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WhenU makes good

Long derided as a "spyware" distributor, WhenU is trying to put the past behind it and shake off critics of its downloadable advertising software, or adware. To that end, the New York-based company got two big boosts in the last two weeks.

On Wednesday, the adware maker raised $15 million in funding from venture capitalist Trident Capital. The money, which will be used for product development and working capital, adds to a $20 million investment from ABC Capital Partners earlier this year.

And last week, a federal appeals court dismissed claims against WhenU that its advertising practices violated the trademarks of 1-800 Contacts, an eyecare specialist.

The company's also stepping up efforts to separate itself from the bad guys, even though industry watchers often lump ad software together with spyware. That includes a press tour to ensure journalists know of the company's new tactics to label advertising with WhenU and let consumers know what they're getting with its software.

In the last six weeks, WhenU has put a 1-800 customer service number on all pop-ups it sends to consumer desktops. That way, people can call if they're disgruntled about the ads. Bill Day, WhenU's CEO, said in a recent interview that the company has received "very few calls."