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Yahoo Search Engine and Directory Forum

Yahoo Releases Spyware Detection Tool
Internet search engine launches test program aimed at removing programs tha
wifi on the fly

 4:38 pm on May 27, 2004 (gmt 0)


I couldn't find a post for this, although I am sure it is here.



 5:23 pm on May 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

Here is the link to download the new version:



 5:25 pm on May 27, 2004 (gmt 0)


I'm glad to see that the Portals are beginning to move on this issue. It won't be long before all the toolbar systems have something similar available.

I think it is good to give the consumer the ability to remove programs that they don't want. If they like having spyware on their computer, they can keep it, but if they don't want it...goodbye.

I'd hate to have my business model based on consumers having my downloaded application on their computer.


 11:31 pm on May 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

Hype or reality? Yahoo has had a poor track record with preserving privacy. Even today their privacy statement is rife with holes. See [privacy.yahoo.com...]

In addition to collecting, "...name, email address, birth date, gender, zip code, occupation, industry, and personal interests [and for] some financial products and services...your address, Social Security number...information about your transactions with us and with some of our business partners...your IP address, Yahoo! cookie information, and the page you request"

They state:

Yahoo! uses information for the following general purposes: to customize the advertising and content you see, fulfill your requests for products and services, improve our services, contact you, conduct research, and provide anonymous reporting for internal and external clients.

Given all that, what's with the anti spyware stuff.

Hype or reality?


wifi on the fly

 11:44 pm on May 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

Oh its all hype I am sure. Of course they are going to collect info. They are just protecting "us" from others trying to spy on us :)

If Windows users would just switch OS's, they wouldn't have to worry about spyware.


 5:55 pm on Jun 3, 2004 (gmt 0)



 6:26 pm on Jun 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

A Ziffdavies newsletter has something interesting about this topic, and it's not all positive.

Yahoo Cozies Up with Spyware Scum

If you've downloaded Yahoo's new toolbar, you've probably stopped worrying about rogue programs spying on your every behavior. That's because the program promises to fight spyware, along with pop-ups and other web woes. But your relief would be chimerical at best. That's because Yahoo's toolbar won't block a particularly virulent form of spyware. Why? Our story has the details, including a tantalizing look at the backroom hanky-panky we've uncovered.

Yahoo Spyware Blocker Doesn't:


 6:51 pm on Jun 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

mm.. If Gator isn't spyware, i dont know what is.


 1:17 am on Jun 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

In a test of PestPatrol's free, online scanning tool, eWEEK.com confirmed that it does detect the presence of Claria's GAIN software automatically.

To Edelman, Yahoo's decision not to include adware by default in its Anti-Spy beta is a mistake.

Yahoo is caught trying to pull a fast one
The product is PestPatrol, a software that blocks Claria by default. In the Yahoo implementation, Yahoo chose to reverse it so that Overture could still deliver stealth results through the SearchScout product. SearchScout delivers a pop-up with alternate results whenever a user visits a search engine.

Did Yahoo think people wouldn't notice? Moves like these don't inspire feelings of trust. :(


 1:25 am on Jun 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

Alika, respectfully, I think you’re stretching the truth by insinuating “back room hanky panky.” Our Anti-Spyware toolbar is designed with our customers’ best interests in mind. Some people are okay with adware because it gives them added functionality, while others are not. The decision resides with the user, and we think that’s the right approach. I would encourage folks to gather all the facts before hyping stuff like this.

Two sources I suggest, include Larry Seltzer’s eWeek piece (http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1759,1606431,00.asp), and for those looking for additional clarification on adware vs. spyware, please check out our Security Center (http://security.yahoo.com/spyware.html).


 1:35 am on Jun 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

Try this link [story.news.yahoo.com] instead.

That's where I pulled my quote from. Yahoo_Mike, you still haven't addressed the fact that PestPatrol cleans out Claria by default but not in Yahoo's implementation of the software.


 2:00 am on Jun 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

If Yahoo is smart, they will get out in front of this, before it blows up. This issue looks bad, and it will be discussed in forums like this, by webmasters all over the net. They have the opportunity to look like the good guy with an Adware/Spyware blocker, but if they appear to have their tool set to help one of the biggest offenders, they will look even worse.


 2:08 am on Jun 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

...but if they appear to have their tool set to help one of the biggest offenders...

SearchScout is an application that generates a pop-up with paid search results whenever you visit a search engine.

Yahoo_Mike, two questions:

  • Does Yahoo really need to push Overture ads through something like SearchScout?
  • Will Yahoo continue pushing a crippled version of PestPatrol onto the public?


