Image by cyberdees via FlickrThe desktop search engine Blinkx has bought Zango.
If Zango doesn’t immediately ring a bell then you might remember them as 180 Solutions. 180 Solutions faced a number of allegations that they installed adware without permission on PCs.
They paid a fine of $3m in November 2006 after pressure from the FTC but did not have to admit guilt. The problem, they said, was with rogue affiliates who used their own scumware together with 180 Solutions software to abuse machines.
Zango continued to sail in murky waters and security firms and their software continued to mark their software as adware. In 2007 Zango tried to sue both Kaspersky and PC Tools because of this and failed.
There is clearly a lot of anger around the deal. Zango founder Kevin Smith said the company was bought at a fire sale price and in a blog post suggested that armed guards where posted at the doors after the company’s purchase and more than the expected number of staff fired.
What’s in the deal for Blinkx in the first place?
Back in 2006 the two companies announced a partnership where Zango was described as an entertainment partner. Zango’s games, music and videos became fully searchable through Blinkx.tv.
The entertainment angle is an important one for Blinkx – which has invested heavily in video search – as it was rumoured to be deep in negotiations with News Corp and Rupert Murdoch. In 2007 there were reports that Autonomy would exercise rights to buy Blinkx. The search engine was thought to be valued at around £100m at the time.