(See earlier blog if you don’t know about the Bittorent thing.)

This is a rather hackneyed argument. It goes like this: “It’s not us, it’s a rogue distributor“. Really? So who pays the “rogue distributor”? It’s not like MetrixMarketing was alone. They work directly with software developers, after all (from their website: “We work with software, freeware and game developers to market and distribute products to highly targeted end users”).

Besides, blaming the intermediary in the adware game is a lame argument. See, we live in an age of technology. The software (since it is adware, after all) actually has to go back to a server at the adware company to get its instructions. Since an adware company might have problems with a “rogue distributor”, why can’t they put something in place programmatically, to make sure people really want their stuff?

The answer, at least to me, is obvious. Maybe they just don’t want that to happen.

You know, I would actually be much happier (really, I mean this, totally honestly) if the adware vendor said “we know people don’t really want our stuff on their system, so we’ll publish a code of conduct but turn a blind eye to this kind of behavior, and when others find out about it, we act enraged and pull the plug, blaming the distributor for violating the code of conduct“.

Adware vendors become disliked when they patronize reasonably intelligent people with whitewashing.

So we hear: “The minute we heard about it, we (valiantly) stopped this distribution“. Why does it take people like PaperGhost to police the adware business? Heck, if these guys all care so much about it, just hire a couple of full-time guys to troll downloads from the distributors and side-check the distributions.

Adware vendor’s counterargument: “There is no way we can police so many distributors.” Ok, then at the least, police the high risk channels like P2P. A couple of researchers can spot-check a few hundred distributors every day. We’re talking cheap, too.

You know, I have a large team of people trolling adware distributor websites every day. We cover tons of installs. It’s not hard to find the sites. For us, it’s harder to create the stuff that actually gets rid of the installs. And adware vendors at least know where their stuff is located.

And on a final note: Why is the problem of “rogue distributors” only relegated to adware? Why don’t we see it with legitimate free products, like the Google Toolbar? Well, umm, there’s money involved. Distributors get paid for installs, so they’ll go to any means to get adware on a system.

And another final, final note: All the people getting excited about the Spy Act, read this from the DR release: “We support efforts designed to create national standards for the entire online media industry, such as the federal Spy Act now before Congress whose provisions we have already adopted.”

Gives me great confidence in this legislation.

Alex Eckelberry

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