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Adware Hitting Facebook, Google, etc.

2:04 pm on Dec 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Adware Hitting Facebook, Google, etc. [online.wsj.com]

A new generation of controversial advertising software is wreaking havoc on the ad businesses of Web giants including Facebook Inc., Google Inc. and Yahoo Inc., inserting a layer of ads on websites or covering up other paying ads.

The software comes in the form of applications that allow people to customize their Facebook profiles with, say, special borders of snowflakes or colorful designs or turbo-charge Web searches. But in downloading the software, computer users open up a door to ads that the big Internet companies complain are rogue.

What makes adware worse is the underhand way it is usually installed by the unwary.
6:42 pm on Dec 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

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So lets see:

Google, a company that suggests Adsense publishers "blend" the colors and appearance of ads with website content, and suggests publishers place "more ad units" and to strategically place the ads in spots in their heat-map (where users expect to find navigation and content), and the fact that in Google's own SERPs places paid advertising above [better / more relevant / unpaid] results -- and does so in a way that most non-technical users don't understand that those results are ads is complaining...

Facebook, a company that has zero respect for user privacy, builds profiles of users surreptitiously using "signals" from drive-by visits to other website from users who are still logged into FB, and does it all to market their advertising is complaining...

Yahoo, a company that bundles its Search Bar with every free 3rd party trial-ware, free-ware, lite-version software download it can (with a pre-checked "[x] Install Yahoo Search Toolbar" checkbox during the install that most non-techies miss) is complaining...

I get it.
10:11 pm on Dec 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

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After reading the article, this is really just a case of a company who has free apps, which are supported by ads. I agree, it sucks for us as webmasters, I don't like my ads covered either, but its not adware or dangerous malware... its value added content and layouts, supported by ads.

From the "PageRage" (one of their apps) website: (Bold by me)

PageRage is what's called a Layer App that works on the Yontoo Layers platform. It enables users to add content over their Facebook page that appears to have been added directly to the page. PageRage is 100% free to Facebook users and is ad-supported. Once PageRage is installed, users will see additional ads placed by the app while browsing Facebook. These additional ads are not the responsibility of Facebook. PageRage shows ads in order to give users free access to PageRage Facebook layouts. Users who do not wish to see ads can upgrade to PageRage Premium for an ad-free Facebook layouts experience.

Free service, supported by ads... who does that sound like? (hint: Google, facebook, Yahoo)

Pot meets Kettle...
3:30 am on Dec 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

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These sort of software has been going for some years. Personally, I don't think its right to be embeding adverts in this manner. Ive seen companies sell their hijacked ad space without telling their clients about their methods, infact without the salesperson even knowing about it either.
3:19 pm on Dec 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

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@Seb7 - if I were doing sales there, I would make sure the sales team *did* say exactly what they were doing. The company mentioned is merely providing a service to the consumer and taking advantage of the fact that the consumer - not Google, or Facebook, or Yahoo - own their computer screens and can do whatever they want with them.
4:49 pm on Dec 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

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So lets see:

Yea but there is more, near the end of the article:

A Google spokesman said "applications that are installed without clear disclosure, that are hard to remove and that modify users' experiences in unexpected ways are bad for users and the Web as a whole."

Maybe he can tell us about "clear disclosure" and "hard to remove" stuff when installing Chrome.

Microsoft said it is investigating the activities.

How about investigating these mysterious DRM plugins for FF first.