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Spyware purveyor DirectRevenue closes down
Published: 2007-10-25

DirectRevenue, a company that made tens of millions of dollars pushing ads onto compromised computers, closed its doors this week, nearly four months after the Federal Trade Commission levied a $1.5 million fine against the firm.

According to a message posted to its Web site, DirectRevenue and its subsidiary Best Offers "have ceased operations." The company left behind a single page of instructions to allow victims to uninstall its software and an e-mail address that appeared not to be valid. The company gave no reason for its closure.

In June, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission issued a final judgement in its case against the company calling for its four founders -- Joshua Abram, Daniel Kaufman, Alan Murray, and Rodney Hook -- to pay $1.5 million and cease displaying ads on consumers' computers, among other penalties. The company made more than $80 million, according to court documents used in another case against the company brought by the New York Attorney General's office. The four founders received more than $28 million in three years, according to numbers posted on the Sunbelt Software blog.

The light shed on the operations of Direct Revenue and other spyware and adware firms gave security researchers enough data to estimate that each consumer infected by the software nets a firm nearly $3 in revenue per year. One survey of 20 million Web sites found that 1 in 62 attempted to install a program on the visitor's PC.

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Posted by: Robert Lemos
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