AdWare.Win32.Agent.acn title as Specifically Targeted AdwareAdWare.Win32.Agent.acn title as Specifically Targeted Adware
Times gone by since the earlier stages of adware came to life. By 1996, tracking methodology had been implemented and was in use by such ad providers. One on line website was launched in 1997 as an attempt to provide a centralized, detailed search function for affiliates. The idea was relatively straightforward: to reach out to as many Net consumers as possible, and somehow track their surfing and buying habits in order to fine-tune advertising tactics. Of course, the entire idea is predicated on invading Net users’ privacy at least to some degree. “Cookies,” designed as part of the original Netscape protocols, were implemented to store login information, track surfers’ visits to commercial sites, and keep at least some record of personal and demographical information in order to assist sales and marketing tactics; ad banners were selected to target a site’s demographics; and so forth.
The thinking isn’t much different from the ideas driving mass postal mailings, catalog requests (why do you think they ask you for so much information for a simple catalog mailing?), telemarketing calls (“We see you’re a satisfied customer of Foobar Corporation’s MegaWidget, and as such, we’d like to introduce you to…”) — even television ads marketed to a channel’s prime viewing audience (toys on Cartoon Network, shopping outlets on Lifetime, computer goodies on TechTV, etc.). All these advertising and marketing techniques are, by necessity, somewhat scattershot in approach and effectiveness, and the results bear this out. When a 1% “click-through” rate for banner ads is considered excellent, that says something. So the advertisers and the software designers decided to raise the bar a bit.
The idea of specifically targeted “adware” such as AdWare.Win32.Agent.acn came about when the producers of freebie product found that they couldn’t make money — or enough money to suit their pocketbooks — by simply giving their products away, or hoping that folks who signed up for their services would click on the ads that ran on their sites. Thus they began to bundle advertising within their wares. Suddenly Websites and software developers that prided themselves on being aggressively non-profit found themselves forced to accept advertising to stay afloat. Developers found themselves embracing, or at least accepting, the idea of modifying their programs with commercial content, requiring users to either accept ads along with the freebies or register the programs, usually for a fee, to obtain the ad-free versions. Of course it didn’t end there. As Internet advertising showed itself to be a dicey-at-best proposition, the software used to promulgate advertising and encourage ecommerce on the Net became more and more sophisticated and, unfortunately, more intrusive. We can only guess what the future is for internet advertising.