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I regularly use antivirus, anti-spyware, and firewall software to clean computers and then keep them that way. Naturally, I don't install programs bundled with adware myself, and warn others to stay away from offers of "free" screensavers, games, and the like (usually offered through pop-ups on the Internets).
But recently I have noticed more pay programs subtley introducing adware. For instance, popular accounting packages place icons on the desktop to order checks, get loans, and buy software from partners. Printer drivers are little more than platforms for manufacturers to *remind* customers that it is always time to buy more ink and paper. My firewall and antivirus programs keep poping up in the corner to tell me that my subsciption is about to expire, or that a new product is available. I thought I got a firewall and antivirus to get rid of these popups!
But the antivirus, anti-adware, and firewall programs I'm familliar with don't detect anything, because the adware is part of the programs for which people are paying.
So the question is, what is to be done? Are we just waiting for the slow creep of adware to take over our desktops again? This time through paid-for software?"
I wanted to show the Slashdotters my (unscientific) experiement, and my results. My hopes are that others might do the same test to get a better understanding about the efectiveness of opt-out links in Spam.
Here is my position. I have always told others not to use the opt-out links, it would only be confirming your address for the spammers. But I conducted an informal experiment, and now I want to know what the other Slashdotters think? Is this crazy? Do opt-out links deserve their reputation as a waste of time?
P.S. Sorry about the Geocities page. It was the only way I could publish my results without setting up my own server. If someone wants to copy the page to a better server, feel free to distribute a new link.
Now let the jokes begin about how I am really working for the spammers trying to harvest addresses! (I'm Not.)
See my experiment and results here: