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The Media

Distastful Advertising Continues: "Gatoring" 332

iforgotmyfirstlogon sent us a link to an article on CNet about Gatoring, a fabulous new advertising technique where advertising buy key words and pop up windows over competitors. The kicker is that this is a byproduct of a commonly installed activex plugin. And its only gonna get worse.
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Distastful Advertising Continues: "Gatoring"

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  • I know that guy is annoying but gator reminds me of that a-hole's graphic :-)
  • ... it's the consumers' right because we're invited onto the desktop.

    Who invited you? I didn't. Why don't you ask before you ship some extra 'goodies' along with what I downloaded? Why don't you let me deside what I want on my computer instead of almost telling me how to get rid of it? Why, why ...

    This has got to be banned, because you don't have a choise whether or not you wan't it. You can turn of the TV when the comercials are on (at least look away,) you can easily ignore those banners currently advertising for Compaq and Opera and you don't have to look at all sponsor popups. (right-click, then chose close.) The regular popups we can accept because they pay for whatever service they're looking for.

    I'm going to say one word: Ban it! (well, that's two actually)

  • another way out (Score:2, Insightful)

    by panopticon ( 147224 )
    (I'm being serious, not trolling) Get a Mac. When you're in the minority, marketers won't waste their time with you.
  • So, so wrong (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Alcimedes ( 398213 ) on Tuesday August 07, 2001 @02:27PM (#2111790)
    You know, as a marketing major this is exactly the kind of thing that you're not supposed to do. People are exposed to advertising all the time now, it's getting out of hand. The average U.S. citizen see thousands of ads per day, and is getting to the point where they don't even notice them anymore.

    At this point, the last thing you need to do is shove more ads into people's faces trying to get them to buy your product. Instead of trying to force people to buy what you make, you should be making what people want to buy.

    It's all ass backwards, and in my opinion, we are seeing the beginning of the end for this type of advertising. The only way that marketing and advertising are going to succeed in the future is by giving people what they want, when they want it, not shoving their nose in it.

    The pop-ups will get worse, until they are tuned out completely, like your little sister. Then the only ones left making money will be those who were smart about where they spent thier money, and actually put money into user-friendly areas. (Which is the reason for the huge surge in sponsership of sports, like it or lump it.)

    This kind of crap is getting to the point where it's annoying enough that people are getting pissed off. Corporations are going to have to ask themselves if they few idiots they sucker in to buying their products through pop-ups is worth the teeming masses they alienated through annoying ads.

    I know that I'll never be buying that stupid ass spy cam now, that's for sure.

    • The advertised, hyped, dot-com stocks that were touted at making millionaires out of just about anyone?

      Or those of well managed companies with sensible and attainable goals?

      Never underestimate the American mindset that wants new and improved, in your face, NOW.

      Make a product that actually works. Please. If that was the case there'd be no diet industry. "Uh, eat less and exercise?" NO! BUY MY NEW FAT INCINERATOR 2000, YOU DON'T EVEN HAVE TO GET UP OFF THE COUCH! USING A SYNERGISTIC BLEND OF PLACEBOS, (our) SATISFACTION IS GUARANTEED OR YOUR MONEY BACK!
    • Re:So, so wrong (Score:3, Interesting)

      by trcooper ( 18794 )
      Where does Burger King build a new store? Generally across the street from a McDonalds, right? They do this why? To attract people who are interested in their competitor's similar products.

      I myself majored in advertising, and this is exactly what you are supposed to do. You hit people who are interested in your product. If I go to a site looking for memory, and another site pops up an ad with free shipping on all memory orders, this ad is going to have a much higher success rate then if say, it were at the top of the page on /.

      You're right, pop-up ads will get worse. Significantly, but these ads aren't the beginning of the end. It's the end of the beginning. The industry is starting to wise up and realize that silly banner ads don't work when they aren't tuned into you. The geeks and traditional advertising washouts are getting out, and people who know what they're doing are taking over.

      These types of ads are going to be much more successful, because we will learn to live with them. This may seem underhanded, and it may very well be, but people will tolerate them because they don't want to pay for content. Banners caused the same response as this.

      At this point, the last thing you need to do is shove more ads into people's faces trying to get them to buy your product. Instead of trying to force people to buy what you make, you should be making what people want to buy.

      You're a marketing major? That will be your job someday, bud. Your job is going to make people need what you have to sell. People don't want the product? Fix the people, or hit the street.

      If you're a marketing major, and afraid to piss people off (or piss on them, for that matter), or think that ethics should get in the way, you're best of to change your major. Geology would probably be nice because you don't have to deal with people. A customer your competitor has, is a customer you don't have.

      Marketing and Advertising are certainly not the place for people who are idealistic about privacy, or believe "the truth will set them free". Myself, I was lucky enough to get into programming.
      • Re:So, so wrong (Score:3, Informative)

        by Idaho ( 12907 )
        You're right, pop-up ads will get worse.

        ...
        These types of ads are going to be much more successful, because we will learn to live with them.

