Late April Cnet announced that adware downloads will no longer be available from Download.com, the most important download site on the web. There is also a blog posting on download.com's blog [blogs.download.com] where the download.com blogger calls Ask Jeeves a player in the adware market.
It was pointed out to me recently that search company Ask Jeeves is a fairly big player in the adware market. My opinion of Ask Jeeves, never particularly high, has suffered a great deal due to this revelation, old news though it is. I'm generally amazed at how much financial backing adware companies get.
AJ was in Danny Sullivan's blog vigorously denying that their software isn't adware. That's despite the fact that if you went to Download.com to download their Smiley Central application there used to be a host of negative reviews of system hijackings and other phenomena. Their denial is also curious in light of all the anti-adware websites that rank in Google for the term, "Smiley Central."
So, Jeeves, are you putting us on?
Did something change in the application?
If Ask Jeeves doesn't offer adware to the public, why isn't Smiley Central available from Download.com?
I don't tend to call AJ "adware." AJ software primarily promotes AJ's web site / search engine. In contrast, "adware" often monitors every web site users visit, and shows pop-up ads accordingly.
Yet AJ does share some objectionable characteristics of adware/spyware. In particular, as mentioned in the pages linked in the prior post, AJ software sometimes gets installed with no notice or consent at all. And AJ software sometimes gets installed with poor disclosures that resort to euphemisms, not frank and fair statements of what the programs will really do. Even if that's not "adware," it's nothing to be proud of, and Spitzer's Intermix suit seems to indicate that his office considers these kinds of practices to be legally actionable (i.e. illegal).