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The Windows Update page is offering the Internet Explorer 6 Service Pack 1 as a crucial download with the usual rhetoric about fulfilling a great user experience on the web.
After installing this, I ran Ad-aware 5.83 (the newest version w/ the newest spyware definitions) to find out the Alexa extensions were now present in my machine. I have never (knowingly) downloaded anything from Alexa (until now.) I then ran RegCleaner and found it in the registry.
I removed all Alexa files and, so far, do not notice any problems with IE.
As with everything else, I'm sure there are many opinions of the, now common, practice of including hidden software without informing the user. I myself consider this a sneaky, unethical invasion of my privacy, and potential threat to my property. When did I give permission? I read the installation disclosures and did not see the name Alexa.
It seems to me that basic human rights are seriously being compromised at increasing frequency on the internet. As business technology evolves, considerations once thought of as standard ethics are fast degrading.
I know, I shouldn't be playing around with something I don't have time to learn but I figured you guys will tell me straight away if I should just leave thing alone until I have the time. Thanks.
It is advised that you back-up all registry entries prior to any change. You can do this manually with Windows folder tools or inside the RegCleaner or RegEdit software there is a preference to create back-up files.
[edited by: nancyb at 5:49 pm (utc) on Sep. 16, 2002]
I am glad that you folks reported and confirmed this, including spyware is just too much on top of all the security concerns. The warning is appreciated.
Now I must go and investigate the Linux and Macintosh forums here at WebmasterWorld. :)
I suspect that's because so many people here understand, and have got used to, the nature of M$ and their complete lack of any decency or integrity.
Equally, too many people outside are totally ignorant of this.
Frankly, I wouldn't spit on them if they were on fire.
I have found that recommending specific threads here at WebmasterWorld to the more tech savvy can be very pursuasive. Sometimes reading intelligent comments by real knowledgeable people can be more effective than just a magazine article.
Just think for a moment, you want a targeted audience to visit your sites, right? Why would you want someone looking for snowshoes on your site that sells widgets?
Alexa is nothing more than a marketing service, they are not spies.
Better be carefull of what you watch on cable, don't think they don't know what shows you like!
P.S. I do not condone the way Alexa was included with IE, but they are harmless.
<added>Hey, I'm a full member now!
If you don't like Alexa, I sure hope you don't use the Google Tool Bar! They are the same program</added>
At least, the Google bar is a voluntary install, not a lie.
I see most Windows users, especially advanced professionals, got a really thick skin from reapeted M$ abuse on them.
Fortunatly, advanced professionals won't end up as Foie Gras. The rest will be forced fed whathever M$ shoves down their throat and Que sera, sera.
What a shame.
I ended up dumping the whole Service Pack 1 / IE6 installation and just getting another copy of IE6, this time doing a custom installation of just the bare-bones (yeah right) browser. Same thing: ran Ad-aware and there was Alexa again. Couldn't find any added registry keys for it this time however.
And for those who feel there's no big deal with all this, you are definitely entitled to feel any way you want, however this is my machine and I do not give permission for M$ to intrusively add their marketing aliances to my set-up under the guise of "fulfilling a rich internet experience." The term "rich" of course refers to M$ and why they need to resort to this unethical tactic to sustain it.
This is a harmless extension, and in fact, it is nowhere to be found in my current IE6 SP1 setup - you should manually activate it by customizing your toolbar. I might have removed that button in the past, but the new service pack didn't put it on the toolbar either.
apparently, you can fiddle with it so that it uses Google to find related links, instead of Alexa... it also explains why Alexa keys are placed in the registry...