
The Gator Corporation tried to shake the ThiefWare stigma associated with them in the early 2000 decade
so as to attract unsuspecting advertisers who might be fooled into advertising with them — hence the
name change to Claria. As an advertiser, don't be fooled as to where Claria's roots are. Even though
they have shed their thiefware practices, should we just forget all the bad that they have unleashed
upon past businesses and affiliates? We think not.
Claria = Gator = GAIN (all share the ThiefWare heritage).
In 2001, some Gator graphic ads would overlay other graphics and ads present on Web pages.
They did this so well, it appeared that the Gator ads were actually part of the existing web
site. Gator's ads would fit the exact dimensions of the native graphics or ads on the Web site.
It is our opinion that Gator Corp. (now Claria) abandoned the super-imposed ads (ad overlays)
because they saw themselves as possibly opening themselves up to a lawsuit they could not win.
They will likely never admit to that as it would make them look guilty of wrongdoing. We don't
believe they quit that ad practice for the good of the net.
Claria officially shut down the pop-up ad delivery served by Claria's software on
October 1, 2006. Now they've decided to stop using the GAIN system from October 2006 onward.
Before fall of 2006: direct download of Gator; bundled with various other software packages.
After fall of 2006 (officially October 1, 2006): People are directed by Claria not to download
their software nor do they seem to offer it as a download in it's various forms.
For a while some sites employed ActiveX controls to install Claria's software. We are not quite
sure who developed this method of installing Gator, but it benefitted Claria. Many users got stuck
with a program they didn't even know was being installed on their computers via these ActiveX
programs. ActiveX is usually by default set to execute on Microsoft's Internet Explorer. Be sure to
check the MSIE ActiveX settings page to disable ActiveX. Many
people had their computer's hijacked in this manner.
Formerly Microsoft Internet Explorer and Netscape, most versions,
but now no longer a threat.
EASE OF DIRECT REMOVAL
It stands to reason that Claria's software should no longer be getting installed on your
computer which means you should not be getting any new versions installed. However, with that said
the following information is provided:
Difficult to remove if you attempted to remove it manually (meaning you located the application
parts and manually deleted them). If you didn't completely remove all components and registry
entries, you may have found that Gator reinstalled itself once an Internet connection was detected.
This was what made Gator hard to keep off of your system if not removed properly.
Back in early times of computers, you could delete a couple important application components and
you could be sure the application would not work. It was different with Gator. If certain components
of Gator were left on the computer, it could get reinstalled even though you did not want it.
Back in earlier times (2001—2002) Windows Add/Remove Utility within Windows98 was reported
to not remove Gator and Claria's Offer Companion programs effectively.
Offer Companion is the ThiefWare ad delivery software. See more evidence of Gator's difficulty of removal:
a) Gator makes its software
hard to remove, b) Gator was usually installed
without an uninstall routine (making it difficult to remove).
Recent (up to October 2006)
copies of Gator and related sofware of GAIN
have not been tested for ease of removal via the "Add or Remove Programs" WindowsXP utility.
Manual removal was deemed too difficult for the average computer user. If the Add/Remove utility won't
remove all components of this program, you'll need to get an anti-spyware program to help in that
AD DISABLE METHOD (server-side)
No longer needed; GAIN officially shut down
in October 2006. Before fall of 2006 no method worked to stop ads.
HOW IT WORKS
While GAIN program has been shut down, the following information is provided for informational
Gator eWallet (Gator for short) operated by reading the text of each Web page. Once it determined a match
of keywords existed on a Web page and in the Gator Database of ad/keyword pairs, a Gator ad pop-up
was launched covering much if not all of the original site that you were viewing—quite a nuisance
for the computer user. The site owners got no compensation from Claria when their site was used
in this unethical manner. Claria called it Contextual Advertisement. We call it ThiefWare
advertising. Good contextual advertising does not use other people's Web site to display ads
without their consent and without compensating the Web site owner.
While a user's computer was talking to Claria's servers, we did not know what information
was actually being transmitted from the user's computer to Claria. Gator tracked the
surfer's surfing habits, but to what extent we do not know.
THIEFWARE MARKET EXPOSURE
Claria's distribution was very wide according to reports. Millions of users had Gator on
their computers, many of which did not decide to install it knowingly. Many users
installed it unknowingly while installing another software bundle or had it installed
via hidden ActiveX methods without their knowledge in times past.
Due to quite a number of people who had low security settings for ActiveX controls
within Microsoft's IE browser, they had little if any warning when Gator was being
installed. Other people that had higher security settings on MSIE would not get the
automatic download without first knowing about it. The latter got advance notice
of the impending download and were able to abort it.
Gator supposedly had told these sites to use a modified ActiveX method that was
designed to alert the user of the download whether or not they have low security
settings set on MSIE. Gator told ThiefWare.com that they used a popunder
to alert the user. We wondered why they didn't use a popup so that the user knew right
away they were getting software downloaded. The representative also said that when
Gator ran at computer boot-up, it would notify the user that Gator was running.
Because it seemed difficult to manually find and erase all traces of Gator's ad
delivery mechanism, we recommend that you get a spyware remover application. A good
spyware program will remove all programs and registry keys belonging to Gator and Offer
Companion (ad delivery component).
Ultimately we believe that some of the methods that have been used to install
Gator were deceptive or unclear to users. We found that many users did not completely
understand how they were being monitored for ad delivery either.
The confusion was due to the very lengthy EULA from Claria that attempted to
cover every sort of legality and function of Gator in very long-winded paragraphs.
If people had short plain english explanations written for them at the 8th grade
level, much of the confusion of what that program did would have gone away and we would
have seen more people removing Gator from their computers.
Many people that did deliberately download Gator only understood that they would get
ads delivered in exchange for use of the application. The user might also understand
that their surfing habits were being watched. But, many users did not realize how
damaging it could be to the sites that got Gator'd.
These site owners had not given Gator permission to display ads over their
sites. The site owners received no ad revenue from Claria which made Claria a parasite of
the Web site, all at the Web site owner's expense. It put the victim Web site at an
unfair disadvantage for visibility
Gator's original purpose might have been nobel before they started contextually
targeting Web sites with ads. If you want a program to do what Gator
did (not the ad pop-up function, but the form filling feature), we have a much better
ThiefWare free alternative. If you have (or had) Gator and are using the form filling
feature, do not yet delete it before reading
Better Alternative to Claria's
Gator Automatic Form Filler
We won't leave you without a useful tool to replace Gator. To the rescue is RoboForm
. RoboForm is a tool that does
what Gator did and without the ads. RoboForm will convert and import the database from
the existing Gator program. Before you delete Gator altogether, install RoboForm and use
it to import all your existing Gator database information. Once you have done that, you
may then remove Gator. What's even better is that RoboForm is provided Free in its basic
form. RoboForm Pro
is also available for just
$29.95, an affordable upgrade to all the user enhancements. The people at RoboForm have
vowed to never
resort to using ThiefWare tacticsvery good
news for all of us. We would also encourage you to get the upgrade to show your support
for RoboForm and at the same time gain:
- Unlimited Passcards, Identities, and Safenotes.
- Instant activation of already installed RoboForm Free into RoboForm Pro.
- Free Web and toll-free phone support.
- 30-day Money Back Satisfaction Guarantee.
RoboForm works with Mozilla and FireFox Web browsers with adapter software and of course
Microsoft's Internet Explorer.
Thank you RoboForm!
WhenU w/ SaveNow
Microsoft Internet Explorer