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  1. #1
    ABW Ambassador Greg Rice's Avatar
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    180solutions Launches Adware Awareness Campaign
    Huh? MarketingVOX reported that good 'ol 180 Solutions plans to notify all of their victims, err I mean users, that they have their adware installed, that they will get 2-3 ads per day (like they didn't already know this since they're infected, err I mean are already using the value added software) and instructions on how to remove it. MarketingVOX links to the story at MediaPost and they titled the story "180solutions Launches Adware Awareness Campaign". Maybe it's just me but that title sounds like 180 is doing a public service and not just a major CYA move. Apparently, that writer doesn't have 180 installed or they would know people don't need to alerted that it's on their PC.

    On the 180 site: “Protecting consumers from bad actors and nefarious distributors is of the utmost importance to 180solutions,” said Keith Smith, CEO and founder of 180solutions. “By re-notifying everyone in our network, we ensure each user has received the proper disclosure and has provided informed consent.” This sounds more like "We're doing this with the hopes that Attorneys General across the country don't come after us since we're really, really nice folks."

    http://www.marketingvox.com/archives...ware/index.php
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  2. #2
    Member Chocolate_Chicken's Avatar
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    Typical predator behaviour.

    They'll entice folks to remove some of their competitor's software from their machines, while projecting a "trusted ally" image.

  3. #3
    I like traffic lights
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    Backpedalling as fast as they can.

  4. #4
    ABW Ambassador danay's Avatar
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    Yup, someone is scuttling for good PR!
    Danay @ LunaSolMedia.com
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  6. #6
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    GREAT work Ben. I read every word. One of your finest reports imo. And very timley.

    180 will never change - they will continue to do everything they can, including making false statements (in my house, we call those people liars) to continue their path of annoying, stealing, obfuscating, irritating, lying, cheating, invading and mugging. They won't change because this is who and what they are.

    If we all are to safely prosper in the digital age, we need to completely eliminate this type of behavior. First step - expose it. What you do to this end, shakes, rattles and rolls today's Internet and tomorrow's as well.

    Keep doing your thing!

  7. #7
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    Chocolate Chicken, yes and I would think that is their intent (one that is going to be successful to a degree). I don't think the trusted ally image is so much for consumers either but rather with regards to outside regulations. They are thinking long-term vs. immediate.

    Danay, yes they are because they have quite a bit (43 million) at stake. However, it goes deeper than just PR which it is also. I would think this is also a big step towards forcing spyware removal vendors to delist them and going down the road of finger pointing to other adware companies comparatively as the 'bad players.' 180Solutions may well have a large enough base to scarifice the uninstalls from that prompt in return for the gained 'legitimacy' of their business as a advertising medium. Again I would think their real target with these moves isn't really the consumer but outside regulators and proactive protection against lawsuits.

    I'll say this again. Right now all the major players in adware/parasiteware have the foucs exactly where they want it.....on the issue of consent. That is focusing on consent vs the issues/concerns of how their software impacts on Internet businesses in detrimental ways.

    What 180Solutions has done with this notification will most likely go a long way with regards to regulatory bodies. While the wording and such of the notification can be analyzed, the bottom line is that 180Solutions is voluntarily making themselves known to be installed on end users computers along with links to privacy and uninstall information. They are the first major player in this arena to do so and as such have elevated themselves above all the other players as 'consumer-centric.' Will this new notification system pass the FTC mustard? I would think it most likely will.

    Meanwhile, the basic behavior of their software remains unchanged. It continues to pop on other businesses web sites potentially interfering with the commerce those sites are trying to engage in.

    And the real golden egg that I see 180Solutions going after with this move (and other recent "PR" moves) along with other companies is positioning themselves to be more strongly in a position to use the consumer as a protective shield for their overall business practices. If and when folks get back to what was the primary issue with these ad companies in the past (infringing on their business), 180Solutions has now gained much more leverage to the claim they have used in the past of "but the consumer wants us and we bring value to the consumer."

