Smart Tabby Tags Toptext Hyperlinks

A tipster alerted El Gato to a controversy concerning a peer-to-peer application that appeared in the Aug. 13 "Litter box Lynx."

A tipster alerted El Gato to a controversy concerning a peer-to-peer application that appeared in the Aug. 13 "Litter box Lynx." It seems a lot of folks on the Web are accusing the new file sharing system Kazaa of depositing what they are calling a "hijacking tool" named TopText onto your Web browser. Operating within the browser, TopText highlights various words on each Web page you visit and turns these keywords into links to advertisers or other Web sites. "Mmm, werent the villagers waving torches and ready to march on Redmond for a similar little process called smart tags?" mused the Mouser as he decided to look further into the situation.

Although the file sharing app is free, Kazaa is subsidized by eZula, which runs the TopText linking system. Similar to the smart tag hoopla, this means a company like BMG—an eZula partner—could pay to have the word "music" always link to its site. According to an eZula spokesman, the user is fully informed about the TopText process during the initial download and can opt out and remove it from his or her browser at any time. "This advertising is unobtrusive yet still offers targeted, contextual links that are relevant to the users," the spokesman added.

This still leaves Webmasters worrying that visitors to their sites who are running TopText on their browsers may be whisked away from their sites or may follow a link to a competitors site after clicking on the yellow highlighted links that magically appear in their content. Webmasters concerned about having hyperlinks added to their Web content may want to contact [email protected] and ask if the company can block TopText from operating on their Web pages.

As if Computer Associates didnt have enough trouble with the Sam Wyly vs. Charles Wang battle for the companys 10-person board, a Tabby tattler claims CA had to fight even harder recently to keep a very large retail account out of the hands of IBM. But, according to the tattler, it may have been a win-the-battle-but-lose-the-war deal that CA struck. The tipster claims the company may have given the retailer a perpetual license for a laundry list of major CA software. Because CA makes a huge chunk of its money from software maintenance fees, if this rumor is true, then CA essentially just "ate the seed corn," waxed the friend of the Furball. "So whos the retailer?" inquired the Kitty. The tipster wouldnt tattle, but His Hirsuteness guessed "Wal-Mart" wouldnt be totally off "Target."

A Katt crony told the Kitty that Intel CEO Craig Barrett may be lured from the Intel Developer Forum in San Jose this week, choosing instead to be casting his luck at fly-fishing in the outer reaches of Mongolia. Apparently, the excitement of landing a 50-plus-pound fish called a taimen, which looks like a rainbow trout on steroids, is luring anglers to the ancient land between China and Russia. "Talk about a big fish in a small pond," laughed the Lynx as he noted that Mongolias annual GNP of about $860 million is a relative minnow compared with the $33.7 billion in sales Intel posted last year.

Lastly, El Gato has heard Lucent may consolidate three of its Massachusetts locations into one facility.

Spencer F. Katt

Spencer F. Katt

Spencer F. Katt, the Whiskered Wonder, has been the mascot and tipster extraordinaire for eWEEK and its predecessor print publication PC Week since 1984. The Gadabout Gatto makes the rounds of...