        I already learned how to live with them. Add this line to your Mozilla's prefs.js:

        user_pref("capability.policy.default.Window.open", "noAccess");

        And you're fixed.

        This is one of the major reasons I'm using Mozilla for everyday browsing now. Every irritating banner I see gets a 'right click->block images from this server', and voila, another Banner Advertizer that will never bother me again.

        Same goes for cookies: it's really irritating when every site has to ask if it may store a cookie. Therefore, I use the default setting 'accept all cookies'. Every now and then, I delete all crappy *ad*=Your-Unique-Tracking-Id-Here-cookies using the Preferences->Security menu, while enabling 'don't allow deleted cookies to be accepted again'. Another problem solved.

        I guess similar programs/plugins exist for IE (but, as you might have noticed, IE doesn't run on Linux :-)

        • Another thing you can do is modify the hosts file on your machine. I cut down the ads by a tremendous amount by doing that. (I did it for my father as well - two minutes work, two weeks of no-questions.)

          I snagged mine down from this link at Gorilla Designs [accs-net.com] who I don't know, but figure hey, might as well mention who it is. It keeps both Mozilla and IE mostly free of ads at the same time. (You do need to keep it updated, though, but that's simple with a text editor.)

        • THANKYOUTHANKYOUTHANKYOUTHANKYOUTHANKYOUTHANKYOUTH ANKYOUTHANKYOUTHANKYOUTHANKYOUTHANKYOUTHANKYOUTHAN KYOUTHANKYOUTHANKYOUTHANKYOUTHANKYOUTHANKYOUTHANKY OUTHANKYOUTHANKYOUTHANKYOUTHANKYOUTHANKYOU

          You don't know how much this make me happy.

          I know it's offtopic, but I've got karma to burn and I'm FRESH OUT OF POPUP ADS!!!!!!

      • But irritating ads can also work the other way.

        A week ago I got a popup in Explorer that

        1. Didn't have a window border (so I couldn't close it!)
        2. Couldn't even be closed by right-clicking->close on the taskbar

        This was just on a default install of Win2K with medium security settings and no crappy plugins installed!

        This annoyed the hell out of me. So much, that I took down the companies name and decided not to buy something from them, *EVER* (not that I probably would've, otherwise, but hey :-)

        Again, using Mozilla with some extra options set (unfortunately some things have to be done outside the GUI, currently..) solved most of my problems with irritating ads (i.e. I never see them anymore :-)
  • by friday2k ( 205692 ) on Tuesday August 07, 2001 @02:24PM (#2112044)
    As many of you might be aware, Gator also offers a so called form filler that fills your personal information into merchant forms (shipping address, credit card number and such). So once I decided to install this "thing" to try it out. Works fine. Then I wanted to look a little bit into security. They do not publish how they encrypt your sensitive data, they only claim that yourt information is encrypted and absolutely secure. Well, well, I emailed them. After 3 emails to their customer service I finally got the response that they do not publish how they do security and encryption (may I assume it is ROT-13 then!?) for SECURITY REASONS! Now I can only say, be afraid, be very afraid of the next worm ...
  • by sourcehunter ( 233036 ) on Tuesday August 07, 2001 @02:53PM (#2116210) Homepage
    Microsoft could actually help here quite a bit - and they have good reason to.

    Anyone remember this [slashdot.org] article from a few days ago about WinXP blocking certain device drivers because of potential flaws based on crash data? I'm SURE that could be widended to include programs and OCXs. Here's what we need to do...

    1. Get Microsoft to expand their block list to include software too
    2. Have a bunch of people "Break" the OCX so it really fouls things up
    3. Have these people submit the crash info to Microsoft
    POOF! Microsoft's auto-update feature for XP blocks the software...

    Anyone know any XP core programers?


  • So, you buy add-space on a web-site, or better yet, serve up pages on your OWN site, and you have to pay 'protection' money to keep your competitors from displaying pop-up ads over the top of YOUR webserver..

    I'm thinking two things:

    1) copyright enfringement?

    and

    2) I wonder if a guy named GUIDO sells the insurance..?

  • Ya know, I've been noticing a resurgance of gatoring at bars and weddings during the song "Shout".

    It's gotta be pretty scarey when your website throws itself to the floor and starts thrashing like a drunk Belushi.

    Toga! Toga!
  • With all the rants on patents, trademark disputes, and other monopolistic disputes do we really want to set a precident barring a company from advertising the competition when another companies trademark is involved???

    This isn't a problem. It's clearly within a content provider's right to provide whatever advertisment they want and under whatever conditions they want.

    Clearly this is in the consumers best interest if they opt to use a service that employs gatoring in the first place.

    In 1999, Playboy filed suit against Excite.com and Netscape in an attempt to prohibit them from delivering adult ads when visitors searched for the term "playboy." The suit charged that the alleged practice violated its trademark. Although the court dismissed the case earlier this year, Playboy has appealed the decision, and a hearing is scheduled in a Los Angeles federal district court in September.

    I can't see how anybody would want to support anti-gatoring, especially with frivilous suits like the one above from Playboy.

