In an effort to improve its corporate reputation, adware company Gator has launched a legal offensive to divorce its name from the hated term “spyware”–and so far its strategy is paying off.
In response to a libel lawsuit, an antispyware company has settled with Gator and pulled Web pages critical of the company, its practices and its software. And other spyware foes are getting the message.
“If we find anyone publicly calling us spyware, we correct it and take action if necessary,” said Scott Eagle, Gator’s senior vice president of marketing.
I’ll continue to use Spybot S&D to remove spyware, adware and “piece of shitware.” Of course, my PC’s don’t have none of this stuff.
It actually isn’t spyware, it does not report back and keep track of what you visit, it just looks up the url in a list and pumps out an ad if it is on the list. Call it scumware, annoyware, but it isn’t really spyware, people just lump it in because it is easier that way.
I do hope their lawyer stood up and said - I DEMAND YOU CALL US SCUMWARE.
They are idiots, just trying to scare people away from saying anything bad about them. I can’t think of one person I have met who really wants extra popup ads just because they are targeted.
Man, you wouldn’t believe how messed up some of PCs that I fix are. Chock full of Gator, Bonzi Buddy, Xupiter, Weatherbug, Comet Cursor and more. The alltime record was 482 different items found by Spybot. It’s a wonder it booted at all.
The time I ran spybot on a friend’s Mom’s system, I had 857 hits. EIGHT HUNDRED AND FIFTY SEVEN.
About 200 of those were porno dialers. It appears my friend’s stepdad has a penchant for porno. Viewing the history before I deleted it, he has a thing for rather twisted porno.
And this is coming from someone who’s VERY sexually…erm…kinked. It was that far beyond the pale.
Chet, isn’t there some evidence to point to the fact that the software does in fact keep track of websurfing habits and report back? I recall reading at several unrelated sights that it was the case. If it does indeed do this on the sly, then it certainly can be classed as spyware instead of just adware.
Oh, I got paid. Charged her 25 bucks an hour. Hardly a king’s ransom, but I normally charge $40/hr when I do in-home shit, plus a $25 trip fee. But, she was laid off at the time, and I felt bad taking any money at all.
It’s a real problem, and I suspect this is the reason why many average users find computers such a pain to deal with. Most people don’t even know what the problem is–they just think that their computer sucks. Windows really needs some sort of integrated system for rooting this crap out. The users should have more control over what processes they allow to run on their system.
I cannot count how many people who told me how slow their computers were, then told me how fast they were after I walked them through Spyware removal or did it myself. It’s a serious resource hog. My Grandpa’s Pentium III 500 system, with a moderate 384 megs of RAM, runs Windows XP flawlessly, because I’ve tweaked the shit out of it, and have taught him how to avoid spyware and how to remove it when he suspects he has it.
The OS integration is a good idea. In fact, the guy who makes Spybot should seriously consider courting Microsoft.
“Hey, put me on the payroll, and I’ll work with your team to integrate Spybot into the OS.”
I mean, Windows update would only need minor tweaking to update your malware antivenoms while it checks for critical updates. It’d be a hugely nice feature too.
Of course, then you’d have anti-trust lawsuits from Lavasoft and all the other spyware makers, but it’s not like Microsoft hasn’t survived that in the past… ;)
That won’t ever happen though. Next pipe dream: A marraige of Spybot and Anti-Vir. mmmmmmm…tasty.
It’s a real problem, and I suspect this is the reason why many average users find computers such a pain to deal with. Most people don’t even know what the problem is–they just think that their computer sucks. Windows really needs some sort of integrated system for rooting this crap out. The users should have more control over what processes they allow to run on their system.[/quote]
In a lot of cases the users agree to have this stuff installed. Not much Windows can do about that.
You would think there would be something that could be done.
I’m not sure that the answer is available in any of the models that work like anti virus programs. Like Mark says, the user agreed to put the spyware on their system. If you’ve got an anti-spyware program that works by targeting software companies who produce spyware, it seems like you’re just asking for a lawsuit.
Heh. I should relate my story from the Wild Tangent booth at E3 in 2002. After we finished asking them if their new “games” still came bundled with the same Spy and Adware we’d come to know and love, they asked us if we were “real journalists.” This was after they finished trying to sell us on a story idea - comparing THEIR Men-in-Black webgame with the MIB title for the consoles, and seeing which one was better!
Fucking desperate for ink. At least they had good Vodka and free massages, though.
As an outspoken opponent of this crap, and previously having a script on a high profile site which notified the users they were infected and what to do, I actually had a thug from one of these companies come visit me at my house. (they have since settled down and are a very minor player in this).
These companies are hard lobbying that drive-by installs, or activations without registrations should be allowed. Because after all, they are “empowering” the end user by making sure their pc is nothing but a shopping machine.
For the little sites I run like edailydeal, there is so much crap trying to steal sales it is insane, supposed charitable orginizations have been caught jumping in and stealing comissions with their BHO (browser helper object).
Eventually people are going to wise up or microsoft is going to understand that before hardening the OS, they might want to take a shot at their browser.
I’ve seen Bill Gate’s take on Spam, and it wouldn’t suprise me if he took a similar hardline with Spyware. I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if he jumped on the idea, but I bet with all the things he has to think about daily, the idea of anti-malware functions in Windows hasn’t even crossed his mind.
All he needs is an enthusiastic underling to suggest the idea, and I bet he’d have an entire team working on it for Longhorn.
If by “agree” you mean “miss the part in line 487 of the License Agreement where it states ‘Oh, by the way, by installing this program you are also giving us permission to install a bunch of other programs that will hide themselves so well that you’ll need to buy third party software to uninstall them, even if you nuke the original program,’” then yeah. People agree. But mostly I think they just don’t know, and I can’t really blame them. I don’t read through those agreements, either.
What we need is an end to secret installs. Windows needs to better notify users about exactly what is going onto their systems.
Integrate it into windows? Isn’t IE already like 99% of the problem? My computer maintainance duties for the PC my younger sisters use got a hell of a lot easier once I put XP on their systems and denied them administrative rights. Now I occasionally have to modify the rights of a directory for a game which isn’t hip to multiple user accounts, but I don’t have to regularly re-remove all the stealth installed BS.