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Jellycloud aka Claria aka Gator has shut down?

October 11th 2008 in Uncategorized

imageYes, I know this report has been around for quite a few days, but I prefer to let things shake out and wait to see what comes to light before writing, especially when the original information is from a “tipster”.

At first, the report was kind of surprising, considering Jellycloud had apparently raised many millions in venture capital including, apparently, attracting investors SoftBank, Sand Hill Capital and Crosslink Capital.

Source: http://www.webguild.org/2008/10/jellycloud-shuts-down-after-taking-50-million.php

via

http://valleywag.com/5056918/sneaky-ad-startup-jellycloud-deflates-taking-50-million+plus-with-it  (that’s an interesting subjectline, when viewed after reading the later report by VentureBeat – the later report by Venturebeat states that Jellycloud “never drew down on the other tranche of capital it had announced“.  As far as I know that means that investors are going to get money back).

VentureBeat’s report is here:

http://venturebeat.com/2008/10/06/controversial-ad-company-jellycloud-shuts-down-citing-industry-consolidation/

According to VentureBeat, an anonymous company source stated that the deteriorating economy and industry consolidation were not the only pressures that came to bear on Jellycloud.  The source said that an earlier story by the same reporter also brought pressure to bear:

The source said the VentureBeat story was just one more thing that frustrated the team — by linking the company to its controversial past (Gator was reviled by many because it would track what people were reading online, and would run pop up ads to target them), even as the team was determined to emerge with a clean slate.

The story can be found here:

http://venturebeat.com/2008/09/16/the-ad-network-that-keeps-changing-its-stripes-gator-claria-and-now-jellycloud/

Some else caught my eye in the earlier article – yes, Matt Marshall highlighted the link between Jellycloud and Gator/Claria, but he also said:

I talked with the company’s executives, Scott Vandevelde and Scott Eagle, and they said the company is still trying to figure out its model. It’s serving ads based on standard strategies that maximize return for advertisers, such as noting the best times to serve ads, noting location of users to allow geographically targeted campaigns, and so on. It is doing so in a way that is upfront with users, letting them opt in, the executives say. Users will want to use it, they say, because ads will be more relevant for them. in other words, the company is turning a new leaf.

As the article notes, Gator was around about 8 or so years ago, and its replacement, Claria, dropped out of the advertising market 2 years ago.  Jellycloud gave every indication that it wanted, and was trying, to turn good.  So, putting aside the deteriorating economy, the low income potential, the industry consolidation and the parts they had to play in Jellycloud’s demise, here’s something I would like you to think about, and even discuss on this blog if you so desire – it is an ethical/moral dilemma that I have touched on more than once:

At what point do we stop referring back to the history of a bad actor trying to turn good, and stop writing things like “sneaky start up” and “in the sneakiest move of all, it then raised $11.5 million under a new company name, JellyCloud, with the same set of executives as Claria“.  After all, we do not know for certain what Jellycloud disclosed to its investors – the senior management team certainly didn’t try to hide their past connections with Claria on their linkedin profiles – a transparency that doesn’t really tie in with trying to be “sneaky“.  Not only that, in a past life I spent over 20 years working with various legal firms in pretty much every field except for family and criminal law, and I can tell you this from long personal experience – venture capital investors do NOT invest millions of dollars in a company without finding out exactly who and what they are investing in.  You can bet your booties the investors completed a comprehensive due diligence before handing over the cash.  So, I think we can put aside any suggestion of sneakiness, at least as far as their relations with their investors are concerned.

As I have said several times in the past, I believe as much in *redemption* as I do in stopping bad actors.  Yes, I will knock down the bad actors and stop them where I can, but I will also support genuine attempts to turn good, granting ex-bad actors the opportunity to start with a clean slate, and will do what I can to help new good behavior to be as successful (financially and otherwise) as the previous bad behavior was (but woe betide them if they betray my good will).

If we don’t give bad actors a realistic chance at redemption, and if we do not encourage (and most importantly publicly react to) changes for the better then what encouragement are we giving them to change?  Whacking them on the head with a 2×4 only does so much, and by encouraging and helping bad actors to turn good then we have a positive impact on **every single computer that the ex-bad-software touches**.  If we restrict ourselves to wielding the 2×4 then we only have an impact on those people who read our blog, or our web site, or happen to come to us to help get rid of infections.  It is something that is worth thinking about.


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