    While we're at it, I'd like the take the time to quote Larry Flint regarding playboy.

    Its like if you don't make over $20,000 a year, you don't jerk off. Gentlemen, Playboy is mocking you!
    • Its like if you don't make over $20,000 a year, you don't jerk off. Gentlemen, Playboy is mocking you!

      So Larry Flynt is giving away Hustler mags for free now? Didn't think so, just goes to show who is mocking who.

  • by Frizzled ( 123910 ) on Tuesday August 07, 2001 @02:20PM (#2121310) Homepage
    the lower you sink, the better chance you have of turning a profit.

    _f
  • by rkischuk ( 463111 ) on Tuesday August 07, 2001 @02:23PM (#2121315)
    I'm guessing it's called gatoring because of the way unwanted Florida Gator fans pop up and extol the virtues of Steve Spurrier during the discussion of anything related to college football?
    • Well, when my daughter is just fucking around with her bottle (chewing on the nipple, spitting her formula back out, etc.) my mother-in-law calls it "gatoring."

      This practice seems similar. The page owners are fucking around with our browser windows and stability, our irritation levels and patience, and accomplishing no REAL positive results. I know that it makes me less interested in visiting them.
  • by Scot Seese ( 137975 ) on Tuesday August 07, 2001 @02:31PM (#2121345)
    ..rears it's ugly head. To think that an avertiser can get away with these tactics is rediculous.

    In traditional media outlets, particularly newspaper and radio, companies can specifically request or be GUARANTEED that advertisements for competing products or services will NOT appear within x-many column inches of newspaper or x-minutes of radio play.

    If I were advertising my theoretical car dealership, what is the effectiveness of that ad if a SECOND companies' commercial runs right behind mine? What if they KNEW they could get that slot and intentionally undercut all my sale prices in THEIR ad? I'd cancel my ad run and refuse payment to the station, among other things.

    This situation actually happened when I was working at a Northeast-Ohio computer company, when a popular area FM radio station ran OUR ad with a COMPETITOR'S ad right behind it! We actually called the competitor, said "do you know they are doing this?" upon which BOTH of us called the station manager threatening to cancel BOTH ad runs unless they were scheduled at least 3 minutes apart, per their agreement.

    This has to be one of the better, shining examples of the "wild west" cowboy cavalier attitude so predominant on the internet running smack into the brick wall of common sense.

    Hey, perhaps Microsoft should approach Andover, offer them four times their standard banner rates and plaster WindowsXP ads all over Slashdot.

  • by Mnemia ( 218659 ) on Tuesday August 07, 2001 @02:39PM (#2126298)
    The funniest part in the story was when the Gator.com executive was quoted as saying the Gator is "easily removable via the Add/Remove Programs dialogue". When I downloaded several programs containing Gator, it didn't install immediately. Instead, it would just sit invisble in the background and wait like an hour. If you tried to delete its installer in this time period it would be locked by the OS. THe only way to delete it before it installed on those programs (which I am POSITIVE did not give the option to install without Gator) was to kill the program and then delete the file. Anyone else see this delay tactic? I think it is meant to make Gator just "show up" on the computer later to prevent the user from just immediately deleting it without "trying" it.
    • how i removed it (Score:3, Informative)

      by rebelcool ( 247749 )
      (mind you, im using win2k)

      First tried the add/remove programs method, of course it couldnt get rid of the file that gator starts from, because the file was *running*.

      Had to go into win2k's process list. Find the process (i believe there was more than 1) and shut them down. THEN I had to go and use add/remove programs.

      Finally, i had to go into explorer and delete the remnants of it that wasnt uninstalled.

      I cant imagine what id do without the process list.

  • by gmhowell ( 26755 ) <gmhowell@gmail.com> on Tuesday August 07, 2001 @02:40PM (#2126299) Homepage Journal
    This folks, is why the internet as a geek medium, or a medium for the common man is over:

    "The promise of the Internet was always one-to-one marketing, but nothing has ever proven it out. We're proving it out," Eagle said.


    Pack it up, go home. I don't know about anyone else, but I'm seriously considering dumping most of my computer stuff (and it's a literal ton) and opening some meatspace business.

    Maybe I'm a dreamer, but customer service can still get you a modest income and modest success. At 90% of the places I shop, I know at least a couple of the staff (and/or the owner) by name. And vice versa. If we had a non-chain bookstore, it would be an even higher percentage. No, none of them are millionaires, and they all work a lot. But they seem to enjoy it.

    (Yeah, yeah, lots of flames coming my way. Let me take care of a few:

    "It's just the man. We can keep the 'net for ourselves"
    "You're a loser who is giving in"
    "The internet is a wonderful medium for doing {x,y,z}"
    )

    Yeah. Whatever. Let's face it, assholes like this (and the ones at Kazaa, verizon, M$, etc.) have moved in and taken over with a little help from their friends in the government.

    I'm beginning to wonder if Ted Kacinsky didn't have some of the right ideas.

    Or at least the separatists living in the Rockies.