    For what my true concerns are with the practices of 180Solutions following them down the consent PR road is not only unfavorable to my overall objectives but IMO a dangerous one for the overall standards I'd like to see set for downloadable advertising.

    There are 2 broad areas of concern with regards to parasiteware: consumer and commerce (that's us). While we may be able to utilize the consumer issues to some degree to our advantage to the commerce issues (eg promoting spyware removal applications), we should be recognizing the fact that the consumer issues are also the most easily manipulated by the adware companies to their own advantage while not addressing the commerce issues. We can't win the war on commerce issues via consumer issues. The commerce issues have to be fought in their own right. We should take care not to follow down the PR spin path these guys are wanting folks to go down and we should never lose sight of what our real concerns/issues are.

    Personally I say very little about 'consent' unless it is tied to the statement that Internet companies should be afforded the same rights as offline companies to engage in commerce as well as be afforded the same protections to engage in fair competitive trade. And in the offline world, in many cases that percept supercedes consumer 'consent' and even desires. Those principles are fundamental to capitalistic economy and are the ultimate benefit to consumers. Those principles should be translating onto Internet commerce.

    No matter how many "I agree" buttons a consumer may click on, no matter how many notification boxes are popped up, no matter if a company is really not 'spyware' but just 'adware', no matter how many "certified" or "approved" seals a software may carry...regardless of any of those things and more, there is still a HUGE problem if you are popping up advertising on a web site without that web sites permission (regardless of what an Appeals Court may say under existing law). There is still a HUGE problem if you are tracking user click patterns across other businesses including their shopping cart and reselling that data (a practice 180Solutions cease but others continue to engage in). There is still a HUGE problem if you are altering the content of another's web site for you own financial gain. There is still a HUGE problem if you are automatically redirecting traffic from someone elses web site to a location that you receive finacial gain. There is still a HUGE problem if you misrepresenting to your advertisers how you are delivering traffic to their site. And I don't give a rat's you know what you can prove about end user's consent.

  8. #8
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    On the adult "consent" 180Solutions should assume the legal die is already cast. OPT-OUT is dead and only confirmed Double OPT-IN passes the smell test of consent. Until then -180Solutions and all other BHO's are just blowing smoke up consumers and advertisers butts.

    Implementing anything less is like hearing the BTK killer's socopatic confession. Placing a candy kiss and "love you" note on the victims pillow, after you force rape them, doesn't cut it with the general public. It shouldn't cut it with the legal and advertising community either!
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

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  9. #9
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    ...ooops. To keep this anology accurate the rapist needs to leave plain instructions on how the loved victim can untie themselves.
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

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

  10. #10
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    OPT-OUT is dead and only confirmed Double OPT-IN passes the smell test of consent.
    True but that's not the only hurdle that should have to be met. I don't care if an adult quadruple opted-in, 180Solutions still doesn't have the right to directly interfere in my business. Nor should they be allowed to hide behind the consumer (ie opted-in) in order to do so.

    The fundamental premise of their business remains unchanged. They don't have a business except for everyone else's business on the Net.

  11. #11
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Lightbulb
    BHO's, armed with Double OPT-IN proof once it is required in all affiliate network's TOS, can place "users choice" into the legitimacy hat. If the contextual popup Adwhores further follow the physical click requirement to set a sales tracking cookie, demanded of all other affiliates, then their informed members can be considered a legit affiliate commissionable group. The group operator (ie eBates, SchoolPop) accepts TOS compliance responsibility for their group under penality of commission forfeiture.

    Now I've made this clarification, and concession, I will hope all networks, merchant's and AM's immediately take the steps to put this into action. It will silence me on the BHO subject. How's that for a new improved Webmaster Mike...
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

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  12. #12
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kellie aka Ms. B
    True but that's not the only hurdle that should have to be met. I don't care if an adult quadruple opted-in, 180Solutions still doesn't have the right to directly interfere in my business. Nor should they be allowed to hide behind the consumer (ie opted-in) in order to do so.

    The fundamental premise of their business remains unchanged. They don't have a business except for everyone else's business on the Net.
    This is clearly the truth of the WHOLE matter.

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