Monday, March 28, 2005

Spyware? Adware? Whatever!

I just read a couple of articles discussing how to protect us from spyware, and how to identify it.

IT Confidential
Uncovering Spyware

[Picture of John Soat]The author of both articles, John Soat, thinks that there is a difference between spyware and adware. He calls adware a "legitimate online-marketing program" and says that "legitimate adware companies (if that's not an oxymoron, and I don't think it is) face problems defending their business model."

The gist seems to be that since the adware companies operate within legal boundaries, that no one should stop them. Differentiating between the two is a problem that the anti-virus companies are struggling with while they try to determine if and how protection from spyware, etc. will be included in their products.

However, instead of thinking about the adware companies, Symantec and their ilk should be considering the customers' wishes. It doesn't really matter to me if an operation is legal (and that certainly depends on the location of both the publisher and user of content). Instead, I want a product that will keep both the unsafe and annoying away from my machines.

Think about pop-up ads. Most are not violating any law, but they really disturb a web-user. The better browsers offer pop-up blocking capabilities. Some are better than others, and none block everything, but it's a good start. Advertisers have been forced back to less obtrusive methods of getting their message to the people. Web sites that use pop-up methods to display content have also had to change their delivery methods, which I think has given us a little more control over the web surfing experience.

Let's convince software vendors to offer the software we would like to have, not that which supports a business segment we'd rather not be involved with.

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