    • Look in your browser preferences. Uncheck Java, Javascript, Flash. Set up some site filters or install an ad-blocking proxy. Set up some email rules (guaranteed method: reject all except a specific allow list). This will take you about half an hour. If you set it up properly I bet you couldn't find an ad online if you went looking for one.
    • I am a part owner of an internet company [spinweb.net] and I run a technology site [solariscentral.org], but I'm getting tired of it all. A little bit of advertising never hurt anyone and it wasn't a problem that people wanted to sell things on the Internet, but when you have idiots who think the 'Net was made for privacy invation and pilfering wallets of their neighbors I get sick. Sometimes I seriously want to shut down my email box and go do something else.

      These feeling go away after a bit, but I miss the good old Internet. I'm referring to the one before everyone thought it was a well spring of financial bliss. It is getting embarrassing to tell people that I make my living on this medium. Some days it feels like a theme park, with all the cheesy sound and lights. Shudder.

      • It is getting embarrassing to tell people that I make my living on this medium. Some days it feels like a theme park, with all the cheesy sound and lights. Shudder.


        If only it were as good as an amusement park. They're generally inocuous. A more apt analogy might be Las Vegas: fun for adults, but funded on allowing a lot of debauchery. Even more to the point: the house always wins.

  • Ive seen it.. (Score:2, Informative)

    by xfs ( 473411 )
    I've seen gator come with AudioGalaxy, and iMesh too I think..
    • Gator Sources (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Raetsel ( 34442 ) on Tuesday August 07, 2001 @02:51PM (#2149751)

      It comes with Snood [snood.org], too...

      Or, at least it did, last time I watched someone install Snood. It's been a while. The concept was quite annoying, but at least there was some warning of the payload...

      It was a real pain, too -- we cancelled the install, it installed anyway. I had to go in and remove it manually with extreme prejudice... and it had bits scattered all over the place. It's sneaky, too -- you can easily get rid of the system tray icon and the 'password saving' function. But it seems that if you don't get all the bits, the adware / spyware is still there, working just fine, and looking just like an interstitial 'pop-over' ad! No hint whatsoever that you missed part of the damn thing.

      The problem is (from the perspective of a network admin in a permissive company), this kind of thing turns your users into agents of the enemy. Sure, I can block their servers at the firewall, but I'm not fond of whack-a-mole. The next time someone finds the next cool program, I have another one to find! (Aargh!)

      Marketdroids who pawn this crap off on other people should be charged with violation of the Computer Trespass laws. They're running unauthorized code on your nickel, claiming you consented when you clicked on another program's license. I hate 'em, they're worse than spammers!

    • I don't know if anyone else has noticed over the last few months, the ads that have been popping up on CNet. They're these annoying flash boxes that take up 3 quarters of the page width, that have been slapped into the middle of an article. I actually got asked to do a survey on them, and they actually asked me if I liked the ads. I did notice that whenever they asked me what I thought about the ad, they didn't provide room for a text answer, which I thought was kind of lame...

      To the point, I thought it was quite funny, that these "exciting" new ads that CNet has been showing to me on all of their pages recently was missing from the one article talking about advertising...

  • Sneaky bastards (Score:3, Informative)

    by 4n0nym0u53 C0w4rd ( 463592 ) on Tuesday August 07, 2001 @02:49PM (#2127242) Homepage
    I recently installed Snood [snood.com] and it came with Gator and OfferCompanion. Here's what sucked:

    • During the install process I was told that Snood came with the "coolest" new software, and that Gator would be automatically installed. No option to install without it (unlike Bearshare).
    • After installation, Gator didn't immediately start up, appear in the start menu, or appear in the "add/remove programs" menu. It waited about 5-10 minutes before popping up. This prevented me from immediately uninstalling this parasitic software.
    • After killing Gator, my firewall caught the "Onflow Player Installer" trying to access it's web site.
    • When I was finally able to uninstall Gator, it's uninstall program warned me that "Deleting your user information will erase all your passwords account numbers and login IDs." I can imagine a novice aborting the uninstall after a warning like that. It doesn't mention that it is only referring to the data that you gave Gator.
    • If this software was really useful, you'd think people would want to install it. Remember ThirdVoice, it was a tool that let users annotate web pages with their own content that was visible to other ThirdVoice users. It never acheived the market penetration it needed. There's a program that people could actually find useful, and it didn't make it. I can only imagine the sheer contempt for the user that these companies must have. To resort to such deceptive and misleading practices just to show some unwanted advertisements...
    I've said it before and I'll say it again: finding new surface area for advertisements is not a creative endeavor. These people are the biggest hacks in the world, and deserve to watch Rosie O'Donnell eat BBQ ribs without a napkin.
  • Marketers and advertising will ruin the internet just like it ruined TV. Television ratings are at an all time low and less people are watching TV. There are more commercials on now than there are actual programs.
  • by grammar fascist ( 239789 ) on Tuesday August 07, 2001 @02:41PM (#2128296) Homepage
    "It's one of the nuances of this medium; it's changing some of the parameters that we traditionally thought were sacrosanct," I-Traffic's Quinn said. "There's now this third party between you and a customer within the browser, and that's changed the rules. There's generally no third party between you and the TV. And a lot of people want to cry unfair."

