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Letter to the Editor: IAC

26 Oct 2012 By Guest author

To the Editor,

I am writing to correct a number of mischaracterizations in Robert Cyran’s “Internet parasitism powers Barry Diller’s returns” (October 19).

  • We target adults – not children. Over 95 percent of our users are over 18, and we strictly prohibit advertising on sites which target users 13 and under.
  • Our product line is overwhelmingly focused on information, reference, and entertainment. Emoticons and virtual pets comprise less than one percent of our application installs, and are not representative of our assortment.
  • People choose to download our products and understand that they’re installing toolbars. An “unwitting” download of our software is virtually impossible. Before a user completes a download, they are prompted with multiple, conspicuous disclosures requiring approval to proceed, including a screen with a very clear description of the product, complete with a picture of the exact toolbar they are downloading.
  • A user can uninstall our products in just a few clicks, without difficulty, and every toolbar contains easily accessible uninstall instructions.
  • We take privacy very seriously – we simply do not collect personal information whatsoever from our users.
  • At Ask.com, we invest heavily in our own search technology and content. We don’t just serve Google answers, but instead crawl, create, and license millions of unique pieces of content and services in order to deliver great answers to our users.
  • The overwhelming majority of the millions upon millions of consumers who use our products appreciate the fact that they can access our products free of charge, and are very happy with their performance. While our products may not appeal to Mr. Cyran personally, they do appeal to our customers.

With all due respect to Mr. Cyran’s opinion, the article misrepresents our company, our values, our customers, and our employees. We would have encouraged Mr. Cyran to try our products before making assumptions about our users and our practices.

Joey Levin, CEO of IAC Search & Applications


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