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Microsoft Gives MVP Award to Adware Pusher 120

An anonymous reader writes "Ed Bott reports that Microsoft has given an MVP (Most Valuable Professional Award) to an individual known for peddling Adware via his Messenger Plus program." From the article: "So how did a guy whose primary business involves installing adware become an MVP? That's what Christopher Boyd, a Microsoft Security MVP better known as Paperghost wants to know. Boyd isn't the only MVP who has a history with Patchou. Sandi Hardmeier, a current MVP in the Internet Explorer category who specializes in the fight against malware, has written three long, angry pages about the messy adware that 'sponsors' Patchou's product."
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Microsoft Gives MVP Award to Adware Pusher

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  • by Rosco P. Coltrane ( 209368 ) on Friday October 06, 2006 @07:01PM (#16343171)
    They recognize their kin.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Does windows count as adware?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Just like in Earth's ecosystem, there are parasites. Yes, we usually kill them when we find them, but sometimes they come in handy. For example, tape worms are great for weight loss. This guy helps keep anti-adware makers in business!
  • Relax everyone, he was given the Most Valuable 'Professional' Award and NOT the Most Valuable 'Person' Award since we all know adware scumbags are sub-human.

    • by Rosco P. Coltrane ( 209368 ) on Friday October 06, 2006 @07:15PM (#16343289)
      Relax everyone, he was given the Most Valuable 'Professional' Award and NOT the Most Valuable 'Person' Award since we all know adware scumbags are sub-human.

      I think you got it backward: it's the profession that's despised here, not the person. I'm sure the guy is really nice after work and doesn't force his family to watch popups selling penis enlarger. When he's at work on the other hand, i.e. as a professional, I would like very much to corner him in a blind alley at night with something heavy and blunt.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Shemmie ( 909181 )
        Have you used MSN Plus! / MSN Live Plus!? I ask, because I'm curious why someone who's spent a number of years writing high quality software for a large community and releasing his work for free, with the 'option' (read: you do NOT have to agree to install it) of a sponser program (read: adware) deserves to be beaten with something heavy and blunt?
        • by penix1 ( 722987 ) on Friday October 06, 2006 @09:41PM (#16344301) Homepage
          From TFA:

          Patchou said on 1 October 2004 that "if no one installs the sponsor with the new agreement window, I'll change it back, sorry".

          and also from TFA:

          Update: Heh...wouldn't you know it, but Microsoft's own scanner detects Patchou's program via Virustotal (click to enlarge).

          Nails, meet coffin. The Undertakers of Stupidity will be along to throw you in a ditch shortly.

          The guy is scum pure and simple.

          • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

            by Guspaz ( 556486 )
            Huh? I'm a user of MsgPlus. Every time I've ever installed it or an update, it has given me a CHOICE as to if I want to install the toolbar. There is an ENTIRE page of the installer dedicated to explaining what it is, and giving the option as to if you want to install it.

            The guy's been working full time on a free product, and STILL gives the option not to install it. I don't know about you, but I trust somebody like him a lot more than the people at Debian who want to rename Firefox because the icon is free
            • Wait, you go through an install reading the information it displays?? Wow thats a pretty stupid idea.....
              *Sarcasm Detector Explodes*

              This is a media flame story for sure. Hopefully people realize that this whole story is shit, for if they don't the media will destroy the internet, just like it did to TV.

              I Miss TV, it used to be good.
              • Yes, obviously you've never installed the software, because it forces you to choose before proceeding with the installation. It sounds to me like the author of the original article didn't do much research into the subject, rather like you said it's a media flame story. The author has been very responsive to issues concerning the installation of the sponsor program, and has gone to great lengths to ensure his sponsors are not malicious and that users must know that they are installing it to actually have i
                • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

                  by ThePengwin ( 934031 )
                  Here is some nice evidence [] A Photo of the 3.62 MSG Sponsor install screen. Notice the red box.
                  • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                    by Guspaz ( 556486 )
                    And notice also that in the text above it says "The sponsor is adware". It can't be clearer. It up and TELLS you it's adware in exactly those words, and gives the option to not install it.
        • Oh hey. Spyware apologists.

