PC Pitstop Threatened by Spyware Companies

As the companies that use deceptive software installations rack up bigger and bigger profits, their tactics are evolving to further increase their profits and ensure their long term existence. Although we had already been sued by Gator, we were a little surprised when, when we received two emails like the one below last month.

It has come to my attention that you’re listing XXXX as your no. X spyware?!?!? I must inform you that XXXX is infact NOT spyware by any means. It is a search toolbar platform that we use to publish several fun products, including the very popular XXXXX.

It needs to come off your list of Spyware. Whatever your source is for this information is completely inaccurate. There is a lot of bad information out there regarding our products, so I can understand how this made it to your list. However, that said, we respectfully request that you cease to include it on your spyware listing.

If you have questions or would like to discuss it, please give me a call or email me.

Many thanks,
XXXXXX, Director, Internet Security and Privacy XXXXXX

Companies such as these make their money by installing on as many computers as possible. The more PCs that have their software, the more ads they serve or searches they “redirect.” Ka-ching! But there’s another side of this equation. Anti-spyware companies and advocacy groups are warning people about the intentions of this class of software. If they can get us to cease or slow down our activities, that’s more money in the bank. Ka-ching! Some of the biggest names in the business, such as Microsoft, Lavasoft, and Pest Patrol, have delisted products, leaving users in the dark about them. Even though these products are often installed without the user being adequately informed about what they will do or how to get rid of them, they may not meet the “adware” or “spyware” criteria these companies use. They must be laughing all the way to the bank.

I was amazed these companies now have director level positions to focus on companies such as ourselves to delist their products. They must be making quite a bit of money to have a director send us emails. I would have thought a clerk would have sufficed. It just goes to show how much money is at stake, and how much they are making.

But what I found the most interesting is the lack of regard for you, the user. If one of our users sends us honest and sincere feedback, we react seriously. We want our information to be accurate, complete and honest, because we want our users to appreciate and trust our advice. But in the letter above, they are not acting on behalf of their users. The reality is that our purposes conflict. Our advice is helping our mutual users, and hurting their financial performance. That’s the motivation behind the letter.

So here is our official response.

Dear XXXXX,
PC Pitstop exists to serve its users. We believe the more accurately and honestly we give our recommendations, the more satisfied and more likely our users will heed our advice. If they have a solid and worthwhile experience at our web site, they will be more likely to tell a friend or loved one to visit our site as well. We want our users to trust us.

Our assessment is based on our mutual users experience with your product and their feedback. Many users feel deceived or manipulated by your products and marketing techniques; one polite, well-written email cannot undo that fact. A better question to ask yourself is why our mutual users trust us more than they trust you?

Sincerely,
PC Pitstop

Overall this is not a good sign. These companies are winning. If you analyze the amount of money that a virus writer makes, and compare that to the amount of money the anti virus companies such as Mcafee, Computer Associates, and Symantec make, the anti-virus companies win hands down. But if you compare the money these companies earn, versus the anti spyware companies? The war is all but lost. To bring the point home, can you imagine a virus writer suing Symantec for unfairly listing their software as a virus?

Enough Said.
Rob

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