The Hidden Money Trail

Payday From Clicks

While some advertisers stumble into adware unawares, others are unapologetic about their use of it.

"We wouldn't do it if it wasn't effective," says Kelly Ford, vice president of marketing for New York-based Travelzoo, a media company specializing in such clients as airlines and online travel sites.

Ford's company works with Claria and Soho Digital, an arm of Direct Revenue. However, he says Travelzoo spends only a small percentage of its total media budget on adware contracts. "We try to do just enough to make an impression in the marketplace without being overly intrusive," Ford explains.

"Advertisers are a notoriously demanding bunch," notes Trevor Hughes, executive director of the Network Advertising Initiative, a trade group for online advertisers. "If adware pop-ups didn't work, they wouldn't buy them."

Still, many advertisers and agencies shy away from using adware. Avenue A/Razorfish, which places ads with 180solutions and Claria, says less than 2 percent of its total billings went toward adware in the first quarter of 2005.

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