Webroot Justifies Its Own Over-Valued Existence

from the gotta-spend-that-money-on-something dept

We were among the confused masses who wondered just what anti-spyware vendor Webroot Software would do with the mind-boggling $108 million they raised earlier this year (though, we've been told that the number supposedly includes quite a bit of cash used to buy out existing equity holders, rather than as a direct investment in the company). It turns out that part of the answer is to use that money to conduct surveys to justify their own existence. Webroot has come out with a study saying that 88% of computers have unwanted software included. Even with all the spyware out there, that number seems suspiciously high -- but remember, the company is trying to pump up its own value. What isn't mentioned in most of the articles covering this study is that Webroot is using the highly controversial method of including tracking cookies and lumping them in with spyware. With tracking cookies included, the number actually sounds low. Tracking cookies, placed by advertising firms, are usually mostly harmless compared to actual spyware and adware programs -- and including them to boost the apparent size of the market is just plain misleading, but most people (especially reporters) who don't deal in details will probably gloss over this fact.
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  • identicon
    Hal, 3 May 2005 @ 12:10pm

    Self-Selecting Sample

    Considering:
    Webroot noted that because the survey was based on a self-selecting sample, its data may be skewed to users who believe they already may have spyware issues.
    I wonder if the users had to have cookies enabled in order to take the survey :-). Also - what good does a self-selecting sample do from a company that produces anti-virii applications? Give me a break.

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

  • identicon
    Precision Blogger, 3 May 2005 @ 2:09pm

    I think that 88% is not terribly high.

    An awful lot of computers have spyware on them. All you have to do is download a few programs and you've got some. Remember that spyware is installed during program installation; virus checkers can't catch it and neither can firewalls (until it starts to call out to the web). Firewalls will not detect spyware that calls out, if it calls TO the websites you downloaded from, since you likely allowed them to access the net during installation.

    Webroot has found all sorts of junk on my machines after a few downloads. I'm glad it's helping me out.
    - Precision Blogger
    http://precision-blogging.blogspot.com

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


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