          Man. Seriously. Whats become of this place....

          I'm sorry, but I genuinely believe adware peddlers are crimnals. I really do. I've had to fix so many destroyed computers, seen careers ruined from data loss, and huge sums of money thrown away to these sorts of assholes, I can never sympathise.

          A little mysterious option hidden somewhere on page 5 of a installer doesnt cut it. Most people dont understand what this all means, but they understand there computer has become unusable. Peopl
          • by beuges ( 613130 ) on Saturday October 07, 2006 @04:30AM (#16346089)
            I think you dont understand the difference between adware and spyware. Adware is advertising-supported software. How does trying to support your software via ads make you an asshole?
            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by kirun ( 658684 )
              It is possible to do ad-supported software that isn't evil (e.g. the older versions of Opera), however, it's the 99% of adware that makes the other 1% look bad. With drive-by installs, popups that don't identify their origins, non-working uninstallers, theft of banner ad space from websites, rewriting of affiliate links, insertion of unauthorised sponsor links, uninstallation of competing ad engines, hijacking of homepage and search functions, self-restarting processes, etc. people can be forgiven for being
            • yes if the ads are an integrated part of your software and don't bother anything else thats fine by me. I may avoid using your software when i can find an ad free alternative or block it from reaching the internet to fetch its ads and i hope you'd agree that was fine too.

              however if something you install pops up a window of advertising when i'm not trying to use your app, runs in the background slowing down my machine, possiblly messes with the TCP/IP stack and generally making a pita of itself all the time
      • by iminplaya ( 723125 ) on Friday October 06, 2006 @10:34PM (#16344615) Journal
        I would like very much to corner him in a blind alley at night with something heavy and blunt.

        ...your enlarged penis?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Excuse me, are you idiot? Considering a spammer a good professional is what should be worrisome, what kind of bussiness ethics they have?
    • 'Professionals' have business ethics. This guy, apparently, doesn't.
  • ...the one that's saying screw you to everyone but the software publisher. The one that's now pushing activation on everything and reactivation every time you change hardware or cough too loudly. Microsoft's new DRM is king leadership is taking it straight down the toilet.
    • by tkrotchko ( 124118 ) * on Friday October 06, 2006 @10:57PM (#16344737) Homepage
      I've been involved with PC's since 1979 and I'll tell you there has never been a better time to switch since about 1984. Back then we had Macs and Amigas. Then for about the past 10 years, there hasn't been a good technical alternative to switch away from Microsoft.

      Today, the choices are more and better than at any time since the personal computers were invented. Vista is the final nail in the coffin for me. I'm switching to the Mac. I've had them for years, but in my opinion, Apple has finally gotten the recipe correct. Powerful, beautiful OS, Great software, well priced hardware etc etc. Heck, you can even get MS Office for the Mac. I've been using some of the new Linux distros, Ubunto, Suse... these are all great systems that have lots of software and are more than just toys for tinkerers.

      If people switch to Vista it's because we want to, and not because they have to. So for people complaining they have no choice, they're not being honest with themselves. The choices are there. If you put yourself into these handcuffs it's your own decision.

      I've reached my limit with MS.
      • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

        by syousef ( 465911 )
        I was screwed by Apple before I ever used a PC. Apple IIe. Overpriced. Salesman screwed my parents into thinking the IIe was better than the first Macs. Apple then pulled software distribution so I had to mail order or travel many kilometers as a kid to get software. I recently begrudgingly bought a couple of iPods because they were the best of a bad bunch of players. However don't fool yourself into thinking that Apple's going to treat you any better.
        • So you're holding a grudge against Apple for something that happened... what, 20 years ago? Seriously? All because a salesmen mislead you?

          Wow, if I held a 20-year grudge anytime a salesman told me something inaccurate, I wouldn't be able to buy anything.
          • by syousef ( 465911 )

            First of all my parents spent about a quarter of their earnings that year on that damn overpriced piece of shit. I was what 7 or 8 at the time. I can hold that grudge if I so choose. If more people held grudges for so long we might have companies that paid something more than lip service to the idea of serving their customer. When I get bent over I don't come back every 2-3 years and say please sir can I have some more.

