NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Gator, the online marketing company whose software allows marketers to deliver intrusive pop-up ads while consumers surf the Web, has changed its name to Claria Corp.
Claria, which has been the target of legal challenges by online publishers and other entities, said the change was made to better reflect the company's three lines of business: the Gain Publishing division, which publishes and distributes software; Gain Network, provider of behaviorally targeted online ads; and Feedback Research, a Web analytics unit.
Gator was launched in 1998 with the eWallet ad-supported software title.
Debated change for a year
Scott Eagle, Claria's chief marketing officer, said executives discussed the name change for nearly a year. "Claria is an umbrella name. It better signifies the company's breadth of offerings. It evokes clarity of insight, vision and positive imagery."
Mr. Eagle admitted the change incited "consternation" within the company. "There's no question, everyone has heard of Gator. It will be tougher [now], not easier," he said. "Gator is a huge door-opener, it created the dialogue. Everyone in the industry knows Gator."
The Gator name has plenty of negative baggage associated with it.
The company still faces lawsuits from seven plaintiffs alleging that its software, installed on more than 30 million consumers' computers, is illegally serving pop-up and pop-under ads over their Web sites. Claria said consumers choose to download its software, which serves contextually relevant ads that are clearly marked and separate from the Web sites surfers are visiting.
Consumers, Mr. Eagle said, only know Gator as the Gain software brand and were not the reason for the name change. "The model is what was challenged by our detractors. We are changing the name and not changing the model."
Claria will advertise its name change online in the trade marketing press starting Nov. 3. Media buying and creative are done in-house. Mr. Eagle declined to name the brand-marketing consultant who assisted on the name change.