Casualties: Zango's recent layoffs includes senior execs

From John Cook over at the Seattle PI:

Sources say that two executives have also departed, including Executive Vice President of Corporate Development York Baur and Chief Technology Officer Ken Smith. Smith, who co-founded the company in 1999, is the brother of Chief Executive Keith Smith. A Zango spokesman declined to comment on the departures.

Ken Smith also talks a bit about his departure here.

The stated reason for the layoffs is the company’s focus on its new Platrium product, a so-called casual gaming experience. One commenter isn’t that excited, referring to it as a “generic search bar with games thrown in.”

In fact, it looks awfully familiar to Zango, just without pop-up ads. Here’s what it says when it’s installing (EULA here):

Platrium is your access key to premium content. It is FREE, paid for by advertising. While online & using keywords sent to Platrium from your Internet browsing, Platrium software (with Weather forecast) will show targeted ads in a temporary Slider; relevant search suggestions in the Playbar; & comparison shopping offers in a Sidebar browser pane. The Playbar provides easy access to 1000s of emoticons, avatars, games & more, when online. Platrium runs continuously & updates automatically, ensuring access to the freshest content. Uninstallation is easy via Add/Remove Programs.

In other words, it has a search function which redirects searches to sponsored results on “Shopbrite”, it hijacks error pages and sends them to Shopbrite, it changes your home page to the Platrium home page, and your screen may end up by looking like the following:

Platrium234823488

You do get access to games, though (I don't know if they're good, mediocre or bad).