    Well, DUH. If I'm surfing to a web site, I want the content on that site. That site wants me to see their content. If somebody butts into the middle, OF COURSE I will cry unfair. Then Mr. Quinn gets all amused by it: "Ha ha, isn't it amusing. But you have to put up with it because it's a New Medium!"

    The unfortunate thing is that most people don't have the technical know-how to get the tech-savvy third party to butt out.
  • just not getting it (Score:2, Interesting)

    by xerxes7 ( 266869 )
    i'll admit it's been awhile since i sat through my base level commercial design classes, but i could have sworn that among the chief aims of any advertising campaign are: 1) making consumers associate your comany with the service you provide; and 2) encouraging positive feelings about your company. so why are there so many annoying ad campaigns these days?

    when i think of companies i can get a webcam from, sure i think of x-10. but i also remember how much they got on my nerves with their damned pop-ups. and though i'm not really in the market for a computer these days, all track record aside i sure as hell don't care to encourage a company that puts that fucking fevvercorn commercial on all day and night. and 1-800-collect with their long run of bullshit most recently crowned by carrot top of all people...

    i guess negative association is association nonetheless these days.

  • Advirtising seems to be a fact of life now. Get used to it. This new strategy by Gator and others is just part of that. We should not fight against advirtising itself, just to keep that advirtising from adversly interfering with our lives.

    The big issue we (as consumers, businesses are another story) should have with this type of practice is it should be voluntary. As long as someone knows they are getting the gator competitor advertising service it is fine, even useful (reference the car buying service). It's when they secretly install the software and make it difficult to get rid of when we sic the slashdot trolls on them.

    DD
  • by sheetsda ( 230887 ) <doug.sheetsNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday August 07, 2001 @02:38PM (#2129659)
    ...is that when you uninstall it, it installs another program under a different name and icon that does the same thing gator does. It takes two uninstalls and reboots to remove it from your system, and how long will it take the average user to notice that unidentified icon among the 20 or so others. If you ask me, this self-replication and concealment is nothing more than a virus disguised as a "legitimate" program in a grey area of the law.
  • I run one at home.

    Never see banner ads. Never see popups. Never see pop-unders either.

    It does not matter what the advertisers do, because someone will find a way to eliminate the ads sooner rather than later.
  • This is obviously a flame, and I know I'm going to lose what meager karma points I have with this, but I'm going to say it anyways.

    You all know very well that there are reasons why you have to put up with this.

    All of these are technologies that you can turn off in your web browser, whatever the web browser may be.

    C'mon, even if you don't want to turn on Javascript, you can even *shock horror* get a different browser that doesn't implement this stuff, or wasn't considered when they did the popunders! Gosh darn!

    Frankly, as far as I'm concerened all of your having to put up with these ad issues is a direct result of your choices.

    I do have sympathy for those who don't know better. My grandmother doesn't even know what Javascript is; I can't talk to her about deactivating things like that. And because of those people I still don't think all that highly of companies that pull this crap.

    But, geez, people, we're all geeks here. You ought to know better. Right? Shouldn't you try dropping your bloat^H^H^H^H^Hmodern browser setup for once instead of bitching all the time and whining about how "this bothers me oh so much" and so on?

    (to moderators: My apologies. It's just that in one particular circle on IRC I'm the local Web Expert and I get a *ton* of back-of-hand-nailed-to-forehead whining about this stuff, and so I'm kind of a loose cannon on the subject. :) )

    • by Black Parrot ( 19622 ) on Tuesday August 07, 2001 @03:41PM (#2113811)
      > This is obviously a flame, and I know I'm going to lose what meager karma points I have with this, but I'm going to say it anyways.

      Those who would sacrifice their freedom of speech for karma deserve neither freedom of speech nor karma.

      To pare a phrase.

      • To pare a phrase.

        I once heard Julia Childs "pare a phrase." She was preparing a fruity dessert, and stated in all seriousness:

        (In your best Julia Childs voice...)

        "Now here I have a pair of pared pears..."
    • I'm glad I got out of windows when I did, I went to look at a printer problem on my mums computer, it had popups everywhere, it has a 17GB HDD - I'm not sure what is installed on it, ICQ has a ton of adverts, same as real player. It wasnt like that the last version of icq (99) and rp I used.

      I'm still worried because:

      1) People may mistake their "content" for my content, and email me enquiring, complaining, flameing or suing me for it.
      2) Whenever I use someone elses computer, I'm innudated by these adverts.

      And as for my south park eps - realplayer unix doesnt have adverts that I've encountered.
      • having said this, konq just crashed thanks to the hidden javascript popup things that pop up at (100000,100000) and I dont know how to close in enlightenment. bloody things mean I have to now take the default javascript off for every ite and enable it for the sites I regularly visit.

