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Snarling Web Publishers Snap Back at Gator

By® Staff

Originally Posted

On-line ad network and software maker Gator Corp. is doing tricky things with Internet ads, and is pissing off users and Internet publishers alike.

Divisions of The New York Times, Dow Jones, Knight-Ridder, Tribune Companies, Gannett Co., and The Washington Post Co. have filed a big-deal lawsuit alleging that Gator is selling ad space on the publishing companies' Web sites without the owners' permission.

How does that work? It seems Gator manages to place unapproved and unwanted pop-up ads on top of the publishing companies' content. In one recent instance, Gator managed to get ads from to appear on the site.

The Internet Advertising Bureau has been hot on Gators' heels -- do gators have heels? -- because of a Gator ad product that basically replaces a Web site's ad units with its own inventory.

The legal filing isn't very friendly, saying Gator is "a parasite on the Web that free rides on the hard work and investments of Plaintiffs and other Web site owners."

"Gator Corp. makes money by placing advertisements for third parties on the Plaintiffs' Web sites without Plaintiffs' authorization," the complaint says, "and pockets the profits from such sales."

The creative Gator actively markets publishers' audiences to advertisers, even though it has no contract with the publishers, telling customers "it is more effective to advertise on a targeted Web site by buying the URL through Gator Corp. than actually approaching the Web site owner itself."

While the suit doesn't actually mention the word "blackmail," it does point out that Gator has said it would refrain from selling unauthorized advertising on publishers' sites, if the publisher agrees to pay a "special fee" that can range up to $50,000. Recognizing a good idea when we see one, CornerBarPR.comSM has decided that we, too, will avoid advertising on any site that pays us $50,000.

Checks can be sent to this address.

Catch you later, Gator.

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