Deconstructing The Gator EULA

from the what-have-you-done-lately? dept

Gator has been working very hard lately to change their reputation as a spyware provider. From threatening those who call their software spyware to changing their name to run away from the spyware association they've been trying to present themselves as a consumer friendly company. However, there's what you say and what you do. Broadband Reports is pointing to Ben Edelman's deconstruction of Gator's EULA, where it seems pretty clear that the company isn't particularly consumer friendly. Among other things, they forbid you to use other software to remove the product. As Edelman points out, Claria/Gator always defends "user choice" in putting the application on their computer -- but they no longer support user choice when it comes to removing it. Also, for a 63 page license agreement, the company is particularly sneaky in explaining what they really do. That is, nowhere in the agreement do they mention that they will be dumping a ton of "pop up ads" on users' computers. The only mention of pop up ads concerns a survey from Gator.

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  1. identicon
    KCT, 1 Dec 2004 @ 8:14pm

    Hypocrisy by Ben

    Ben Edelman makes a living creating a false sense of insecurity related to these claims. Ask Ben who has paid him for services. Ask Ben who he's "asked" to pay him for services. Ben is a smart twenty-something (younger than you think) who needs to show more responsibilty in his bashing when he portrays himself as a researcher.
    I don't disagree that Claria has an extensive EULA. I also don't agree that pop-up advertisements can be annoying. But I also find it ridiculous that we make such a big deal about something that (1) requests consent at install regardless of it's length (2) includes an entry in add/remove programs (3) provides attribution in its pop-ups.
    My biggest problems related to this crusade is the hypocrisy and unique standards Claria is held to. Why not attack AOL for their practices? They deliver unattributed pop ups if you use their IM client (see their TravelZoo ads), they bundle Viewpoint so they can deliver more sophisticated advertisements (find me that consent and EULA), they take enormous ad buys from and others who proliferate the distribution of adware products, they even use Claria as a method to promote their services (see their press release today about their video search services). I can create a similar story about Yahoo or Real Networks.
    The Internet is full of agressive activity associated with Internet advertising. Everyone has their hand in these advertising methods. Let's stop being hypocritical and self-righteous about what is right and wrong and take responsibility for our own actions. If you lack the patience or intelligence to understand Claria's process or how to uninstall it, then you shouldn't be operating a computer.
    I'm tired of the whining about Claria (and WhenU and 180 Solutions) when your real complaint is the Internet as a whole and its attempts to deliver advertising. It seems like you seek an overly utopian pipe dream to me (although I clearly know why you do it).
    The World has bigger problems than Claria and other legitimate adware companies.

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