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FTC Fines Zango $3 Million 77

Posted by Zonk
from the better-than-a-kick-in-the-pants dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Wired is reporting that government regulators have fined rogue adware distributor Zango (formerly 180Solutions) $3 million. This is 'following charges that the company deceived internet users into installing its pop-up software and tried to prevent them from uninstalling it.' ZDNet mentions that 'Zango's executives pointed a finger elsewhere, claiming that the federal violations were due to third-party distributors rather than the software manufacturer itself.' Security researchers are still happily finding examples of Zango software being popped open in rogue distributions such as IM worms. Ben Edelman is claiming to have more evidence of their dubious business practices, casting into question their claims of newfound affiliate responsibility."
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FTC Fines Zango $3 Million

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 04, 2006 @03:28PM (#16718019)
    the "they deserve it" train of thought sucks, because while they *might* indeed deserve it, they're also likely made part of a botnet that then goes performing DoS attacks, spamming and scanning for exploits. Ultimately they just screw the net up for everyone else, so its in everyone's best interest to not only protect these people but go after the idiots pushing this stuff.
  • TANSTAAFL (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Bellhead (236422) on Saturday November 04, 2006 @04:30PM (#16718519) Homepage
    Speaking in general, without reference to any specific individual or corporation, I'll add these comments about the adware/spyware industry:
    1. The reason adware companies do everything they can to make it difficult to remove their software is because they're in a hurry: they are making a lot of money very quickly, and they know that what they're doing will be illegal soon. When that happens, they want to be both rich and gone.
    2. Many whom use P2P software shrug of adware as the cost of getting "free" songs or movies, but it's not just copyright infringement that's going on. These are not victimless crimes: the adware vendors are commiting commercial fraud!
      • The ads some companies create on users' computers are not intended for the user! They're intended to artificially inflate the hit counts of the server that they come from, so that the server's owners can charge their advertisers more.
      • When an infected machine visits a site like Amazon.com, the adware can popup an Amazon ad in a way that makes Amazon think the operator "clicked through" from an affiliate. The result? The adware company gets a cut of everything you buy!
    3. They rely on children's innocence and gullibility to make their money:
      • Most adware I've removed was installed by teenagers and not adults, and I'd bet the adware companies count on that. Adults have a pretty good carp filter, after all: if somebody tries to sell me a pistol for two dollars, I've lived long enough to know that it's not a good bargain, but children will just click yes without thinking of consequences.
      • They're counting on the parents' indiference to perpepuate their scheme: too many adults will look the other way when their children install P2P software and start trading music, without thinking of the lessons they're giving their children in the process.
    4. The cost of removing their product from your PC is what an MBA calls an externality: it's not their pocket that gets picked, it's yours.

    Long story short: adware is peddled by vicious and unprincipled businesses, and it works because it takes advantage of the worst habits in both children and adults. Those who cash the checks aren't concerned about the mess that they leave for you and me to clean up!

    It's time to put a stop to it, for the simple reason that Heinlein was right - There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch!

    Bellhead

Neckties strangle clear thinking. -- Lin Yutang

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