The Stigma Enigma, Revisited

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Recently my pal Bill Pytlovany (of WinPatrol fame) wrote an article on his blog asking "What's Wrong With Toolbars"?

I wrote something along similar lines way back in 2005, and it's vaguely depressing to see how little has apparently changed. I'm not going to quote myself, but rather compare and contrast Bills experiences (and those of his commentators) with the person who posted a comment to my entry, which I quote below in full:

"Unfortunately, the few 'honest' toolbars have indeed taken the wrath of users as a result of the spyware, parasite, adware and other creepy applications of an otherwise good technology.

What's interesting is that, as far as my own toolbar system goes, I've had offers from clients all over the world to develop different kinds of toolbars -- and without fail -- it is the US-based companies that seem most willing to cross the line and request applications that I simply refuse to develop.

We're talking about features like:

- Forced Install
- Hidden Install
- Report all URLs back
- Report all searches back
- Forcibly and hidden set home page
- Forcibly and hidden set default search engine
- Forcibly generate un-blockable pop-ups
- Install and run hidden executables
- Bypass all security and anti-virus tools
- The list goes on...

What's sad is that I'm able to generate the most powerful and incredibly useful toolbars imaginable. Ones that can save countless hours of time and effort. Ones that can be customized on a per-user basis to make the Internet and use of ones's own computer a pleasure.

However, there will always be people around who's sole motivation is the almighty dollar -- and who will do ANYTHING to get it.

These people don't care about you, your wants, your needs, your security or safety -- as long as they can line their pockets with your money, or by taking advantage of actions you perform (even one lousy click!).

They'll infect your machine, using whatever means necessary, and they won't stop -- EVER."

The "industry" has certainly cleaned up since then, but the insistence on wanting to cram a toolbar on every PC, ever, remains. I must admit to being kind of disturbed that none of these companies seemingly want to take "No" for an answer - instead of leaving alone, they keep coming back every month or so. Of course, given the potential for mass moneymaking that's on offer I can't say I'm entirely surprised...


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This page contains a single entry by Christopher Boyd published on August 27, 2008 3:58 PM.

Holy Media Codecs, Batman! was the previous entry in this blog.

Don't Panic is the next entry in this blog.

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