            Second, Apple still works with a proprietary OS on a proprietary hardware platform a
            • "Apple still works with a proprietary OS on a proprietary hardware platform and use that to price gouge"

              That's what I thought too, until I priced a similar Dell. The dell was significantly more. The Mac Pro is the cheapest brand name dual cpu/dual core out there. It would be nice if Apple had something similar to the new iMac 20", but in a tower case, but they don't.
      • if people switch to Vista it's because we want to, and not because they have to.

        Uhh, not quite. I believe that most Vista licenses will go out via Microsoft tax on new OEM PCs, same as they cornered their market up to now. It's still very, very hard to find Intel based PCs with Linux pre-installed, or naked.

        Nevertheless Microsoft may face an upward battle when it comes to Vista and business. Hey, if I anyway need new machines for all my employees and software and (bloody extortionist) license agreements a

      • by witte ( 681163 )
        AFAIK intel+windows replaces the mainframe in business environments.
        Mac+BSD is the new consumer hawtness, while business lingers in old proven tech.
    • by syousef ( 465911 )
      OH for fuck sake people how is this off topic. I've just pointed out that MS seems to have had an agressive change in the way it does business that puts its customers last at least in some ways. A company that does that isn't going to care if it gave its MVP to someone that hurt customers. How hard a connection is that to make.

      Slashdot moderation has gone to the dogs.
  • by wwiiol_toofless ( 991717 ) on Friday October 06, 2006 @07:08PM (#16343231)
    I lolled. Euphemisms are fun! WGA is a "Consumer Protection Tool" weeee! A Trojan is now a "sheathed injection of digital harmony!" Yippe! Really this goes to show it's Us vs. Them. As long as MS knows 90% of their customers are blissfully unaware, they're going to reward these dorks.
    • by ClamIAm ( 926466 ) on Friday October 06, 2006 @08:52PM (#16344017)
      A Trojan is now a "sheathed injection of digital harmony!"

      Depending on what you mean by "Trojan" and "digital", you may be right on the spot.
    • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

      I find it ironic that the same group of people (though perhaps not you, wwiiol) talked about how great it was when Opera had the ad-supported version, since Opera would still get some income without people having to pay for it. When someone else tries to do that -- giving the option to not install the ads and still get full functionality -- they get lambasted for it.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by kirun ( 658684 )
        Opera, by all accounts, was a model of how to make an advertising-supported application. It offered the choice of generic banner ads or targetted text ads, a premium upgrade to remove the ads, and that's it. No popups, no hijacking, no sneakyness.

        According to the linked sites (I'm not about to install this to check), this product has generously offered such delights as , dropped links to adultfriendfinder on the desktop, run those fraudulent system update ads (you know, the ones that say their scan
    • don't forget: hackers (you know, clever programmers that don't work at MS) are today "cyber terrorists"...
  • Blame marketing (Score:4, Insightful)

    by growse ( 928427 ) on Friday October 06, 2006 @07:11PM (#16343257) Homepage
    It's probably because these 'awards' are dreamed up and given out by 'Marketing' folk who are too stuck up their own arse to waste time talking to technical experts to find out if what they're doing makes any sense.
  • by DECS ( 891519 ) on Friday October 06, 2006 @07:12PM (#16343263) Homepage Journal
    RoughlyDrafted Magazine described Three Reasons Why Microsoft Can't Ship [], and number three is "Windows' Adware Infatuation."

    A compairson of how Microsoft, Yahoo and Google are fighting to shove ads at users, and why adware strategies are eating away at Microsoft's ability to support and extend their desktop and remain competitive.

    "Microsoft's insatiable greed has resulted in a poorly designed software platform, rushed to market in order to kill emerging competition. Architectural flaws have resulted in a security crisis for users, which has resulted in an unsupportable mess for Microsoft. Rather than working pointedly to solve their flaws and the resulting platform crisis, Microsoft as a company has chased after adware revenue, and has exposed users to further grief by being part of the adware problem rather than its solution."

    • That article is such a troll! True or not.

