Where Are The People Who Like Adware?

from the they-do-exist dept

It's likely to be surprising to most readers here, but there actually are some people who like some forms of adware. A few years ago, someone I know asked me for some help in fixing his computer. On it, I found Gator, the notorious spyware program, and said I'd remove it -- to which I was told not to, because this person said he actually liked it. Yes, my jaw hit the floor, but it appears that at least a few people do like what adware gives them, but the question can go much deeper: is there any kind of adware that would ever be worthwhile? It's quite likely that, for many, the answer is no -- but, again, it's important to separate out the surreptitious install issue from the adware itself. It's often the sneaky installs that are the real problem with adware. Of course, it seems quite likely that even if some people are willing to put adware on their computer, their numbers are quite small, and unlikely to be enough for anyone to create a real, sustainable business.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Phil, Oct 20th, 2005 @ 2:34am

    EVERYONE uses adware

    Mike on Thursday, October 20th, 2005 said: "Of course, it seems quite likely that even if some people are willing to put adware on their computer, their numbers are quite small, and unlikely to be enough for anyone to create a real, sustainable business."
    Well, yes, if you discount Google. Arguably the most influential player out there in the techsphere at the moment.
    I hate GATOR as much as the next person, but many adwares are useful. e.g. for some reason FileZilla was not happy on my machine, I needed an FTP client, I wasn't prepared to pay for one, when I could make one in a day. So I downloaded an openly adware tool. It was excellent. Yes the 5 second pause while it flashed its adverts was a little annoying, but well worth the money I didn't spend on buying it. The problem with adware is ALL down to the unscrupulous means by which some developers try to get their ads on your machine. And the lack of concern they have for users trying to remove their evil creations. It is certainly the majority how are honest, but we notice the bad guys more.

     

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  2.  
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    tom, Oct 20th, 2005 @ 3:08am

    adware

    opera browser was adware wasn't it?
    its great, used it for years and never got a virus from it.

     

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  3.  
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    alx, Oct 20th, 2005 @ 4:31am

    Xware

    The problem is not adware. As other people mentioned, we all tend to use and appreciate adware, such as the Opera browser, Google search engine or applications, etc... The actual problem is spyware, that is, software installing itself without the user's consent.

     

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  4.  
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    Dave, Oct 20th, 2005 @ 4:35am

    Re: adware

    No offense, but if you wish to comment on a tech related board, at least make sure your comment is somewhat on target. Opera, though I don't use it, is not adware or spyware ...in fact it is a very reputable browser. Reminds me of the time so many people were looking for the teddy bear icon in their system directories and deleting it because someone started the rumor that it was a virus, lol. Oh, by the way, adware and viruses are very seperate issues ...one doesn't give you the other, or at least not by design. Hmmm, there's an idea for all of those virus developers, get sponsored and package some adware in with your code. Doesn't the future look bright!

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 20th, 2005 @ 5:03am

    Re: adware

    No offense but you should check your facts. It is you who is not on target.

    Until recently, the free version of Opera was indeed adware. Not a virus, nor spyware mind you, but adware.

    In other words, it was sponsored by ADS, there was an ad window on the upper right that displayed ads retrieved by the Opera browser and that was a condition of your use of the free product. Purchasing a registration code eliminated the window. It is only recently that they removed it.

    Opera was a great product, still is, been using it since version 5, until I switched to Mozilla a few months ago. However, its still adware.

