AdWare.Win32.Agent.lh as In-your-face Advertising
The internet is like a shopping mall. There are so many websites that showcases items for sale. Business sites can find that shoppers are being led away from their sites to the competition’s Web catalogs. The loss in individual privacy is enormous; the loss in revenue to businesses victimized by these Internet boondogglers is incalculable. In some instances, home users find that these programs render their machines virtually unusable, while Net businesses find their attempts to honestly sell their goods are thwarted. Over 25% of Websites employ some kind of “in-your-face” advertising like AdWare.Win32.Agent.lh according to the Internet research firm Cyveillance; many of these advertising techniques cross the line into what I’m terming, only somewhat whimsically, “underware.” Government regulation is almost non-existent, so the only restraints on advertisers is their own sense of right and wrong, and what they believe the market will and will not tolerate. And generally, the market will tolerate a lot.
There seems little doubt that the whole idea of ad- and spyware came about as a legitimate extension of Internet advertising. It didn’t take long for the idealistic view of the Internet and the World Wide Web as being totally non-profit, everything-for-free venues, to fade away. Hotwired introduced Web advertising on its site in October 1994, featuring ads from Sprint, Volvo, AT&T, MCI, Zima, and others; by the time consumers began surfing the Web with the brand-new Netscape 1.0 in November of the same year, Web ads were already a fact of life. Spam — mass commercial emailings to legitimate mailing lists — appeared en masse in December (though the first spam reference I can find is the infamous April ’94 spamming from Canter and Siegel Legal Services). Affiliate marketing began in the same year, with PC Flowers and Gifts, Cybererotica, and others beating out better-known affiliate programs like Amazon.com to the Internet. What a big world, the internet has become for both profit and non-profit organizations.