 2:59 am on Jun 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

Some people are okay with adware because it gives them added functionality, while others are not.

It's NOT the question of providing functionality. It's the issue of installing software without the user's explicit approval.

mb, I read that article too. You are right on nail!


 4:47 am on Jun 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

I guess Yahoo ought to penalize Ziff Davis under one of there content guidelines. Or is covered under rule 6 or 17. Never mind, we'll make up a new rule and penalize them. Things you shouldn't reveal about us if you plan to be indexed by our search engine. I believe that should cover it.


 4:48 am on Jun 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

"The decision resides with the user, and we think that’s the right approach."

Myself, I think that all depends on whether searchscout has a clearly labelled and complete uninstall feature. Then if the users keep it you might say they enjoy being served somebodys ads when using the free internet. If it hides .dll's and reloads after being deleted manually... to me anyway, it would cross the line from adware to another classification altogether. I hope none of my overture ads are being served by these popunders. I am going to look into it and will kill the overture account tomorrow if so and if it can't be opted out of. I would *never* buy from one of these advertisers and I think the sentiment is quickly spreading as the malware gets more sophisticated and invasive.


 2:02 pm on Jun 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

Yahoo_Mike, you're absolutely right--the choice should be with the user.

So how many users do you think actually made the *choice* to install a Claria product, versus having it thrust upon them with a drive-by download or bundled app that they didn't realize included Claria? Our research (PC Pitstop) shows that about three-quarters of Claria "users" don't even know they have it installed. They didn't get the opportunity to make a choice.

Yahoo's support of Claria is bad for Yahoo's partners. If I was a merchant at Yahoo Shopping I would be livid, because it's very likely that Claria's pop-under ads are stealing my customers away. And Yahoo is financing that theft by supporting Claria.

The "adware" distinction was something that Yahoo added in its version of Pest Patrol technology; although Yahoo's PR person tried to imply it was a choice that Pest Patrol made that's not true. Even if the product detected adware by default, as I believe it should, the user still gets to make that all-holy choice by determining which items on the list should be removed. By taking adware out of play, Yahoo is restricting user choice, not enhancing it.


 2:12 pm on Jun 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

There is no question what people think of Gator/Claria. Anyone that doesn't understand what the perception is of that company has had their head under a rock for the last few years. Yahoo is at serious risk of having themselves tainted by association. I cannot understand why they wouldn't want to push away from that relationship as fast as possible. It will be interesting to watch what happens on this over the next few months.


 2:17 pm on Jun 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

Some people are okay with adware because it gives them added functionality,

Are you kidding me?!

Yahoo! definately does NOT care about the integrity of the WWW. What a shame! With their influence and size, they really could make things better too.


 8:13 pm on Jun 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

We appreciate all the feedback here and I just wanted to clarify some points in my previous posts that may have caused some confusion. The product is in beta to exactly identify the issues mentioned here, and I just want to reiterate that we believe that any software installed without a user's consent (and removable if the user no longer wants the functionality) is not acceptable -- which is why we are building this tool in the first place. At the same time, we _are_ concerned that there are a variant of software programs that have been purposely and knowingly installed by users (e.g., kazaa, divx, etc) that are ad supported, commonly called adware, and would cease to work properly if the user disabled the adware function.

In the future, we are planning to automatically detect these kinds of dependencies (unfortunately there are a lot of different ones) to enable users to better make these tradeoffs, but in the meantime, please submit any suggestions you might have to [add.yahoo.com...]

Use a space after a link Mike. The period broke it! :)

[edited by: DaveAtIFG at 10:07 pm (utc) on June 4, 2004]
[edit reason] Fixed link [/edit]


 4:46 am on Jun 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

With all due respect Yahoo_Mike, Yahoo has a terrible record in the area of protecting its users privacy and choice. I have already quoted snippets from Y's own policies. I also remember a year or two ago when Y reset all the opt-out options on the user's profiles back to opt-in, without warning and without notification.

Yahoo, and its related services, are sites I use with caution and only as needed. As the truth comes out about the "spyware detection" features now offered by Y, it only reinforces the distasteful reputation that the company has earned in my mind over the past couple of years.

It is all tied to monetization. Nothing wrong with that in itself, but it has been taken to an extreme that serious limits Y's functionality for me.



 5:13 am on Jun 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

I will give you this...the product is still in Beta.

There is one question to ask when you come out of Beta:

Does the product prevent ALL major adware?

(and extremely important...