     

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  6.  
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    lisa, Oct 20th, 2005 @ 5:20am

    Opera is ad SUPPORTED software

    I'd call the Opera model ad supported software, not adware. (yes, I'm aware they changed it)
    To me, adware is something like those browser search bars that deliver search results from the bar's advertisers, or browser helpers that deliver pop-up ads that are vaguely related to the page you're on.
    (why is there an ad for a vacuum cleaner on my screen?) oh, tech DIRT)

     

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  7.  
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    murphsurf, Oct 20th, 2005 @ 5:31am

    Adware sucks

    My opinion is like most other IT professionals. Adware is a sneaky vermon. A computer with adware is easily compared to a bakery with mice. No one wants to see the pop ups. A good tool that i use is POW from analogx.com , I think thats what its called. Anyway it says on the download info that it closes the adds that sneak past i.e. via suspicious ACTIVEX. Its not a soloution but it gives you time to browse the internet in peace before you can run your ad ware removal program. Aslo Microsoft Anti spyware Beta is a great tool. Im not a big microsoft fan but for my windows boxes, I demand it.

    ~End

     

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  8.  
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    mattb, Oct 20th, 2005 @ 5:59am

    Re: EVERYONE uses adware

    Why download a free adware infested FTP client when you can use a free FTP client that has no adware? They are out there, I use one (I also use the free ftp available on my Windoze machine).

    I also don't know how you can lump Google into the adware field. Where is the ad bar that is a part of any of its offerings? Where is the popups that randomely come up because you have downloaded some of Google's programs? Google does have ads on "web" pages, but that is not the same, IMHO, as adware supported programs.

    In my definition above (and in reply to ther posts), that does include Opera's previous adware supported browser- it included the ad bar that through ads at you. That is why I would never have used Opera. Now I use Avant Browser (IE wrapper) where I can kill popups and prevent ads in webpages.

     

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  9.  
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    Mike S., Oct 20th, 2005 @ 6:22am

    Re: EVERYONE uses adware

    mattb wrote: "In my definition above (and in reply to ther posts), that does include Opera's previous adware supported browser- it included the ad bar that through ads at you. That is why I would never have used Opera."

    That seems to be a pretty idiotic assessment. Opera allows (and has done so for some time) the ability to block popups and uses targeted ads from google for the ad bar. The ad bar was small and unobtrusive. I have used Opera for years and haven't ever noticed the ads or had them get in my way. You may label Opera adware if you wish, but that doesn't make it bad. Opera is a feature rich, screaming fast browser. If you really 'would never have used' it simply because of a small ad bar then you have made bad decisions.

    Your decision to use (or not use) a product should be based on the functionality of that product, not some perceived notion that 'all adware is bad'.

    When most people think of adware, they think of intrusive advertising that prevents or delays your use of the application until you do something (that something may simply be looking at an ad). This type of adware is more annoying, but not inherently evil. If the app does what it says and nothing more (i.e. spyware) and you agree to it, what's wrong with it?

    -Mike

     

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  10.  
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    Jeff S., Oct 20th, 2005 @ 6:35am

    Re: Opera WAS ad supported software

    Adware or "Ad Supported Software" = Same thing

    According to Wikipedia the definition of adware is:
    Adware or advertising-supported software is any software package which automatically plays, displays, or downloads advertising material to a computer after the software is installed on it or while the application is being used.

    Opera was Adware, and those browser components you're referring to are also Adware. I don't have a huge problem with adware. (I don't use it, but with opera as the example, I don't have a huge problem with it.) It's spyware I have a problem with.

     

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  11.  
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    Jeff S., Oct 20th, 2005 @ 6:41am

    Re: EVERYONE uses adware

    Exactly..

    Look at AOL Instant Messenger... People use that all the time, and accept the ad's

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 20th, 2005 @ 7:28am

    No Subject Given

    " It's likely to be surprising to most readers here, but there actually are some people who like some forms of adware."
    - Actualy thats not surprising at all. My girlfriend use to love gator stuff. Tip: dont delete girlfriend spyware without asking.

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 20th, 2005 @ 7:30am

    Re: No Subject Given

    wups, froidiant slip.. lol.
    - Tip: dont delete "girlfriend's" spyware without asking.

     

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  14.  
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    googly eyes, Oct 20th, 2005 @ 7:31am

    the marketing and sales people like adware

    There are millions of people who like adware -
    the marketing and sales people who purchase the adware companies' services.

