Yahoo's Spyware Problem Not Going Away

from the funding-the-bad-guys dept

Yahoo’s relationship with companies involved in spyware and adware are well documented. The company has been dogged by criticism, as evidence has mounted that it recycles its advertising through partners whose tactics are seen as unseemly. It doesn’t look like this problem is going away. BusinessWeek has obtained documents detailing the relationship between Yahoo and one company, which is alleged to be involved in spyware and click fraud. What’s telling is that Yahoo definitely knew the company, Oemji, was engaged in bad business practices; when Oemji wanted to advertise on Yahoo’s site, they were denied due to their spyware-related activity. Of course, this problem isn’t unique to Yahoo, as there are certainly Google ads to be found at the darker corners of the web. Yahoo now says that it’s reviewing the partnership, but with the online ad marketplace slowing, the company may feel it’s a bad time to aggressively purge itself of dirty money. In the long term, however, it’s better business to keep legitimate advertisers and publishers happy than to make some extra cash dealing with shady partners.

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Comments on “Yahoo's Spyware Problem Not Going Away”

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Enrico Suarve says:

Re: The Corporate Mantra

Aye cos that makes all the difference – The devil may be a gentleman but he’s still the devil and its still gonna hurt

My personal rule is to boycott any sites with agressive pop-ups they just aren’t worth the hassle because of the spyware risk, and if Yahoo has decided to crawl in bed with them well thats just another reason to stick to Google

Makes you wonder what the others are up to though – I mean is this a real case of Yahoo are the bad guys or are they just not as good at hiding?

Anonymous Coward says:

Perhaps Yahoo! is just hanging out with its peer g

Has anyone other than me actually taken a packet sniffer and checked out what the Yahoo! Toolbar, Messenger, and other Yahoo! software actually sends when it phones home?

Do so and you will be appalled. If you ask me, Yahoo! has one of the biggest installed user bases of spyware/adware in existence today. Plus a means of executing arbitrary code on millions of PCs.

Nice, huh?

Steve E (user link) says:

There are a number of companies out there with less than reputable backgrounds buying up distressed stock advertising and running it through toolbars and pop-unders etc.

I haven’t had any contact with them myself but am always being told that they are a great way to drive traffic to your site. My question would be ‘what quality of traffic’? I’d rather have a nice happy visitor who’s come to the site under their own steam than someone who finds your site full screen in their face when they weren’t expecting it.

I expect these campaigns to damage reputations in the future, remains to be seen whether it would damage someone the size of Yahoo…

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Adobe

Not me!

I just stopped using adobe. That includes flash, its actually quite nice to be rid of flash… not good for anything since its used 99% of the time for pagespam, not content. The rare exception is the new-fandangled video portals. Damn them in trying to use flash…

It’s not like adobe has a monopoly on the pdf market, and besides photoshop, they arent the “best” in anything else. And I don’t use photoshop.

|333173|3|_||3 says:

Re: Re: Re: Adobe Monopoly

Only those who use Adobe genrated PDFs will be able to DRM them, and since most PDFs are generated for publication, i.e. they want people to read them, they will have not want to use Adobe DRM. All those people who think you can stiop someone editing a PDF just by putting all that crap into the file is stupid, all you do is open it in something which didn’t include all the code for them, or you use a PDF printer and laugh in thier face.

Tin Ear says:

Not on MY machine!!

Personally, I don’t have Yahoo or AOL on any of my machines. I took one look at the Yahoo toolbar early in my computing experience, and didn’t like the way it weaseled it’s way into other applications that I was using. That was back in the day of Win98 (pre SE), I may add. I have refused any toolbar install offer since then. I also check the optional feature install boxes on other software (i.e. Adobe) to refuse any other ‘services’.

Many people would just click ‘OK’ and take it, then wonder where all the spam and spyware came from…

The only toolbar I have at the moment is the StubleUpon bar for my Firefox browser, that comes with the Google search space on the top.

Stu says:

I'd rather have a nice happy visitor

In a previous online business I had the same opinion as you; but my peers made much more money because they used popups extensively.
It’s a numbers game. Get many more visitors, you’ll sell more – not as a percentage of visitors – but as total dollars. Percentages don’t spend – dollars do. The cost is the same.
Alas, everyone isn’t just like us. :))

Dan says:

Yahoo associated with slime?

No really? Ever try sitting in a yahoo chatroom and watching up to 50 porn bots exchange messages? Report the bot accounts to Yahoo and what happens to them? Nothing. Building up their “user” numbers? That’s been my guess – why else would they support well over a million bot accounts (possibly 2-3 million by now) subjecting all chat users (even those in Rec->Pets->Cats) to some of the most vile language imaginable?