      I don't know if I'm more offended by the knowing "Mac OS is Unix!" "Windows is doomed by legacy code!" thread of the article, or the iTunes ad along the side for the new Jars of Clay album, but still :p

  • by kc32 ( 879357 ) on Friday October 06, 2006 @07:14PM (#16343285)
    To be fair, Messenger Plus is a pretty cool program.

    Not to mention the adware IS optional when you install it.
  • It is quite useful, and I have used it in the past.

    Upon install, it ASKS YOU if you want the advertisements installed.

    You also have the option to purchase the program. Given how much arse it kicks, I think that this is a fair trade.

    The author has changed sponser programs numerous times in an attempt to find one who doesn't lie about their sponsorship program. You can all guess how well that has gone over.

    The irony of this all IS this though:

    Messenger Plus got started as a way to remove the banner ad from MSN Messenger.

    MS contacted him and asked him not to do that any more.

    It doesn't do that any more.

    It now ships with additional banners though.

    Thus making the entire program useless! :-p

    If you check out the Messenger Plus website, it gives a link to [] which does all what Messenger Plus used to do, but for free, and then some more as well.
    • The program is NOT useless. It has now acts as a platform for extra plugins to MSN Messenger also. It also provides better logs then microsoft does... Actually here: [] Have a look at that, it's not simply a adware program.
    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Upon install, it ASKS YOU if you want the advertisements installed.

      Not entirely [] true:

      When the sponsor software was bundled with Messenger Plus!, it caused a lot of controversy, many people complained that the option to install the software was purposely made to look like a standard EULA, and was designed to trick people into clicking it without understanding what they were doing. Since then, the agreement windows has changed substantially to ensure the user is fully aware they are installing extra adware

    • I can't use Messenger without it, because I'm used to its features.

      As you say, the sponsor software is ENTIRELLY OPTIONAL and I HAVE NEVER INSTALLED IT.

    • ARGH. Another website that bypasses my popup blocker.

      No seriously dude, linking to that site does NOT help the case here. That website has sealed it for me. There is no frigging way I'd install software from a site that seems to be all about innane popups and installing bogoware.

    • by NotBorg ( 829820 ) *
      To bad I can't opt out of the popups on
    • >*sigh* did anyone actually look at the program?

      Of course not. I had a little app not to long ago and some 'security minded' n00b called it adware withuot a lick of proof other than "i noticed some ads on my computer around the time I installed this." Crying spyware is the witch-burning. Its this laziness and lack of accountability that allows the real spyware people to get by.
  • by Sphonix ( 1010379 ) on Friday October 06, 2006 @07:18PM (#16343319)
    Patchou has done a lot of good for MSN messenger. I am guessing because most people in the US use AIM they would not really know about Plus. The adware is an OPTIONAL INSTALL and it very clearly shown as that on installation (the installer even defaults to not install it, so the user must choose to) and gives the option to uninstall it once installed. You do not need to install the "Sponser Program" to use Plus. Patchou's only means of income is the sponser program, and he spends a lot of time making plus a great program. I would recommend it to anyone using MSN Messenger or Messenger Live. My friend, Chestah, who is one of the few beta testers for Patchou thinks of him in a high light. He is not a scum bag looking to make large profits, mearly support the large amount of time he spends to create a FREE program for the public to benefit from. He has even had competitions to give away free prizes to his Beta testers and the general public (Chestah won 200 dollars for a google plugin). I am very glad that he has won this prize as he deserves it. It is great to see him get the recognition he deserves.
    • Astroturf? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by whoever57 ( 658626 )
      Comment above appears to be from a brand new user, who has only commented on this story. One might suspect that Sphonix is Patchou himself or someone closely related to Patchou.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by emilv ( 847905 )
        But he IS right. It's VERY clear what will be installed. I have used Messenger Plus since version one point something (I just switched to a MacBook and are not using MSN Messenger anymore, but before that I used to have the latest versions of both MSN Messenger and Messenger Plus). I have been following the discussions and controversy when Patchou begun the sponsor program and I have been following the changes in the installer.

