have written before about parasitic advertisements that "hijack" Web sites. The example I used was if someone at Ford Motor Company decided to use this advertising method. (This is a theoretical example. I doubt if Ford stoops to such questionable advertising methods.) Ford Motor Corporation then would pay a fee to the creator of the pop-up software to have Ford advertisements appear on top of Daimler Chrysler's Web site. The company that writes the parasite software would add the Daimler Chrysler site to the list of sites that will generate a pop-up ad for Ford. Another method would provide that, anytime the unwitting viewer visits any Web site that has the word "Chrysler" on the page, the Ford Motor Company ad would appear.
The same advertising software often spies on users, although not always. These "spyware" programs monitor the Web sites a user visits and collect personal information, reporting such data back to the company that provides the parasite advertising. While all the companies that provide this spyware claim that they do not collect names, e-mail addresses, credit card numbers, or other such sensitive personal information, all admit that it would be trivial to add such capability.
In the two previous Plus Edition articles I wrote, I mentioned that such questionable "hijack ads" are now being used by at least two genealogy-related companies. Both of the companies have headquarters in Utah.
Invasion of an organization's Web site by a competitor is in bad taste, to say the least. New developments now indicate that it also may be illegal, and it looks as if the first cases are headed to court.
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