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ExpressVPN Acquired for Nearly $1 Billion

ExpressVPN KapeWho knew dime-a-dozen VPN companies were so valuable?  Not me.  But I guess they’re worth a pile of gold, considering that Kape Technologies is paying $936 million for ExpressVPN.  The service, founded in 2009, has over 3 million companies and 290 employees.  While ExpressVPN is spinning this as a way to “strengthen privacy,” others are more skeptical.

Kape was previously known as “Crossrider” and has a dodgy past, forcing ads into people’s browsers. More specifically, MalwareBytes labeled them as malware peddlers.

While they say they’ve reformed, I can’t imagine this fills ExpressVPN’s clientele with a lot of confidence.

Are you an ExpressVPN customer?  What do you think about this?

1 Comment

  1. Vo Nu:

    Great news: We don’t have to figure out whether to be concerned about the past actions of Kape Technologies. Their activities right now are concerning enough.

    The answer is clear to anyone who’s been paying attention: Don’t trust Kape, and if they buy up a service you’re using, stop paying bills and start packing bags.

    So far, Kape owns Private Internet Access, ExpressVPN, Cyberghost, and Zenmate. They also have a few antivirus-product holdings. They have also bought a company called Webselenese.

    Webselenese hires freelance writers to write reviews of VPN providers. The reviews are posted on wizcase.com and vpnmentor.com. Guess who owns those sites? I’ll give you a hint: It has two words and rhymes with “Ape Chronologies.”

    Of course, they claim that the reviews are unbiased, impartial, and so on. But I was accepted as one such writer and saw it for myself. They hire people who barely know what a VPN is and provide them with “intro to the general concept of a VPN” material to read so they can get caught up.

    Nothing really wrong with that. The whole idea is that a good content writer can conduct research and grasp a new concept quickly enough to relay useful information about it to a certain audience in a competent manner.

    What’s wrong is the part where the writers are fed information to include in the articles. The assignments aren’t just “Research these VPNs and provide a review focusing on these points.” It’s more like “Write this review (or extremely specific tutorial) about these VPNs, put this part in verbatim, write this part in your own words, and here are all the concrete details you’re going to include.”

    So anything they publish about speed or stability tests, having demoed the software, or really any claims of first-hand knowledge of a VPN service? It’s nothing but hearsay — supposedly the results of research conducted by a Webselenese team, but they present their writers as experts, not parrots.

    This conflict of interest alone is enough for me to go out of my way to avoid Kape holdings.

    The chocolate frosting on the doughnut hole is that Kape’s founder is known to have military career origins in Unit 8200, the SIGINT unit of the IDF’s Israeli Intelligence Corps. Alumni of this unit routinely go on to found information security companies that you’ve heard of if you’ve heard of anything in security. In my book, the involvement of a Unit 8200 alumnus places a company somewhere on a spectrum between “liable to prioritize Israeli interests over those of their customers” and “active front for Mossad intelligence operations.”

    So far, people are aware of two VPN review websites owned by Kape, but there could easily be others undisclosed. And Kape isn’t the only company doing this. They’re probably not even the most shady about it. At least they list their holdings on their website. There’s no mention of wizcase and vpnmentor, but I’m sure there’s a perfectly weaselly explanation of why it’s not technically dishonest to withhold that information.

    What other companies own distressing numbers of ostensibly independent VPN services?
    https://vpnpro.com/blog/hidden-vpn-owners-unveiled-97-vpns-23-companies/

    How can you tell when a VPN review might have been written by a Webselenese contractor?
    https://old.reddit.com/r/VPNTorrents/comments/r160ll/spotting_fake_reviews_from_kape_technologies/

    January 21, 2022 @ 9:20 pm | Reply

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