Bits from Bill

Technology thoughts leaking from the brain of "Bill Pytlovany"

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Gateway Advertising Adult Sex

I recently wrote about the dangers associated with new computers but today I found an additional surprise to tell you about.  My new Gateway came with quite a few pre-installed programs which I removed using WinPatrol but one I didn’t remove an IE Helpers(BHO) called “BAE.DLL”. This file is a “Browser Address Error Redirector”.

If you request a web page that doesn’t exist  or can’t be reached you’ll typically get an error page called a “404”. What BAE.DLL does is redirect the standard 404 Error Page to a page created in this case by Gateway with Google ads. 

Instead of providing useful information, Gateway just tells you there’s an error and displays a page full of paid advertising.  The type of advertising is very loosely based on your error. Gateway gets a commission on any ad you click on.


Page displayed on new Gateway computers

I was a little suprised by the ads above but many others appeared to be ok, yet pointed to sites which were full of adware and spyware.  If you find BAE.DLL or something called GoogleAFE, you’ll want to remove them and stick with the standard IE 404 error page.



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Blogger Corrine said...

Pretty sad by a supposedly reputable company. :(

Coincidentally, posters were having some fun recently at LandzDown with Funny 404 Errors.

(BTW, you're registered there as BillPStudios.)

7:14 PM  
Blogger Nick said...

If they are Google Adsense ads, then they are supposed to be displayed on a error pages. Gateway may have different terms and conditions since they would be a big client of Adsense, but from the online ones, you can see it's not allowed.
(v) display any Ad(s), Link(s), or Referral Button(s) on any error page, on...
From Adsense terms and conditions Section 5, Prohibited uses.

As I've said, Gateway may have a different agreement, but generally it is a no no to have Adsense on any error page.

12:34 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Hey Nick!
Thanks for the feedback. There seems to be some conflicting online opinions on if this is allowed under Adsense terms.

The only specific redirect reference I could find was under Webmaster Guidelines, "Do not employ cloaking or sneaky redirects".

I've asked Google to clarify. They wanted me to mention that the redirection pages does include a "What's this?" link which points to Uninstall instructions.

I'm more annoyed this time at Gateway for trying to make money off me after I already spent over $4000 on my system.

7:19 PM  
Blogger Nick said...

Hi Bill,

That what's this link seems to go to an online version of a Gateway branded Google search page. Similar to one that Firefox has set as it default home page when you first install Firefox. Certainly doesn't seem to have any uninstall instructions.

Since Gateway is a big Adsense customer, they might well have a different terms of service. I know that web sites that have a high daily page view can have a different ToS as well. One example is that big sites don't have to display the "Ads by Google" part in the ad. For you or me, that would be a violation of our ToS.

This is probably another example of this.

12:02 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Good Point Nick! There is no "Ads by Google" disclaimer. I had to read the "What's This" three times before I noticed the so called Uninstall Instructions.
It says "This program can be uninstalled from the Control Panel Add/Remove Programs. "
It assumes everyone knows how to get the control panel. Not exactly what I would consider proper instructions either.

12:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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3:18 AM  

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