Vomba Network has bought fellow adware operator WhenU, though both have been trying to keep the news quiet, according to MediaPost. One reason could be that while WhenU has received the equivalent of the Good Housekeeping seal in the form of certification from privacy advocate Truste, Vomba was delisted from the watchdog group's whitelist in June. Truste is considering whether to drop WhenU's certification as a result of the acquisition, which was completed a few weeks ago. Terms of the deal were not reported.
Vomba cast off Truste's certification when it decided to embark on some "new and creative" distribution models involving P2P, which is not recognized as an acceptable practice under Truste's guidelines. Some of Vomba's execs were connected to a company called Integrated Search Technologies, which was cited in an FTC complaint about three years ago for embedding adware/spyware within a site that lured users with the phony promise of free MP3 downloads. Whether the merger sullies WhenU's otherwise clean image - or if Vomba can benefit from the association - remains to be seen.
By David Kaplan