Another Adware Company Claims It's Cleaning Up Its Act; Evidence Suggests Not
from the yeah,-nice-try dept
In the last few months, we keep hearing stories about hated adware companies trying to "clean up their reputations" and go legit. So far, however, most have not been doing a very good job. Claria is trying to pretend its adware isn't bad anymore because it's focused on embedded web ads instead of popups, but it still involves a sneaky, not-very-upfront install with an onerous end user license agreement. Then there's 180Solutions. The company, who once sneakily put its own affiliate codes in place of the deserving affiliates announced this week that it was finally suing some of its worst distributors who they blame for the sneaky practices. Of course, before they did that, they bought their biggest distributor -- and the one that was considered the worst of the bunch by some (effectively rewarding the affiliate). So, now it's Direct Revenue's turn. You may remember Direct Revenue as the firm whose sneakily installed adware happened to sneakily uninstall competitors' adware. The firm, which claimed its new motto was "transparency, transparency, transparency," wasn't particularly happy when Newsweek made the company a bit more transparent by revealing that it had changed its name repeatedly to try to be a bit less than transparent to thousands of angry people whose computers had slowed to a crawl through no fault of their own. It also practiced any number of other sneaky tricks, including the affiliate code swap that got 180Solutions in trouble. This new transparency from the company finally came to light earlier this year when they launched its latest adware company -- which was just as sneaky during the install process, but which placed the adware's name (aurora) in the corner of the popup so angry users could see who was slowing down their computer. You still couldn't remove the product easily, as they required you to go to a website to download a special program to remove the software -- leading to many more angry people. More recently, the company has apparently hired a new CEO who is promising that the company has changed and is much more user friendly. So, one anti-spyware researcher decided to check out those claims and found them to be severely lacking. The "more transparent" disclosures were confusing and barely seemed to work at all. The special app needed to uninstall the spyware, didn't even work at all. It also sounds like the site you go to download the adware deleter may install additional adware at the same time. Oh, and, of course, you sure can't uninstall the thing through Add/Remove programs. And people wonder why we have a very difficult time believing any of these companies when they claim that they're "transparent" and legit.