        It doesn't look like an EULA anymore, and you have to specificially enable the sp
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by antek9 ( 305362 )
        If I look at the crusade this shill is on (my, dear Sphonix, enough already), you might be right on spot. One thing only: a most valuable professional wouldn't possibly consistently misspell sponsor, now, would he? ;)
        • Haha. My bad. I actually created the account just to comment on this. I have been around slashdot for a long time, just never felt the need to sign up.
      • Re:Astroturf? (Score:5, Informative)

        by BasilBrush ( 643681 ) on Saturday October 07, 2006 @05:04AM (#16346243)
        Mod parent up. There are several usernames spelling sponsor as "sponser", all are claiming the adware is fine and sparkly, and one of those accoutns was set up today. Microsoft MVP Adware Author = Shill.
      • by oddfox ( 685475 )

        Yeah because the dude couldn't possibly have created the account in an urge to respond to a topic that he could make a meaningful contribution to. If you're suspicious alright, but don't cry shill until you can say so with complete confidence.

        In any case, the guy is right about the program.

  • by arrenlex ( 994824 ) on Friday October 06, 2006 @07:26PM (#16343413)
    I've used Messenger Plus! for a very long time. The adware is clearly warned, you are given a very clear prompt whether to install or not install it, and it uninstalls cleanly, AFAIK. The guy has to get a return from his product, doesn't he? And Messnger Plus! itself, which I've been using since its early days, is a brilliant and very functional addition to MSN Messenger and I loathe using MSN without it. Sure, he might bundle Adware, but I don't think Microsoft gave him the award because of the adware, but because of the dedication and ingenuity he put forth in developing such a simple, powerful MSN addon back when Microsoft knew nothing about him, working from reverse-engineering the source and a general will to help make a good chat program better. I haven't been following MSN Plus! closely since I've moved to Linux, although it's still there in my Windows partition, but it is (or was the last time I checked) a great program with fantastic functionality, the adware portion of which is clearly marked and very easy to avoid installing, and the reasons for it as very understandable.
    • This is the tpye of level headedness we need. People are blindly reading the article which is clearly slanderous and believing every word said.
      • by Shemmie ( 909181 )
        This whole article's a joke. People going completely overboard over a program that (in many cases) they clearly have not used. As has been said repeatedly, the adware is completely optional. I've checked my system before now with hijackthis pre and post MSN Plus installation. If you say no, then you don't get the sponser programs. Do I like adware? No. Do I like sponser programs? No. But if it's my choice to install or not, then all is fine.

        It's not just a small passing mention in the installation, it's
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by sg_oneill ( 159032 )
        Which article? Theres alot of them out there, and they all appear to be saying the same thing.

        Also, whats with all these people defending it with similar bad spelling? Wierd.
    • I'm sorry, that's not good enough. Here's how I see it: if you are "forced" to bundle adware when you ship your software so you don't starve to death or whatnot, then don't fricken ship the software.

      It's really that simple. There's no excuse/justification for it.
    • by littlem ( 807099 )
      but because of the dedication and ingenuity he put forth in developing such a simple, powerful MSN addon back when Microsoft knew nothing about him, working from reverse-engineering the source...
      Sounds like Microshit should be suing him for breaching their precious EULA - surely it sets a very bad example to reward someone who does something as evil and underhand as try to look at the source code of a program?
  • "Ed Bott". I wonder if he has a sister, Ro.
  • Good business (Score:2, Interesting)

    Consider for a moment, that keeping the XP experience as crappy as possible, will only make Vista look that much better. Trashing obsolete products is good for business - good for microsoft. If XP becomes a heaping pile of garbage, users might be compelled to upgrade to the next future-heaping-pile-of-garbage sooner.

    Actually, this is probably the result of a stupid, but really hot, marketing intern making decisions.
    • I imagine Messenger Plus runs quite well on Vista.
      Adware probabaly not so much. Yet.

