How To Make Money With Zangocash – Zango, (also spelled zango), formerly ePIPO, 180solutions and Hotbar, was a software company that gave users access to its partners’ videos, games, tools and utilities in exchange for viewing targeted advertisements placed on their computers. The Zango software is listed as adware by Symantec and is also flagged as a potentially unwanted program by McAfee. Zango was co-founded by two brothers: Keith Smith, who was CEO; and K Smith, who served as CTO.
Zango’s consumer website claims the company is “committed to creating a sustainable economy built on safe and ethical practices by protecting consumer privacy while offering a fulfilling and high-value experience.” It provided targeted advertising
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Its business relationship with Zango after concerns arose that children watching Warner Bros. contt could be exposed to pornographic ads.
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StopBadware.org lists numerous undesirable behaviors associated with Zango Easy Messger, including “behaves as spyware”, “runs automatically on startup”, “displays pop-up ads”, “installs adware”, and “package cannot be closed “. The same page states: “We find that Zango Easy Messger is not bad software, although it exhibits behavior that users should be aware of.”
Websse has a security advisory related to Zango from November 2006 that states “Websse Security Labs has discovered a number of user pages on the MySpace domain that have videos that appear to be from YouTube. The videos have an installer embedded in them for the Zango Cash Toolbar. When users click on the video, they are directed to a copy of the video, which is hosted on a site called “Yootube.info”. … the video is downloading and trying to install setup.exe from Zango Cash.”
A more detailed analysis of this attack, according to one website, is that “Zango continues to engage in numerous practices that are likely to confuse, deceive or otherwise harm typical users, as well as practices specifically contrary to Zango’s obligations under its agreement with the FTC since November 2006.” These include failure to include on-screen disclosures of material terms, widespread unlabeled and hyperlinked toolbar ads, “spoof site” ads, and non-disclosure third-party installations.
The computer security company McAfee said in 2005 that “this program may have legitimate uses” but described it as a “completely unwanted program” and an “ad downloader”.
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McAfee SiteAdvisor’s May 2008 automated analysis reports “629 red downloads” and that during testing, McAfee “found downloads on this site that some people consider to be adware, spyware, or other potentially unwanted programs.”
It was one of the first pay-to-surf companies, following in the footsteps of AllAdvantage. This business model paid users a minimal amount to surf the Internet while running an app that displayed banners. Users could also earn by referring new users.
After a joyous brief run of success, the pay-to-surf business model collapsed with the bursting of the dot-com bubble in 2001. The company, which has changed its name to 180solutions, has adapted its technologies in several ways:
From 2002 to 2005, 180solutions applications – such as ncase and 180SA (Search Assistant) – were distributed through various subsidiaries. While these affiliates were required by 180solutions contract and by law to obtain user permission prior to software installation, many failed to do so, resulting in millions of illegal non-consensual installations. Many other affiliates notified users only through the user license agreement, resulting in millions more presumably legal but mostly nonconsensual installations.
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180solutions’ software displayed pop-up ads while the user surfed the Internet. This software was often bundled with freeware that the user inadvertently installed; because the permission to install 180solutions adware was usually hidden in the EULA, most users didn’t know they were installing adware. In some cases the 180solutions software was installed as a stand-alone installation. Using this method, the ActiveX notification simply asked the user to install the software in order to be able to receive “supplementary advertisements”. 180solutions argued that the value of the software package or the ads made up for the unconvincingness of the pop-up ads. The value of this exchange has been contested by critics of the adware business model.
In 2004, Benjamin Edelman, an assistant professor at Harvard Business School and a spyware researcher, analyzed the online behavior of solution apps and argued that they diverted commissions to themselves that were properly owed to affiliates, and additionally made merchants pay commissions when affected users clicked on merchant sites directly.
During this time, 180solutions applications were designed to be difficult to uninstall, requiring the user to download an additional uninstaller application made by 180solutions or use an adware removal tool. In 2005 software uninstallation was standardized to use Windows’ Add or Remove Programs feature, making uninstallation easier.