Ever read craigslist? Check out the endless spams in the “Casual Encounters” section. See all those URLs with site names that end in ‘photos’ or ‘pics’? Do a whois on them. More than 98% of them hosted on Yahoo domains, fake domain contact information with a Yahoo e-mail address. Send a complaint to Yahoo domains and you know what happens? They allow him to create 10 more the next day. All of the scam sites point back to one domain as well… does Yahoo send a ‘cease and desist’ to them? Nope, they count the pennies they get from the clicks and laugh their way to the bank. Sleaze pays.

Nearly every domain in the whois registry that has blatantly falsified contact information in it – has a Yahoo e-mail address. Not gmail, not hotmail, not excite… Yahoo.

Have a look at your collection of old 419 scam spams. How many of them use a Yahoo e-mail address both as the sending account as as the reply-to account? Surprise. Survey of my current collection of 419 scams sits at around around 99% Yahoo e-mail addresses. Not gmail, not hotmail, not msn, not excite, Yahoo.

I can only think of a few reasons for that. Maybe Yahoo doesn’t care that it’s associated with spam and scam. Maybe they like all the porn scammers inflating their user numbers. Maybe they’re technically incapable of preventing the spams the way hotmail et al. do. Who knows what the real answer is, but the fact that porn + scam + spam + scumware == Yahoo shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone except those who really haven’t been paying attention over the last six or seven years. Yahoo just continues to sink lower and lower.

Blitze says:


Care about ignorant masses? As long as they are not harming any one that isn’t ignorant i say let them… screw themselves over. It just lets me get more money off of them when their computers crash right? A little reading… maybe 45 mins would save most ppl 100$ repairs but they are lazy.

Next SBC is my dsl connection sadly because it’s the only DSL out here and there no cable so unless i’m dialing up to aol or some other company it’s this. However i never install anything but the drivers for it. In my opinion stick to things like firefox, google, and linux free and they do it because they want to. Not because they want to sell u things (as in programs or other company’s products.)

Steve E (user link) says:

I'd rather have a nice happy visitor

Your right Stu. They do drive sales, just not in the way I ethically agree to. I would imagine I may cut a deal to use them on my employers site some time in the future but only after all good practice has been exhausted 😉

To be honest I don’t object to pop-ups that much as long as they can be closed easily, it’s the profiling by toolbars and the like that I find a little OTT (and that’s what is giving some ad networks a bad name).

dotlizard (user link) says:

nothing new for Yahoo

years ago (4 or so?) i recall Yahoo updated / upgraded everyone’s profiles — and as the default set every single one of them to opt-in to receive spam, no matter what the existing preferences were. It was up to the user to log in and go through the confusing process of opting out, which would tell you it ‘may take weeks’ to take effect — and by then it didn’t matter, since the lists were out there, and spreading as lists of emails tend to do, among those who could care less that you opted out from the list source. it destroyed my yahoo email addy, made it unusable. luckily i didn’t care, just left it there choked with spam.

Yahoo has been violating privacy, by default, for years. This is no surprise.

u no says:

Yahoo loses

I use the google toolbar with my IE for the pop up blocker. With Firefox I use nothing. I quit using yahoo mail a while back in favor of gmail due to the massive amounts of spam that was always filling up my yahoo mail box. I admit that I was never big on the whole chat room thing so I really can not comment on those. Yahoo has already lost me, and I have not plans of returning.

help_needed says:

Yahoo Messenger problem

I had once a client who is already added on my list but just a few days ago, problems started.

Everytime I log-in on my YM, it keeps on asking me if I want him added to my list and its really annoying. And today, its worst. I tried the “Accept”, “Deny” and “Ignore” but its not working. I even deleted on my Profile page the profile name that he was trying to add but still, that message box of “Add a Contact” pops out. I can’t use my YM now because whatever choice I select it re-starts my YM.

Its not a settings on my computer because I also tried on 2 different machines and connections and its not also working.

Can anyone help me solve the problem?


ip says:

porn bots in chat rooms

I can guarantee, that if yahoo allows the bots to continue, the chat room will be deserted before the years end. i went to my fav room it was full but only had 23 chatters 27 bots were taking up the rest of the room and flooding the screen with vulgar text, its a darn shame when yahoo has to allow porn bots to be run in their chat rooms, yahoo chat should rethink this before they loose a lot of traffic to other chat clients. sad, what used to be fun is now miserable.

Frustrated user (user link) says:

admarketplace spyware hell

I’m trying to figure out where one of my friends got the “admarketplace” spyware from, which is impossible to remove (Windows has to be re-installed).

It’s starting to look like Yahoo! toolbar may have brought it in to her system because the infection was present immediately after my friend installed the Yahoo! toolbar.

Seeing this article has left me wondering if Yahoo! is in fact distributing it. If I find out that it is, then I’m going to have no choice but to block all of Yahoo’s domains for all my clients in the same fashion that SpyBot does.

Now that Jerry Ng is no longer at Yahoo! it looks like they’re probably going to go teats-up anyway, so it won’t matter. Everyone is switching to Google’s GMail anyway, so YahooMail and HotMail are going to be dead soon anyway.

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