Claria Baits Publishers With ‘PersonalWeb’

Claria has begun offering publishers content personalization, courtesy of its behavioral tracking software, in exchange for distribution of that software.

The offering, called “PersonalWeb,” marks a new a distribution strategy for the company formerly known as Gator, which is eager to get its desktop software installed on more user PCs.

The product is free to publishers, who Claria says will benefit from increased pageviews and longer user sessions. In addition, they’ll be better able to target offers and ads.

“It’s all about creating stickiness on the site so users don’t have to go to other sites to get what they want,” said Scott Eagle, Claria’s CMO. “The personalization module is free to publishers, because it’s in theirs and our interest.”

It’s imperative for Claria to continually add to its installed user base. In February, the company boasted approximately 40 million installations. But attrition is unavoidable, and the company is actively seeking to partner with the owners of sticky applications that lack a clear revenue model.

“I don’t want to be on just 40 or 50 million desktops,” Eagle said, “I want to be on 150 million. The only way to get to that level is to work with marquee publishers and portals that have sticky apps to bundle with.”

Eagle said Claria is in productive talks with many publishers and content aggregators, but likely won’t announce any PersonalWeb partnerships until the end of the year. He said most potential partners are considering allocating a small percentage of their front page. However, they’re wary of pending spyware legislation, including HR 29, and potential negative user reaction to proposed installation of behavior-tracking software on their PCs.

“We’re talking to the biggest publishers and building traction,” said Eagle. “People are still looking at things like HR 29 to make sure there are guidelines and rules of the road. They’re grappling with the best way of marketing to the consumer.”

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