Claria to Sell Adware Business

NEW YORK Claria said it has hired an investment bank to sell its adware business in the next few months, as the company looks to lure big-name partners to use its personalization and behavioral ad-targeting platforms.

The Redwood City, Calif.-based company has contracted Deutsche Bank Securities to sell its adware assets, which include GAIN, a pop-up advertising program Claria bundles with free software. Consumer groups and some advertisers and publishers have objected to Claria’s adware practices. Claria said it would only sell the business to a purchaser that agreed to abide by industry privacy standards, including those of TRUSTe.

Claria hopes its exit from the adware business will reassure potential publishing partners to use its tracking technology as a method of offering users a personalized Web experience and more targeted advertising. Rather than pop-ups, Claria’s new PersonalWeb platform will offer users who opt in news feeds, headlines and other content based on their Internet use, while also using the same data to target ads on the publishers’ sites.

Claria said it would launch a test version of PersonalWeb with publishing partners next month.

Claria’s controversial past helped scuttle an acquisition by Microsoft last summer. The tech giant was reportedly in discussions to buy Claria for $400 million. However, objections within Microsoft to Claria’s past practices led Microsoft to walk away from the deal, according to sources at the time.