Why Does Adware Persist? Because There's A Market For It

from the getting-to-the-source dept

A new report lays some of the blame for the scourge of adware at the feet of the companies that buy ad space on adware-based networks. While obviously the financial benefit of selling ads drives the adware vendors, the non-shortage of people willing to advertise through spam makes it pretty clear that should the relatively well-known companies the report cites drop out, there are plenty of others that will step up. These companies continue to use these ads for a reason — they must work. So, like spam, if people really want to get rid of adware, quit clicking on it, right? But that lets these companies off the hook rather easily. They’d never think of advertising via spam, but exploiting adware apparently doesn’t carry the same concerns — particularly when the ads are bought through a complex network of aggregators and affiliates so they can claim ignorance at the end.

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Comments on “Why Does Adware Persist? Because There's A Market For It”

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icepick314 says:

Re: Adware is not all bad.

I don’t mind popups too much…

sometimes I see deals that come up that I actually click on and buy or go to another site for more info…

only thing I HATE is that some popups that I don’t want, I can’t find the close button anywhere or easily…they make it intentionally small where you HAVE to click on a dot or make it blend into the background so you can’t see it….

stephen pray (profile) says:

Re: Adware is not all bad.

so how is this bad?…how about this, i assume the president of chili’s restaurants would like to have my address because i can save him money on hamburger buns. so i go to his house and write my name on his front door in red spray paint. and every time he leaves his house i write my name and address on his car. i am helping him save money. so how can he get upset about it?

come to think of it, why dont we all go write our names on his restaurants so he will have them handy when he wants to order?

Sea Man says:

To be honest...

…a lot of it is ignorance.

An old business partner of mine was about to opt in to a spam blasting comapany to sell our product simply because he was convinced (without any proof) that our product would sell just be getting the name out. I had to retrain him to realize that he would just be throwing our advertising dollars out the window with zero return, and that the end result would just be propagation of spam and our money in the pockets of spammers. People can just be complete ignoramouses when it comes to technology.

Anonymous Coward says:

When I see a product being advertised through spamming or adware, I automatically boycott that company selling it. I am sure that many other people do the same thing. For some people, the company gains a stigma placed on it that it is not of good quality and has to resort to spamming. Personally, I reject any company that spams me.

Joe Philipson (user link) says:

Advertising Evil?

Advertising is not evil. However, invading other people’s personal property and installing malicious software to promote your product. Causing damage to the system, slowing it down, destroying networks, flooding routers. That my friend, is evil. There is a right way to advertise (ie Google) and a wrong way (ie Spam/Ad-aware/Spyware). There are only a few things I would describe with the strong word HATE. Spam, Sprint, Spyware, and those annoying forwards everyone thinks you need to read. Just like the previous poster. I boycott any product that is spammed to me. I hope anyone that installs software on my computer without my permission goes to jail and that their buildings are burned to the ground by mobs of angry people.

Pudgy-Faced Applejohn says:

Eventually, some day, people will be angry enough about malware/adware/viruses etc. that we will band together and force the government to treat these egregrious offenses as the crimes they are. They will carry the same penalty as breaking into my home, breaking into my car, or picking my pocket, and the criminals that abuse them will go to jail for it. I long for this day to come

Michael Ward (profile) says:

Unscrupulous agents of the unscrupulous

You know, when I studied business law there was a whole chapter on Agency, the way in which when you hire an Agent to assist you in your business you are responsible for many of the business-related actions of that Agent.

I do not understand how these companies can escape punishment for the actions of their Agents, who after all were hired to perform certain tasks and paid for doing so.

If the Agents are violating the contracts signed with the original providers of the ads, lets see some lawsuits against them for contract breach, and some turning of State’s Evidence against the rogue Agents.

The absence of such lawsuits and such testimony tells us what we already knew–that the Agents are doing exactly what they were hired to do.

They infest your computer because that is their job, and they do what their boss tells them.

drk (user link) says:


Advertising is not bad but adware installed without permission is malware.

When software hooks into your operating system without proper consent (a 200 page EULA doesn’t count when the clause that says adware will installed is page 150 or so) or even if you click the NO button – then this is intrusive malware and the people should be prosecuted for hacking in the same way the botnet hackers are being prosecuted.

They have just compromised your system.

If your advert appears on an illegal botnet operation you should be concerned – although ISPs might be covered by the “common carrier” law – adbots and adware suppliers are not common carriers.

If it was found that an advertiser was sponsoring an illegal botnet through payment – I do not believe the common carrier law is applicable.

The advertiser could well be in big trouble for funding cybercrime or even cyberterrorism if the botnet was large and devastating enough – especially if the same botnet was implicated in shakedown operations via DDoS or other cyber-intimidation tactics.

In short the criminals will continue to use these tactics – but legitimate companies will shy away because of the large amount of corporate risk.

Botnets, adware and spyware are here to stay – its how we deal with the culprits that is the problem.

Most worringly – the DMCA protects the “bad guys” – reverse engineering adbot technology is illegal under the DMCA – if the DMCA makes it illegal for us to be protected from malware – who is going to protect us?

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