        Has anyone got a "clean" site list I can pumpp into konq? Howabout a "dirty" site list I can DROP at iptables?
  • Remember the fuss that was created when Ximian paid Google to show adverts for their software whenever anyone did a search for KDE? Of course they rapidly backed down when their scheme was exposed ("oops, it was an accident, honest guv, we fired the intern in question").

    In retrospect, it was one of the first examples I can recall of Gatoring, and like so many other things, we saw it first in the Linux world!

  • I [geocities.com] don't [m-w.com] see [1800contacts.com] how [howstuffworks.com] M$ [microsoft.com] could [amazon.com] make [gnu.org] things [pantos.org] worse [naggum.no] . [websters.com]
  • by Bonker ( 243350 ) on Tuesday August 07, 2001 @02:46PM (#2137191)
    Recently, I was setting up an internet connection for my father-in-law, who is decidedly of a non-technical bent. Linux is not an option for this man. Hell, Windows 98 was barely an option for him. Even then he has to ask questions like 'Is it okay to delete kernel32.dll?'

    At any rate, immediately after I fixed all the problems with his cheap-ass winmodem and got the whole mess to work to dial into one of the short-lived ad-based ISP's, the guy punches in URL to a website he read out of a magazine.
    The *first* thing to come up is a popup add for polarized sunglasses, as sponsored by the ISP . My father in law was *amazed* and called over his fifteen year-old son (Who thinks CB-Radio is high-tech) to see the wonderous display of marketing. Between the two, they had all but forgotten the original website they were trying to find, which was buried in a stack of software-controlled popups by this time. By the time I left that evening, both my father-in-law and my brother-in-law were pleading with my wife's mother for the number to her mastercard so that they could get some of the 'incredible bargains' that were there just because they had signed up with whatever ISP.

    "You're related to them, you know," I told my wife after we left.

    Her only response was, "Please don't remind me."
    • You're wrong. (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Linux is not an option for this man ... he has to ask questions like 'Is it okay to delete kernel32.dll?'

      You're wrong.

      Linux is the only option for this man. Set up the system with the apps he needs, and let him be.

      Show him how to log on (as a normal user), and how to start programs.

      Then when he asks "Is is OK to delete /vmlinuz?" Tell him "go ahead and try - the system will stop you if it's important."

      And then rejoice at the fact that you'll never have to go back there to remove Melissa, or ILoveYou, or SirCam.

      • What you said, twice. Don't even set it up so he has to log in. Get GDM, KDM, or XDM and configure them to automatically log in for him, and start his web browser. Never worry again.
      • Re:You're wrong. (Score:3, Informative)

        by Bonker ( 243350 )
        Sadly, the man bought his computer expressly for the purpose of playing games. I would be remiss in my duties to reccomend Linux as a gaming platform. That may change in the near future, but right now there is a very limited selection of games for Linux, and a zero "Off the shelf" selection.
  • by canning ( 228134 ) on Tuesday August 07, 2001 @02:30PM (#2138474) Homepage
    yesterday I was on my PC downloading MP3s and my PC printed out a roadmap, marked a store location on it and pushed me towards my car. It was unbelievable!

    • Yeah, but in a few weeks, your car will be programmed to drive you there (whatever happend to the Clarion CarPC? Anybody buy one?) Even better, with the GPS feature talking to the local gendarme, you won't even break the speed limit.

      • > > yesterday I was on my PC downloading MP3s and my PC printed out a roadmap, marked a store location on it and pushed me towards my car. It was unbelievable!
        >
        > Yeah, but in a few weeks, your car will be programmed to drive you there (whatever happend to the Clarion CarPC? Anybody buy one?) Even better, with the GPS feature talking to the local gendarme, you won't even break the speed limit.

        Feh! You're a couple of rank amateurs!

        My marketing director told me to work on a plug-in that won't bother mucking about with cars and GPS units to take you to the store, it brings the store to you!

        As he said -- "Why should the consumer have to deal with the complexities of having the choose whether or not to buy a product? Isn't it our job as marketers to simplify the choice process?"

        Our new version greatly simplifies the choice process. When you search for our competitor's product, for instance, our DLL doesn't just advertise our product, it doesn't just send you to our store, it saves you all this time and trouble by simply purchasing our product for you!!!

  • Would someone please take that !@*$@)#$* OCX, disable it, and give it a version number so high it'll never be "upgraded"? Thanks.
  • by sometwo ( 53041 ) on Tuesday August 07, 2001 @02:31PM (#2140635)
    Get adaware. [lavasoft.de] It'll get rid of that stuff. (the spyware and gatorware not windows)
    • So, what can I use to get rid of Windows?



      Rocks will rid your existence of those pesky Windows. Just heave our patented Window Uninstaller(tm) and you'll never have to deal with those Windows again.



      Kinda makes you think every copy of RedHat and Mandrake should come with a Windows Uninstaller(tm). That'd be a sweet marketing campaign.

      • ...they're called "partition tools". Not only do they destroy windows completely and utterly, but the very FAT32 filesystem itself. It's a thing ob beauty, man. A thing of beauty.

        I love the smell of Linux in the morning. It smells like...like...victory.

  • by rebelcool ( 247749 ) on Tuesday August 07, 2001 @02:24PM (#2140639)
    instead of ads just popping up you'll be redirected to a competitor's site?

    I'm all for keeping the net legislation free, but heres a place where only a law can help.

    • Circular references? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Rick the Red ( 307103 ) <Rick,The,Red&gmail,com> on Tuesday August 07, 2001 @03:03PM (#2109636) Journal
      What if going to the GM web page triggered one plug-in to open a window looking at the Ford web page, which triggered another plug-in to open a window looking at the Toyota web page, which triggered yet another plug-in to open a window looking at the GM web page, until all your RAM is consumed by dozens of self-opening web pages?

      I figure it's a matter of when, not if.

    • No time at all. I can't believe it hasn't been done already with a simple redirect tag.

      Actually, the redirect might be overkill.
    • Funnily enough, one famous instance of this was not only solved by technology, it was the spur to create that technology.

      Back in the days where all telephone exchanges were run by humans, there was this town with two undertakers. No doubt the telecommies will correct any errors of fact I may make, but the basic situation was that THE telephone operator in town was related to one of the undertakers, and any time a call came in for either of them, she directed the call to her relative. The other undertaker never got any of his calls.

      This situation caused the unlucky undertaker, name of Strowger, to invent the first fully automatic telephone exchange, known then and forever after as the Strowger switch. The bane of his existence was rendered redundant by technology, and he started getting his calls again. One wishes one were able to see the operator's face when she was told the unhappy news: "That guy you've been pimping all these years? He's just eliminated your job."
    • instead of ads just popping up you'll be redirected to a competitor's site?
      I'm all for keeping the net legislation free, but heres a place where only a law can help.


      This is exactly the problem with the US: Let's outlaw everything distasteful, right?

      THINK ABOUT THE CHILDREN!

      Well, the simple fact is people CHOSE to run this software. Therefore, they can CHOOSE to uninstall it! Gator can then CHOOSE to continue with this bullshit tactic, after which they will probably go out of business.

      It's called a FREE market, and no more laws are needed!

      Unless something is being taken by force -- a time where you have no choice in the matter -- then no laws are needed. We have too many laws.
      • Do you know anything about gator? Most people DONT choose to install it. It comes piggybacked with other programs. It is also extremely difficult to uninstall (for the non-technical anyways)

        Lord, the libertarian bent of geeks is so amazingly shortsighted. The reason laws (like this) need to exist is to maintain FAIRNESS in the marketplace. A FREE market is a *fair* one. Didnt you learn anything in economics?

  • Just Say No (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Autonomous Crowhard ( 205058 ) on Tuesday August 07, 2001 @02:33PM (#2141686)
    I have never experienced these problems. Why? I just say no.

    I just say no to:

    1. JavaScript
    2. Java
    3. Shockwave
    4. Flash
    5. ActiveX
    6. The Cutting Edge
    7. Planned Obsolesence

    I you didn't buy into all this crap that you don't need then people will not be able to take advantage of your machine.

    If enough people say no, then the web pages have to cater to the masses if they want the eyeballs.

    • Yeah, but waiting for Pong 2.0 to come out is really getting boring...are you still coming over to my house to play backgammon later?
    • I just say no to
      ...
      6. The Cutting Edge
      7. Planned Obsolesence


      You mean you buy things when they're already obsolete?
    • Re:Just Say No (Score:3, Interesting)

      by tswinzig ( 210999 )
      I just say no to:

      1. JavaScript
      2. Java
      3. Shockwave
      4. Flash
      5. ActiveX
      6. The Cutting Edge
      7. Planned Obsolesence


      8. Useful websites

      That's right, there ARE websites that use JavaScript/Java to make their sites more useful.

      The site I maintain at work uses JavaScript for good, not evil...
  • Ads as DoS (Score:3, Interesting)

    by boster ( 124383 ) on Tuesday August 07, 2001 @03:01PM (#2145802)
    I have to wonder at what point could you legally treat agressive advertising as a hostile net attack? I would think that if it's interfering with the normal operations of your machine you'd might have some grounds for legal recourse.

    Think adversiting DoS. Even if you actively agree to do something, if you are misled (they don't tell you what's going to happen, do they?) then that's fraud (in my book anyway).

  • Since it's been months since I last logged on to a windows machine, I am blissfully unafected. Go Gator!

    Another nail in the coffin for Microsoft. They've introduced so many horrible technologies under the pretext of providing extra value to the customer. As the saying goes: "what comes around, goes around". Or "as you sow, you reap", etc.

    Code red, sircam, gator, .NET, powerpoint, bsod. At some point the users, and the MIS departments will figure out the real cost of ownership for these wonderful features, technologies, and unintended (but anticipated) side effects, and real operating systems can once more rule the day. Maybe Microsoft will have no choice but slim down their office apps, and release them on BSD and Linux to make a buck.

