Who is behind StopBadware.Org?
I was recently asked by a company called IAC Interactive to review our WinPatrol PLUS decriptions of programs associated with their MyWebSearch toolbar. I’m always happy to review our PLUS descriptions to make sure we’re providing users with useful information. It wasn’t a threat like we’ve gotten before, it was a request.
Most Anti-Spyware researchers have been critical of MyWebSearch tool bar. I installed the latest MyWebSearch and quickly understood why. I have no problems recommending our users remove this and its related programs as quickly as possible.
My first surprise was when I entered a search for “WinPatrol” using their search engine which claims to be a combination of Google, Yahoo, LookSmart and Ask.com. The first two entries were companies with fraud-ware that tricks users into thinking they were the popular SpyBot, Search & Destroy program. When I checked my settings I found that boxes for Google, Yahoo and Looksmart were Off by default so only Ask.com was being used.
My next surprise came when I read the User License which basically said at sometime they would downloading additional FunWeb products like Smiley Central, Cursor Mania, Fun Buddy Icons, History Swatter, My Fun Cards, My Info, My Mail Notifier, My Mail Signature, My Mail Stamp, Popular Screensavers and something called Smotos. These programs weren’t initially installed when I downloaded the toolbar and there was never any mention of additional programs being installed with the toolbar. (Click here to read)
New buttons and more appeared in Outlook
The biggest surprise was when I checked out the management at IAC InterActive Corp.
Click here for Management Profiles. Board includes high-power folks like CEO Barry Diller, his wife, Edgar Bronfman, Jr., Gen. Schwarzkopf and others. At the top of its board listing is William H. Berkman. His profile says, “Mr. Berkman’s family established the Berkman Center For Internet & Society at Harvard Law School.”
If the Berkman Center sounds familiar it’s because they led the initiative behind StopBadware.org.
Last month StopBadware.org declared one of IAC’s programs called Zinky to be Badware (Click here). Now they say “Zwinky is not badware, although it does engage in behaviors that users should be aware of”. (Click here for more info) You decide for yourself if this is a conflict of interest.
Zwinky is a program geared towards kids and also installs the MyWebSearch complete package. Surprise again, the EULA for MyWebSearch says “You must be 13 years of age or older to register or to use the MyWebSearch toolbar”.
IAC Interactive has a huge stable of internet companies and services.
Click here for a list of IAC Businesses. I’ve been happy with some of their other services so I hope they’ll drop their MyWebSearch and related products as quickly as possible.