Zango, formerly ePIPO, 180solutions and Hotbar, was a software company that provided users access to its partners' videos, games, tools and utilities in exchange for viewing targeted advertising placed on their computers. Zango software is listed as adware by Symantec, and is also labeled as a potentially unwanted program by McAfee. Zango was co-founded by two brothers: Keith Smith, who served as the CEO; and Ken Smith, who served as the CTO.
In April 2009 Zango ceased trading after its banks foreclosed. However, As of April 2010[update], Hotbar, Seekmo, and ZangoCash, formerly owned by Zango, continue to operate as part of Pinball Corporation.
Zango's consumer website asserted that the company was "committed to creating a content economy built on a foundation of safe and ethical practices by protecting consumer privacy while offering a fulfilling and high-value content experience." It provided targeted advertising in return for partner companies' content such as sports, comedy, dance, erotic videos, online games, and screensavers. Warner Bros. and others had provided content, but WB terminated its business relationship with Zango after concerns were raised that children viewing Warner Bros. content could be exposed to advertisements for pornography.
StopBadware.org lists a number of undesirable behaviors associated with Zango Easy Messenger, including "behaves as spyware", "automatically runs on startup", "displays pop-up advertisements", "installs adware", and "bundled software cannot be closed". The same site states, "We find that Zango Easy Messenger is not badware, although it does engage in behaviors that users should be aware of."
Websense has a Zango-related security advisory dated November 2006, stating that "Websense Security Labs has discovered a number of user pages on the MySpace domain which have videos that look like they are from YouTube. The videos have an installer embedded within them for the Zango Cash Toolbar. When users click on the video, they are directed to a copy of the video, which is hosted on a site called 'Yootube.info.' ... the video downloads and attempts to install setup.exe from Zango Cash."
A more detailed analysis of this attack, according to one website, is that "Zango continues numerous practices likely to confuse, deceive, or otherwise harm typical users as well as practices specifically contrary to Zango's obligations under its November 2006 settlement with the FTC." These include failure to include on-screen disclosure of material terms, widespread in-toolbar ads without labeling and hyperlinks, ads for "bogus sites that attempt to defraud users", and third party installations without disclosure.
Zango software is listed as adware by Symantec. Computer security company McAfee said in 2005 "this program may have legitimate uses", but described it as a "potentially unwanted program" and an "adware downloader." Automated analysis by McAfee SiteAdvisor in May 2008 reports "629 red downloads" and that during testing, McAfee "found downloads on this site that some people consider adware, spyware or other potentially unwanted programs."