What's Wrong with Toolbars?
Our good friend Donna who manages Calendar of Updates have been keeping an excellent list of which software installers have been sneaking additional software on to our systems. It’s called the Installers Hall of Shame. The list includes folks who insist on installing not only toolbars from Ask.com, Google and Yahoo but also browsers, video players and more. Click here to see the list. I’ve added it to my Favorites so I check it regularly.
I also see that Donna just posted an article specifically about the Ask.com toolbar; Update on Products with Ask Toolbar. It was a timely post considering just last week I heard back from IAC/InterActiveCorp asking if I would re-consider adding the Ask.com toolbar to WinPatrol. I was told that I wouldn’t have to include MyWebSearch or promote other infamous FunWebProducts from IAC. “We’re not really connected to them” I was told. As I did in the past, I said “No thanks”.
It’s still surprising that programs like Zone Alarm, SpySweeper and Comodo Firewall install the Ask.com toolbar while other security programs still flag it as undesirable, suspicious or even adware.
Donna has some great points and screen shots but even if not for suspicious behavior what’s the big deal you ask? One the worse arguments I hear is “It’s the users own fault if they don’t see the pre-checked option”. Well, suppose when you upgraded to WinPatrol PLUS I default the number of licenses to 10. Can you imagine the anger from people who would be charged $299 USD instead of $29.95? I’ll bet a few people wouldn’t even notice it on their credit card bill and pay it. Is it their fault or would I be scamming them?
Bottom line: No installer should include a default option to install additional software.