Avast shuts down marketing analytics arm after data scandal revealed

David Prior's picture

Cyber security group Avast has shut down its marketing analytics company Jumpshot with immediate effect.

The news comes only days after a joint investigation by Motherboard and PCMag revealed that Jumpshot had been selling browsing data collected by free antivirus software collected by Avast, which acquired Jumpshot in 2013 and held a 65% stake.

Jumpshot's clients included Google, Microsoft, Unilever and McKinsey. Some had paid millions for “All Clicks Feed” packages, which tracked browsing activity in minute detail including search engine queries, URLs and the exact time they were visited.

Many customers were unaware this was taking place.

Ondrej Vlcek, chief executive at Avast, said: “The company will be wound down. We are working through employment issues to shutter the business. The bottom line is that any practices that jeopardise user trust are unacceptable to Avast. We are vigilant about our users’ privacy.”

A visit to Jumpshot's website simply now says "Jumpshot has ceased operations. Thank you."

Headquartered in San Francisco, Jumpshot opened a London base in early 2019.

Avast, worth £4.2bn, said the cost for closing the business will be between $15m and $25m. It also said it would repay events business Ascential, who bought a 35% stake in Jumpshot for $61m last summer.