When you open the homepage of the advertising company Superfish right now you see a simple statement on it instead of information about the company or its products.
It reads: "Superfish is currently transitioning our focus - but we are still offering our patented visual search technology to our partners. If interested in working with us contact firstname.lastname@example.org".
Superfish is best know for the role that it played in the Lenovo incident. Lenovo made a deal with Superfish to include the company's technology on some company laptops. Deals like these are typical as most laptops nowadays ship with trial software and other added software (often called junkware).
The problem with this particular deal however was that Superfish added a root certificate in a way that made these computers vulnerable to serious attacks. Attackers could exploit the vulnerability to record and steal sensitive information from unsuspecting Lenovo customers.
But the company is known for more than just that. A Google study in 2014 for instance found it to be one of the two leading ad-sourcing companies for ad-injections in websites.
So called ad-injections add or replace ads on websites.The main issue here is that this hurts the site ads are added or replaced on and the advertising network used by that site as revenue made from those ads flows into the pockets of companies that have no relationship with that site in question.
It paints a bad light on sites as well, especially if lots of ads are displayed on it and may harm that sites revenue in the future as users may decide to install ad blockers because of this.
Superfish's visual search technology is still up and running, and the official website does not reveal if this is going to change in the near future.
The change may have something to do with Google's announcement that it will do more against ad-injectors. The removal of browser extensions in the Chrome Store, policy updates for Adware businesses and general safe-guards in the Chrome browser may have had something to do with the company's decision.
Superfish has 80 employees and a revenue of about $40 million according to Wikipedia. (via Caschy)Advertisement
Advertising revenue is falling fast across the Internet, and independently-run sites like Ghacks are hit hardest by it. The advertising model in its current form is coming to an end, and we have to find other ways to continue operating this site.
We are committed to keeping our content free and independent, which means no paywalls, no sponsored posts, no annoying ad formats or subscription fees.
If you like our content, and would like to help, please consider making a contribution:
Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.