      As a side note, Microsoft Antispyware used to flag Messenger Plus because of this sponsor program. Not just the separate sponsor, but the files that were just for Plus. I'm not using either anymore, so I don't know if it still does.
  • by Rix ( 54095 ) on Friday October 06, 2006 @08:20PM (#16343819)
    Products, right? Well, they need people writing viruses and spyware :P
  • The History (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I know a lot of people are saying that this isn't so bad since Messenger Plus clearly explains what the adware does and asks you whether or not you want to install it. Please remember that this only happened after thousands of complaints were made-- the software once automatically installed a myriad of spyware with no way to disable or remove it, and took measures to prevent you from uninstalling the bundled advertising junk (specifically a variant of the malware called Lop, which created randomly named *.j
    • FUD. What you're referring to was that, previously, the adware was not as clearly labelled - it was simply a text screen in the installer with a yes default, the kind that you click through automatically. It NEVER disguised itself, it NEVER misrepresented itself, it NEVER installed anything without you accepting the prompt, and you could ways remove it. The problem was that a lot of people were clicking through the installer and so ended up with the Adware despite it being marked -- this happened to one of
  • I'm using it now (at least on Windows), because it allows me to open webpages from the Messenger, IN FIREFOX, rather than IE. That, combined with the fact that the rest of the program is pretty unintrusive if you install it semi-carefully, makes it very useful to me. Well, where "very useful" means "saves me some keystrokes and the annoyance of actually seeing IE at all."
  • First of all I am a long time user of the MSN plus program. I love it! It makes my MSN experience so much better.

    Now to those of you that instantly jump to the conclusion this program is bad, let it be known that the author does not install the sponsor program without your permission. In fact the dialog box you are presented with is very good about informing you there is another program that you have the OPTION to install to help the guy fund the software. If you click NO, that is the only time you see o
  • Since when is asking someone if they would like to install ad software during installation called peddling? This is legit. Slashdot supports itself in part by ads and they don't even ask me first. Peddling?
  • by baggins2001 ( 697667 ) on Friday October 06, 2006 @09:50PM (#16344365)
    Thanks to MS and it's continual promotion of faulty products, I'll never be out of a job.
    Keep up the good work Redmond.
    More money
    More money
    You've got to just give in and accept the fact that people want to pay more money for computers. The more money they pay the better they feel about the magic.
    If it just worked, it would scare them. They feel better knowing that every once in awhile a human must interact with the machine or it will fail. Or that the machine is so faulty that it will crash and become totally useless at times. This makes the muggles feel better. Otherwise they would really get scared knowing that the little beige box under their desk has been sitting there without complaint for 3-5 years, just doing their bidding. That would be bad, that would be unfair, that would be unreasonable. Nothing with that kind of intelligence would stand for it. It would talk with it's buddies on the internet and they would revolt and Sarah Connor wouldn't seem so silly.
    But thanks to MS and their vigilantly sly support of software which will make that magical thing stop every once in awhile, we humans remain in control.
    MS gets more money, I get more money, the computers don't take control of the planet. What's the problem? That's the problem with you people that put foil on your heads, you just can't see the big picture.
  • Ah yes, just like being a unpaid spokesman for avis rental cars....

    Notice how every time you run across one of their sites you feel the grey matter draining from
    your skull. Sort of like those kiddies you run across that tell you they are a great hacker
    because they can use sendkeys in vb to type the word hacker in notepad.

    So now we have two unpaid spokesman for avis rental cars crying about each other.
    • Yeah, I always thought the MVP program was kind of humorous. Find the biggest ass-kissers on the Usenet and give them "knight" them royal members of the Microsoft family. And then they'll sing the praises of whatever product they've decided to dedicate their lives to.
  • Maybe Microsoft is finally using their business model to promote some good.
  • Patchou's Messenger Plus, for those who don't know, is a simple program that hooks into MSN Messenger and puts in some features missing in the original, like away messages, sounds and such.

    Now: the program does not, repeat, NOT, push adware. You install it, the setup wizard gives you a clear choice between installing the sponsor program (adware) or not. You choose not to, it never gives you any grief again. And if you do install the sponsor program, it apparently removes very cleanly just by doing the usual
  • To view MVP site or the spammer's profile @ MVP, users are required to accept untrusted certificate. No reading for me.

One can't proceed from the informal to the formal by formal means.