    If it didn't bring them income they wouldn't suport it.

    But is does, and they do.

    I mean come on folks, we aren't handing our money over to them fast enough
    and in large enough quantities to suit them, so that HAVE to do something!

    Remember, it's not our income, it's thiers, and we owe it to them.

    Now be a good little robot and install adware on your PC, and proceed to make them rich.
    It's your duty as a consumer, er I mean citizen.

     

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  15.  
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    fuz, Oct 20th, 2005 @ 7:59am

    Re: the marketing and sales people like adware

    Someone stated that the majority of adware creators are honest, but i don't see how they have come to this conclusion. I'd say 75% percent of the comercial software I've used tries to install some sort of spyware/adware. Just because you give us a checkbox, doesn't make for an honest effort. An honest effort would be a link to a seperate download package. The mass of internet surfers don't read the fine print. Those little "checkboxes" are exploits of your average minded consumer. Until adware creators take this into consideration, the methods used currently are evil, evil, EVIL!

     

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  16.  
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    Happy user, Oct 20th, 2005 @ 8:28am

    Re: the marketing and sales people like adware

    And then there are those softwares that install all sorts of "crap" to your drive, even when you asked them not too during the install proccess... RealPlayerAOL9

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 20th, 2005 @ 8:46am

    Never mind people who like adware

    I would like to see a public list of all people who follow links in spam emails AND buy the stuff they are selling. (And yes, I know such a list would probably violate privacy laws)

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    Happy user, Oct 20th, 2005 @ 12:14pm

    Can ADWARE can lead to SPAM by way of SPYWARE ??

    I would like to see a public list of all people who follow links in spam emails AND buy the stuff they are selling. (And yes, I know such a list would probably violate privacy laws)

    How would it violate privacy laws? Spam senders don't ask your permission to mail you stuff in the first place - they obviously received your address from "some sort" of "public record"... unless ofcorse *THEY* had acquired YOUR address by violating those privacy policies in the first place.

    Example, I have two email addresses in hotmail. one I use to purchase stuff online with. the other i use to communicate with my friends and family. which do you think gets more "unsolicited" spam? you are correct if you choose the first of the two -- and this is because at some point during me purchasing items with that email addy, the vendor shared his listings with other vendors -- not all websites [requiring a login] that share email addresses provide an option in their signup pages to deny/ask your permission to share your information.

    And then there is the discussion of "email sniffers" - is it too far off to believe that some adware clients actually grab you email addresses (or keylog) your actions and mail them around the world to other vendors -- "other", meaning vendors that you had not originally signed a "download" or "sign up" contract with.

    Happy user.

     

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  19.  
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    Mike (profile), Oct 20th, 2005 @ 2:03pm

    Re: Opera WAS ad supported software

    There's an obvious difference between adware and ad-supported software.

    Adware is *additional* software, whose only purpose is to throw up ads. It usually comes bundled.

    Ad-supported software is software that has advertising built into it, but is used for another purpose (IM, browser, etc.).

    Not that hard a line to draw, is it?

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    Steve Taylor, Oct 20th, 2005 @ 4:58pm

    Re: Opera WAS ad supported software

    > Ad-supported software is software that has advertising built into it, but is used for another purpose (IM, browser, etc.).

    > Not that hard a line to draw, is it?

    Not hard, but pretty arbitrary. I'd tend to say that adware is software which is supported by ads, and that in itself doesn't imply that it does anything sneaky. Thus, Opera is honest adware and Gator and the like are sneaky evil adware.

    Some days it seems like most disagreements on the net are about definitions, rather than the issues behind them.

     

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  21.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Oct 20th, 2005 @ 6:39pm

    Re: Opera WAS ad supported software

    Why is it arbitrary? Adware implies that the software's purpose is advertising. That's not the case with ad supported software.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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