Abraxas' Lance Cottrell: Fierce Competition in Web-Privacy Sector

Lance Cottrell, Abraxas

New companies aiming to help individuals and businesses protect their identities and web behavior from marketers are facing tough challenges in the marketplace.

It’s not just competition from privacy freeware providers and users’ reluctance to give personal information to smaller start-up companies – many are simply unaware about how visible their online behavior is.

Setting up offshore email accounts, tweaking privacy settings and downloading privacy software might be a good idea, but for many people it is simply inconvenient, Carsten Casper, an analyst at research firm Gartner, told The Wall Street Journal.

“People call for privacy, but they don’t act accordingly,” he said.

Lance Cottrell, chief scientist at Anonymizer Inc., which is owned by Abraxas Corp., told WSJ there are many new privacy-minded start-ups in recent months.

“You’ll probably see a little bit of a boom and bust,” he said.

Anonymizer, founded in 1995, is a veteran of the web-privacy market.

Cottrell said Anonymizer‘s profits are growing, but it constantly must adapt its software to stay competitive. The company’s software allows individuals to mask their IP addresses while browsing for $79.99 a year, while businesses can benefit from customized software from $500 annually.

“It’s a constant arms race,” he said.

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