ParasiteWare is the term for any Adware that by default overwrites certain affiliate tracking links. These tracking links are used by webmasters to sell products and to help fund websites. Their behavior is viewed as parasitic because this type of software credits other site's with another site's commissions.
The controversy has been centered on companies like WhenU, eBates, and Top Moxie, a popular maker of Adware applications. These companies have released their software to assist users in getting credit for rebates, cash back shopping, or contributions to college funds. To the end user ParasiteWare represents little in the way of a security threat to the webmaster they represent a tangible threat to their revenue stream.