Yet another adware company is facing legal woes. It looks likeÂ the stuff has hit the fan for Wurld Media. The CEO, Gregory Kerber, and the CFO, Richard Saxton, were arraigned on Friday on a number of felony and misdemeanor charges. The charges include second-degree grand larceny, third-degree grand larceny, fourth-degree money laundering, first-degree falisifying business records, first-degree offering a false instrument for filing, failure to pay benefits, second degree criminal contempt and failure to withhold income taxes. This follows a seven month investigation by Spa City police and State tax agency. The two face a possible 50 years in jail.
Those who have been in the industry a while should remember Wurld Media, who ran a P2P network way back, Morpheus, and bundled this with their adware, Buyersport. Buyersport is still around and Wurld Media markets their charity loyalty shopping platform (including the adware) through the Grow Hope Network. Wurld Media provides turnkey solutions of their shopping solution (adware included) for such reputable charities as Special Olympics, Arthritis Foundation and United Cerebral Palsy.
Much of the opposition to revenue generating tactics of adware applicatlions within affiliate marketing began with the Buyersport software. I think of them as the “grandfather” of adware. There were also several people who were outspoken against the practices who received personal “visits” on behalf of Buyersport, myself included. Personally, I was told Wurld Media was considering criminal and civil action agains me for views I had expressed publicly. So these charges hold a bit of irony for me. I have to wonder what the charities response to this will be. Allegations of money laundering, even for a contracted third party, just doesn’t seem the type of thing such reputable charities would want to be associated with. I have the same thoughts about some of the big brand merchants partnered with uyersport. What will their response be? And how will merchants feel towards networks who have recommended Buyersport as valued affiliate partners? Of course, all of this is alleged at the the moment. Kerber and Saxton have a right to a fair trial and the presumption of innocence. But then branding is about image. This one will certainly be interesting to follow.