Cupertino, CA - Symantec, the leading manufacturer of anti-virus
software, announced that it would begin offering virus names for
Dennis Gramlich, Vice-president of Marketing at Symantec, explained
the program, "A sponsor will get millions of ad impressions
just from being listed on our 'Latest Virus Threat' alert on our
website as well as through our security advisories. That's not even
counting the media coverage that many viruses receive. What if, for
example, that instead of Code Red it was
'W32.Pfizer' or 'W32/Klez.e@MM brought to you by Microsoft.' Companies
are attracted to that kind of exposure, and are willing to pay for
"Right now the number of sponsors we have lined up is actually
outpacing the number of viruses in the wild," continued Gramlich, "so
we're having to create some viruses of our own."
Symantec is not the only company offering viruses for sponsorship.
McAfee recently announced a deal with New Line Cinema to deliver
the W32/Return.of.the.King mass mailing worm to hit desktops in early
December. The worm comes with subject lines like 'Message: Go See
Return of the King December 17th' or 'Your Files:Return of the King.zip'
and has promotional information in the message body.
"If it's not clogging up networks it won't get the press, so
we made it especially virulent. Nothing will be able to stop the
spread of this one, especially McAfee," boasted McAfee marketing
chief, Thomas Winzler.
Advertising analysts agree that it's a good approach. "It's
the kind of viral marketing that companies are looking for today," said
Vern Junxor at Ad Age.
Many companies initially shied away from being associated with something
with such a negative image, but then realized they already advertised
on Fox News.
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