If there are any Yahoo partners that you are in some way protecting, then the product is doomed from the start...

You must decide who's more important: the user or your partners)


 2:15 am on Jun 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

If doing right by visitors and business partners isn't enough incentive for Yahoo, stopping the hijacking of their own pages should be. Have you ever installed Claria software and then visited a site like Yahoo Shopping? I did:
Yahoo has made Claria profitable, and as payback Claria is yanking visitors off Yahoo sites? Some of the top advertisers on Overture and GAIN are also on Yahoo Shopping. At best they are letting Claria take money out of one pocket, skim off a commission, and put it back into another pocket. Maybe Claria should put a "Kick Me" sign on Yahoo's back too... :)


 2:48 am on Jun 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

With all due respect Yahoo_Mike, Yahoo has a terrible record in the area of protecting its users privacy and choice.

Yes. Last year the Attorney General of New York investigated Yahoo [webmasterworld.com] for violating the privacy of their users through deceptive practices. Yahoo came to the table and agreed to settle the issue and pay $75,000 to cover the cost of the investigation.

The disturbing thing about that episode is that it took the actions of the United States' most high profile attorney general to scare Yahoo into doing right.

Google, on the other hand, weighs their business propositions in tandem with the ethical implications. They actually debate whether a particular move would be good for it's users. Google inspires confidence and trust. Google gets it when it comes to creating a brand that people will trust.

It would be nice to see Yahoo take the high road for once in terms of the ethical implications of their business decisions, instead of foisting a crippled spyware product onto it's users.


 3:06 am on Jun 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

Dont we all have low expectations now concerning Yahoo. They are not Google and have consisently placed monetization before the interest's of their users for quite some time.


 8:09 pm on Jun 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

"product is in beta to exactly identify the issues mentioned here"

translated to reality-speak:

"to see if we could get away with it"


 8:44 pm on Jun 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

>>Does the product prevent ALL major adware?

No, nor does it keep it from re-installing and multiplying. Even with Spybot & Adaware - all 3. But this one has been the handiest, ran far faster and caught things the others didn't.

Last time I looked it was out of Beta and no longer available. Other things aside, I'm still glad Yahoo came out with something because at least to some degree it raises public consciousness and makes some sort of a statement. Even if it's nothing more than a PR move, it still might help.

Claria is most CERTAINLY downloaded to people's machines with no consent given whatsoever. And it comes back repeatedly.

There's an anti-spyware bill that just came out of sub-committee, next step is committee then the House floor, with something corresponding in the Senate. Ultimately the responsibilities for these things will land on someone's doorstep. The two-fold problem so far is that the FTC hasn't had the legs they need to walk into the situation, and there's been a lack of accountability established.

Ain't NO WAY Bill Gates is gonna take the rap for this one.


 4:32 pm on Jul 29, 2004 (gmt 0)

Looks like Yahoo has a new Anti-spywarz beta up: [beta.toolbar.yahoo.com....] It killed gator right off the bat. So much for any lingering concerns about not finding adware - sounds like they are listening.

martinibuster - no offense but Google is selling out but proclaiming to be better than everyone else. Check out yhis article titled: "Google values its own privacy. How does it value yours?" [theregister.co.uk...] This really opened my eyes.

and quotes FROM GOOGLE executives:

"Larry Page wouldn't say whether Google planned to link Gmail users to their Web search queries. 'It might be really useful for us to know that information" to make search results better, he said. 'I'd hate to rule anything like that out,'" reported the Los Angeles Times.

'I keep asking for a product called Serendipity,' said Eric Schmidt recently. USA Today reported that "this product would have access to everything ever written or recorded, know everything the user ever worked on and saved to his or her personal hard drive, and know a whole lot about the user's tastes, friends and predilections."

Four days later, with Larry wisely hidden out of harm's way under the stairs, Google VP of Engineering Wayne Rosing faced the fire. "Rosing said there will be an information firewall separating Google's search engine from Gmail," AP reported on April 6. "'We don't use the data collected on one service, ' he said, 'to enhance another,'". Two days later in the New York Times Rosing was less emphatic: "We have no immediate plans to do so in the future," he said.

This quote says it best:

"It's ironic," writes one reader, "for a company that says Do No Evil - they don't know the definition." After Gmail, what price Serendipity? ®

All this from executives at the company itself.

I too feel very sad that a company i once felt really good about is losing the users (my) trust, selling out, losing focus and becoming quite hypocritical.

Although i didn't feel this way before, i'm looking at the facts/actions as well as listening to the words.

- E.

What left is there to believe in?

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