Claria to exit adware business

Company formerly known as Gator sets its sights on search, as it seeks credibility among online publishers.

Claria, formerly known as Gator, plans to sell its pop-up advertising business by June, as it seeks credibility among online publishers and privacy watchdogs.

The company on Tuesday said it has hired Deutsche Bank Securities to handle the sale of its adware assets and that it is in "active discussions" with a number of interested buyers. It emphasized that it will sell its assets only to a company that is in strict compliance with the standards of online privacy watchdog Truste and other anti-spyware organizations.

Claria last year had announced that it was branching out from its adware business to focus on search, but it didn't give a time frame or say it was dropping its adware entirely. It began testing a search service that analyzes user habits to deliver personalized results.

The company has suffered from its association with pop-up advertising, and in February 2003, it settled a high-profile lawsuit brought by The Washington Post, The New York Times, Dow Jones and other media companies.

Claria said this week that it will announce partnerships connected to the new personalization technology and launch a beta test of PersonalWeb, a consumer application using the platform, in April.

"We are delighted by both partner and market acceptance of our new personalization technologies," Claria CEO Scott VanDeVelde said in statement.

Personalized search is considered to be a major innovation in the multibillion-dollar marketing business. Many big players, such as Google, Yahoo and, have been creating services to allow consumers to customize their search experience in a bid to maximize their share of the industry.

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