    Maybe 15 years down the road, we can refer to the 90's as the dark middle age of computing.

  • When will ad companies realize that your not going to have alot of positive interest in the product when all you do is annoy the userbase? They really need to find a medium for advertising that doesnt involve irritating the customer.
    • Some friends and I were just talking about this last night - when was the last time that you used RealPlayer?

      That thing is annoying as all hell, it takes control of every filetype that it can by default, and it's almost impossible to make go away. And yet, they're still in business (the last time that I checked)...

      -Chris
      • by Tackhead ( 54550 ) on Tuesday August 07, 2001 @03:16PM (#2110347)
        > Some friends and I were just talking about this last night - when was the last time that you used RealPlayer?

        A while ago. But the only reason was because I did some testing and discovered that you can make the ancient RealPlayer 5.0 (that didn't have a lot of spam included in its user interface) work just fine with RealPlayer G2 and RealPlayer 8 streams, by simply fux0ring around with the DLLs in C:\Windoze\Program Files\Common or somewhere like that.

        Basically, you take a RP5 install, do a recursive DIR or ls over the filesystem.

        Then (on an expendable system, naturally, that you've replicated from your production box), you install the upgrades required to play files encoded with the newer RealMedia codecs, and do another DIR or ls.

        Then you diff the results and copy any new or modified DLLs onto your production system. Presto! RealPlayer 5 with "up-to-date" codecs.

        Of course, that doesn't prevent Real from including spyware/phone-home in the DLLs, nor does it prevent RealPlayer 5 from auto-nagging you every few months to upgrade.

        But it's a workable solution for all those old South Park episodes I acquired in 228K .RM files (a mixture of RealPlayer 5, G2, and RealPlayer 8 codecs) format before DiVX appeared.

        Which, come to think of it, is about the only use I have for RealPlayer, since I don't have cable.

    • When will ad companies realize that your not going to have alot of positive interest in the product when all you do is annoy the userbase?

      Firstly, most ads are designed simply to be memorable, whether the memory is positive or not. Irritation is one method for achieving this in a negative way. As annoyed as we all are at those wireless camera ads, we won't easily forget them, will we?

      Secondly, I'm old enough some of the original hype over e-business. In particular, it was supposed to make comparison shopping quick, easy, and more beneficial to the consumer, by automatically requesting the lowest competing prices from every supplier (and, potentially, having them bid against each other for your business). As long as these technologies are opt-in rather than opt-out (i.e., I have to actively choose to enable these competing ads), I don't see the problem. In fact the consumer may benefit in the end.

  • Fighting This (Score:5, Informative)

    by BlenderHead-2001 ( 512595 ) on Tuesday August 07, 2001 @02:29PM (#2153374) Homepage
    The article does mention Ad Aware [lavasoftusa.com] to get rid of this if you accidently let it get installed in the first place. In addition I use the Proxomitron [spywaresucks.org] to just get rid of those annoying pop-ups/unders/whatever completely. It's fully configurable and let's you create your own filters in a manner similar to Perl's regular expressions.
  • Is OSDN guilty too? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bgarcia ( 33222 ) on Tuesday August 07, 2001 @03:59PM (#2166462) Homepage Journal
    When I loaded slashdot, there was a banner add at the top asking me to fill out a survey and be entered for a chance to win $1000.

    So what the heck, I click on it. They're trying to gather some information to help with their advertising. No problem, that's what these surveys are usually for. I'm merrily filling out the survey, and everything's fine, until I hit this question:

    13. Which of the following actions have you taken as a result of visiting an OSDN site? (CHECK ALL THAT APPLY)
    • Clicked on an ad and visited an advertiser's Web site
    • Clicked on a link to a vendor site from an article
    • E-mailed for more information through the advertiser's e-mail address
    • Recommended OSDN network to a friend, relative, or business associate
    • Purchased a product or service reviewed by OSDN network
    • Purchased a product or service advertised on OSDN network
    • Other (please specify)
    Did you notice that second item?

    Now I'll be wondering if the articles themselves have been bought by advertisers...

  • When a pop-up ad for a Delta Airlines appears while you're surfing AmericanAirlines.com, is it clear to the user that
    a) the advertisement is coming from Gator, not from American Airlines, and
    b) the user can stop this type of ad from appearing by uninstalling Gator?

    Also,
    c) Can a user who has been using Gator for several years uninstall Gator without losing his/her passwords?
    d) If not, does typing this bookmarklet into the location bar at hotmail.com (after Gator fills in your password for you) show your password in a dialog?

    javascript:x = document.getElementsByTagName( 'input' ); y=false; for(i=0; i < x.length; ++i) { if (x[i].type == "password") { alert("Password: " + x[i].value); y = true; } } if (!y) { alert("Use this bookmarklet on a page with a pre-filled password field."); } void 0;

    Assuming the javascript URL works with Gator-filled passwords, a Gator user could place that bookmarklet on his/her personal toolbar, and then activate it on each site where Gator remembered the password by clicking the personal toolbar button.

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