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Claria (Gator Rebranded) Data Sheet
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This 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 http://www.claria.com/gainexit/ .

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 2001—2006 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.

 

SOFTWARE NAME
Gator eWallet

It should also be noted that the following related software was also used in the GAIN system:

• DashBar
• Date Manager
• EntryPass
• GotSmiley
• Offer Companion (the actual ad serving component of GAIN)
• Precision Time
• ScreenScenes
• Weatherscope
• WebSecureAlert

(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).

AD TYPES
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.
DISTRIBUTION METHOD
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.

AFFECTED BROWSERS
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 regard.
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 purposes:

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.
OTHER COMMENTS
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 on...
 

A 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 tactics—very 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:
  1. Unlimited Passcards, Identities, and Safenotes.
  2. Instant activation of already installed RoboForm Free into RoboForm Pro.
  3. Free Web and toll-free phone support.
  4. 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!

Download RoboForm Here.

 

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