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  1. #1
    Affiliate Marketing Consultant Linda - 5starAffiliatePrograms's Avatar
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    January 18th, 2005
    EarthLink releases spyware numbers

    On Thursday, EarthLink released the first set of results from its SpyAudit service, which was launched in January. The service, provided in conjunction with security software provider Webroot Software, scans users' computers for spyware, adware, trojans, and system monitors, and collects data on the nature of the infections.

    Shows break down between types and numbers of spyware and adware found.

  2. #2
    ABW Ambassador CDC's Avatar
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    January 18th, 2005
    WOW... I think I'm going to be sick

    Those numbers are staggering. It's a wonder that we get credit for any of our sales.


  3. #3
    ABW Veteran jc101's Avatar
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    January 17th, 2005
    Santa Cruz, CA
    wow I think I'm going to be sick too what a huge amount of files they found. not suprised though.

  4. #4
    ABW Ambassador darkstar7's Avatar
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    January 17th, 2005
    I just used Webroot's software and the numbers are true. 32 spyware items found and killed. And I run Macafee too.
    Have you promoted your brand name today?

  5. #5
    Prince of Content Vinny O'Hare's Avatar
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    January 18th, 2005
    hope someone in goverment has these numbers for the spyware bill

  6. #6
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    January 18th, 2005
    St Clair Shores MI.
    I can remember well over a year ago Todd from CJ calling me to try and spin that CJ sponsored BHO partners accounted for less then 3% of recorded sales .... Seems that on just 1 million tested/scanned systems the BHO had inplanted an average of 28 million BHO sales tracking cookies.....

    With over 300 million systems infested with Spyware/adware (90% of all those with internet connections) it is almost a miricle thta an Ecomcity cookie isn't overwritten once the shopper click on one of my links.

    Initial SpyAudit Report Results
    The initial SpyAudit report charts the overall number of scans and also the initial figures for each of the defined spyware categories from January 1, 2004 to March 31, 2004. Moving forward, press releases will chart the figures for each category and the percentage growth over the previous month's results.

    Total Number of SpyAudit Scans: 1,062,756
    Total Instances of Spyware Found: 29,540,618
    Instances of Spyware per Scanned PC: 27.8
    Adware Installations on Scanned PCs: 5,344,355
    Adware Cookie Installations on Scanned PCs: 23,826,785
    System Monitor Installations on Scanned PCs: 184,559
    Trojan Installations on Scanned PCs: 184,919

    Analysis of Initial Results
    "Over the past three months, EarthLink and Webroot found more than 29.5 million instances of spyware. This figure equates to an average of nearly 28 spyware items per computer and demonstrates the broad proliferation of spyware." said Cobb. "While most spyware is Adware-related and relatively benign, it's disturbing that over 300,000 of the more serious System Monitors and Trojans were uncovered. This figure represents how real a threat identity theft or system corruption is for users."

    Definitions of Spyware and Categories
    Industry experts suggest that these types of programs may infect up to 90 percent of all Internet-connected computers. Typically, spyware arrives bundled with freeware or shareware, through email or instant message, or by someone with access to a user's computer. Once on a hard drive, it begins reporting the next time the user goes online. Unlike most software applications, spyware is difficult to detect and can be difficult to remove.

    System monitors are designed to keep track of a consumer's computer activity and can record virtually everything a user does online. Keystroke loggers, a type of system monitor, record each user's keystroke, possibly exposing the user to risk of information and identity theft. Trojans are applications that appear as harmless programs, but instead facilitate theft of computer data by permitting hackers to gain unrestricted access to computers while Web surfers are online.

    The two most common types of spyware are adware and adware cookies. Adware is any software application in which advertising banners are displayed while the program is running and then sends data back to a third party without permission. Adware cookies are a mechanism that allows a Web site or software to record a user's surfing habits without their knowledge or consent.

    To further inform consumers about the dangers of spyware, EarthLink offers a free-of-charge spyware detection program, SpyAudit. SpyAudit give a fast detailed report in minutes and is available to all Internet users at

    I pray the FTC get an earful tomorrow and banns all BHO installs regardless of end-user choice due to the hidden datamining of privacy info for sale to the DMA/IAM members and cybercriminals.
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

    "What have you done today to put real value into a referral click...from a shoppers viewpoint!"

  7. #7
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    January 18th, 2005
    The Swamp
    Grrr...I'd love to beat Earthlink silly with a blue stick. This is a great example of how so many companies are profiting off of the deeds of the adware companies which cause us yet another threat to being able to compete fairly.
    Earthlink already indiscriminately blocks emails as spam and/or makes you have to the click on the confirm and type in this code to allow the email to come through. I'm forever having to do that when customers email me and I try to reply to their emails. If you don't do it right away, it expires and your response is lost for all time. Then there is their ad blockng feature.

    This study concerns me but for different reasons. And I certainly hope the government does put those figures into the spyware bill. If they do, you can kiss your cookies goodbye. The bulk of what they detected was "Adware Cookie Installations" which are your cookies. Earthlink's definition of Adware cookies "Adware cookies are a mechanism that allows a Web site or software to record a user's surfing habits without their knowledge or consent." Not a true definition in many cases. What cookies did Earthlink decide did this?? I can about guarantee you that CJ, LS, and BF cookies were flagged. But Earthlink's definition is not what those cookies are doing. A web users "surfing habits" can not be determined by those cookies.

    This truly is a fine example of the trickle down effect that spyware/adware has on doing business fairly on the Internet. Companies who are monetizing the consumers outrage for their own profit indiscriminately or in an uneducated fashion.

  8. #8
    Full Member
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    January 18th, 2005
    Although at first glance those numbers are nauseating for obvious reasons, I'm afraid I have to agree with you Ms. B.

    I run Adware and Spybot and both consider CJ, LS and other such Network cookies as Adware.

    I'm on the computer all day long most days, so I'm bound to run across a cookie or two... Without having cookies enabled, there are too many sites I can't see, or just to log in you have to allow cookies. These cookies don't hurt anyone, most of them are basically the life, or death, of affiliate marketing.

    Some of these studies only reinforce the panic that is starting to get to consumers to come online to buy. Firewalls and other pest control programs will make it even more difficult for affiliates to earn a living, more so than parasites stealing from them.

    Parasites most definitely need to be controlled, no doubt about it. But you REALLY have to look at these studies to understand EXACTLY what they're telling you.

    I can see the day that cookies will no longer be tracked in any way, shape, or form. And more of these programs, and even more powerful ones at that, surface every day. There has to be a new or better way to track sales and referrals other than cookies. Merchants that move forward with times are those that will survive, along with their affiliates.

    However, how many of these cookies were implanted by spyware? They may very well be harmless cookies, but WHOSE cookies are they?

    THAT is the bottom line for us! We don't want more programs blocking customer's access to our websites, we want to make sure that once they visit, they keep OUR cookies.

    Just my thoughts...


  9. #9
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    January 18th, 2005
    No nausea here at all. I figured that, like Ad-Aware, they were classifying cookies as spyware.

    MsB confirmed the suspicion:

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>The bulk of what they detected was "Adware Cookie Installations" which are your cookies.~MsB <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    I hate all those idiot anti-spyware programs/services which paint affiliate cookies as something bad. Even if I find one to be useful for ditching REAL parasiteware, the fact that I have to specifically tell it to leave my aff. cookies intact serves as a constant reminder of the bull-in-china-shop damage it can cause to affiliates.
    There is no knowledge that is not power. ~Hemingway

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