Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick




Gator Threatening Those Who Call Their Application Spyware

from the interesting-PR-strategy dept

Many people have pretty strong negative opinions about Gator's adware application (it watches what you surf and pops up its own ads). Gator, like most companies that have strong critics, has decided that they need something of a PR campaign to improve their image - specifically trying to overcome the impression that they're placing spyware on people's computers. So, what do they do? They decide to sue anyone who calls their application spyware. It seems like a debate on semantics, but Gator insists their product is not spyware at all. They claim that spyware is installed surreptiously, whereas their software requires someone to agree to install it. Others disagree with that definition, saying spyware includes any software that is constantly "phoning home" with your information, or which does things (such as pop up ads) without the user understanding why - in which case, Gator would qualify as spyware. However, so far, Gator's "PR" campaign has been winning, and sites are changing how they refer to Gator. This is, most likely, a short term strategy - because of articles like the one linked here, that make Gator look even worse by using threatening lawsuits to quiet anyone critical of their software. Instead of pulling out the big legal stick, wouldn't it have made more sense to make the program less problematic?

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