In 2005, 180solutions implemented a number of initiatives to control the distribution of its software and eliminate non-consultative installations. In March, they acquired one of their distribution partners, a Canadian company called CDT (dba LoudCash, giving them direct visibility and more control over many of the former “third-party” distributors. In June, 180solutions claimed to have re-notified its user base of 20 million users and implemented a program that notifies all users within 72 hours of installation and re-notifies all users every 90 days thereafter. software using a botnet. In November, 180solutions announced an ongoing partnership with the FBI to break of a botnet ring in the Netherlands.In December, the company stopped distribution of 180SearchAssistant and shut down LoudCash, a holdover from the CDT acquisition.
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Despite initiatives since 2005, 180solutions has acknowledged that it is possible for malicious parties to hack their installation routines and thus cause fraudulent installations.
They claimed that the percentage of fraudulent installs dropped from over 10% to under 1%. Critics felt that the business model was impossible because the fraud against 180 solutions that harmed unwitting users through non-consensual installations could never be completely removed.
In early 2008, security researchers at Fortinet reported, erroneously, that the fast-spreading Facebook add-on “Secret Crush” tricked users into downloading Zango ads with the promise of identifying a secret admirer.
Zango died of any involvement with the widget, and further investigation by an Infoworld writer found Fortinet’s report to be incorrect.
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On June 16, 2008, the company laid off 68 of its approximately 200 employees; Also gone are executive vice president of corporate development York Baur, company co-founder Chief Technology Officer K Smith, and company co-founder Chief Information Officer Doug Hanhart. Zango said it is narrowing its focus to a deal for its new Platrium product, a “casual gaming experience” that displays targeted ads, comparison shopping and search suggestions based on keywords from a user’s Internet browsing.
On December 15, 2008, Zango closed its Tel Aviv office, which was Hotbar’s headquarters before Hotbar and 180solutions merged, laying off another 50 employees.
In a personal bankruptcy filing following a $4.6 million judgment in January 2009 in favor of a former employee, Zango’s CEO said the company was in default of more than $44 million to a bank consortium.
On April 20, 2009, the industry magazine Computerworld reported that Zango had disappeared. A spokesman for video search device maker Blinkx said that while Blinkx bought some of Zango’s technical assets, such as servers, Zango was shut down after the consortium closed.
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100% of Zango’s assets were sold to Blinkx, in what Zango’s CEO described as a “fire sale.”
When asked about employees, a Blinkx spokesperson said: “Since Zango was insolvent, we believe all employees have been made redundant.” While technically true, the majority of Zango’s employees were immediately hired by Blinkx.
It was later announced that ZangoCash was to become Pinball Publisher Network, part of Pinball Corporation, although it would still operate under its own name without changing its services. This corporation was 100% owned by Blinkx
On January 23, 2006, an advocacy group filed two formal complaints with the Federal Trade Commission. Complaints by Cter for Democracy and Technology accused 180solutions of unfair and deceptive business practices, intentionally tricking Internet users into downloading intrusive adware.
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That same year, the Federal Trade Commission charged Zango with “Deceptive failure to detect adware,” “Unfair installation of adware,” and “Unfair uninstallation practices” in violation of the Federal Trade Commission Act.
Since the FTC’s ruling, security researchers have continued to find Zango involved in problematic installations. In November 2006, Zango settled this complaint, via a construction decree with the FTC, without formally admitting fault. According to the Federal Trade Commission’s press release, “Zango, Inc., formerly known as 180solutions, Inc., one of the world’s largest distributors of adware, and two executives have agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that they unfairly used and deceptive methods of downloading adware and preventing consumers from removing it, in violation of federal law. The settlement prohibits future downloads of Zango’s adware without identifying consumers, demands that Zango provide a way for consumers to remove the adware, and demands that they forfeit $3 million in ill-gotten gains.”
These restrictions were to remain in effect for twenty years, and the agreement also required defendants Keith Smith and Daniel Todd to notify the FTC of the termination of their current business or employment, or of their
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