FYI adware companies turn cannibal

Discussion in 'Computer Support' started by anthonyberet, Dec 11, 2004.

  1. anthonyberet

    anthonyberet Guest

    http://news.com.com/Adware+cannibals+feast+on+each+other/2100-1024_3-5482276.html

    I thought this might amuse the regulars of 24HSHD
    Full text below:

    Companies that use free software downloads to target Web surfers with
    annoying ads are turning on each other to keep customers--and the cash they
    generate--for themselves.

    The tactic is in the spotlight in a little-noticed legal dispute unfolding
    in Seattle. Caribbean-based ad company Avenue Media last month accused New
    York-based DirectRevenue of using competing software to detect and delete
    Avenue Media's Internet Optimizer program from its customers' computers.

    According to the Nov. 24 complaint, DirectResponse's software detects
    Internet Optimizer and then sends a command to "kill" the program, a process
    that deletes its files from the PC registry and from the computer
    altogether. Avenue Media said DirectRevenue's tactics have caused it to lose
    about 1 million customers--about half its installed base--and as much as
    $10,000 a day in revenue.

    "DirectRevenue, knowingly and with intent to defraud, exceeded its
    authorized access to users' computers...by automatically uninstalling Avenue
    Media's Internet Optimizer upon installation or update of DirectRevenue's
    competing browser," according to the complaint, which was filed in a
    district court in Seattle.

    Avenue Media's lawsuit offers the latest twist in the tangled and sometimes
    seedy tale of programs--known as adware, malware or spyware--designed to
    deliver advertisements from an all-seeing and sometimes inextricable place
    on the PC. Though there are many useful applications for the desktop and the
    Web, the industry associated with it is much like the Wild West, with no
    real rules or self-regulation, and can taint even responsible companies.

    Legal experts said Avenue Media's lawsuit is important because, if the
    charges hold up, it may shed light on the rights of software makers when it
    comes to changing users' personal PC settings. The suit also could turn up
    the volume on the outcry from consumers and privacy watchdogs over the
    plague of spyware and malware applications online.

    "Once the computer is infected with 10 different unwanted programs, the
    person is likely to take some action to address the situation," said Ben
    Edelman, a researcher at Harvard University.

    Edelman says he has recorded instances of DirectRevenue's software
    uninstalling Avenue Media's program. "Assuming you could get away with this,
    it could be highly lucrative."

    Founded in 2002, DirectRevenue makes software to monitor Web surfing
    behavior and send targeted ads while people are at a particular Web site.
    For example, it might deliver a Hertz ad while a visitor is at the Web site
    of Dollar.

    DirectRevenue acknowledges that it may uninstall competing applications in
    its user license agreement: "You further understand and agree, by installing
    the software, that the software may, without any further prior notice to
    you, remove, disable or render inoperative other adware programs resident on
    your computer."

    It also makes Web game applications or other such software, including a
    plug-in to keep track of U.S government atomic time, so that people are
    enticed to download a bundle of applications that includes its adware. The
    company's software is identified by several different names including A
    Better Internet, BI, Twaintek and Thinstall, according to the complaint.

    DirectRevenue has raised as much as $26 million from investors Technology
    Investment Capital and Insight Venture Partners.

    Industry experts said the charges reflect a wider trend, as makers of
    stealthy software downloads increasingly target and uninstall rival
    applications once their own programs are downloaded on a user's PC.

    Because many such programs are designed to track consumer behavior online to
    deliver targeted ads, ridding a user's PC of rival applications could mean
    more revenue or prove helpful in avoiding detection down the road.

    DirectRevenue did not immediately return calls for comment. In a posting on
    DirectRevenue's Web site, the company said its software is not spyware, or
    software that collects personally identifiable information for nefarious
    purposes.

    Avenue Media, based on the island of Curacao, did not respond to an e-mail
    request for comment.
     
    anthonyberet, Dec 11, 2004
    #1
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  2. anthonyberet

    trout Guest

    [snip]

    Hee hee. Nice one. Hey, if it's in the EULA, it's a legal, informed
    choice by the user.
     
    trout, Dec 11, 2004
    #2
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  3. anthonyberet

    gibberish Guest

    Now the Spyware decters are also in this game. Sypbot always catches my
    Spyware Blaster and deletes it.
     
    gibberish, Dec 12, 2004
    #3
  4. anthonyberet

    anthonyberet Guest

    Without googling, I presume you mean Spybot.
    Are you sure you have the correct Spybot Search & Destroy?
    There are lots of malwares out there which have ripped-off the Spybot name -
    I think it more likely one of these would behave as you say.
    Or perhaps Spyware Blaster is malware? - I don't know, never researched it
    or tried it.
     
    anthonyberet, Dec 12, 2004
    #4
  5. anthonyberet

    trout Guest

    No, no. In fact, if you go to the "Immunize" page of Spybot S&D, it
    does *detect* an installation of SpywareBlaster. It then says that it
    (SB) is *better* at more-complete immunization, and asks if you want to
    'run it now'.
     
    trout, Dec 12, 2004
    #5
  6. Hello Anthony,

    Just to be clear, the news.com story got it wrong about a minor detail.
    Thinstall is the name used by my company (http://thinstall.com). We
    have nothing to do with Spyware. I have followed up with the CEO of
    ABetterInternet to find out why News.com would report this -
    apparently, one version of their software had portions which they
    labeled "Thin Instaler" and then shortened to "Thinstall". We (the
    real Thinstall) do not make any software that is installed by end-users
    and have never had any connections with spyware. I'm writing this
    followup to make sure people don't confuse our names.

    Jonathan Clark
    President / Jitit (makers of Thinstall
     
    Jonathan Clark, Dec 13, 2004
    #6
  7. anthonyberet

    Toolman Tim Guest

    Excellent web site, Jonathon. Well laid out, clean, easy to navigate. While
    I gave up programming and such years ago, I like the looks of your product.
    It's too bad your company got blasted like that - are they going to print a
    retraction?

    | Hello Anthony,
    |
    | Just to be clear, the news.com story got it wrong about a minor detail.
    | Thinstall is the name used by my company (http://thinstall.com). We
    | have nothing to do with Spyware. I have followed up with the CEO of
    | ABetterInternet to find out why News.com would report this -
    | apparently, one version of their software had portions which they
    | labeled "Thin Instaler" and then shortened to "Thinstall". We (the
    | real Thinstall) do not make any software that is installed by end-users
    | and have never had any connections with spyware. I'm writing this
    | followup to make sure people don't confuse our names.
    |
    | Jonathan Clark
    | President / Jitit (makers of Thinstall
    |
    | anthonyberet wrote:
    | >
    |
    http://news.com.com/Adware+cannibals+feast+on+each+other/2100-1024_3-5482276.html
    | >
    | > I thought this might amuse the regulars of 24HSHD
    | > Full text below:
    |
     
    Toolman Tim, Dec 13, 2004
    #7
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