Gator is one of the most widespread and obnoxious of the adware programs out there – sneaky programs that might be installed on your system even though you don’t quite know how they got there.
Gator’s job on your computer is to deliver popup ads, lots and lots of popup ads. And the ads are targeted – if you go visit Expedia’s travel site, Gator will display a popup ad for Travelocity or Orbitz. The ads might not appear for minutes or hours after you visit a site, making it harder to tell that Gator is responsible. I’m deliberately not providing a link to Gator’s web site, so you’re not accidentally inflicted with it. Of course, Gator has all kinds of stories about what a wonderful service it provides to consumers and advertisers, but remember, the Unabomber thought he was doing a favor for society, too.
Here’s an article summarizing the findings by a Harvard University researcher who dissected Gator to find out how it works and who its clients are. It’s interesting reading. It’s also a good reminder to run a program like AdAware every few months to see if you’ve accumulated any junk programs like Gator.