FTC Disclosure

Life is complicated enough without getting into hotwater with federal agencies so: TAKE NOTE Many things I review I got at no charge in exchange for an honest review. Consider this as informing you that ALL things I review may have been gotten at no charge. Realistically about 60% but in order to keep things above board just assume that I got the stuff free. Words like, “sponsored,” “promotion,” “paid ad” or even just “ad” are clear ways to disclose that you’re being paid to share information and links so BE AWARE that some of what I write can be described as an AD by the government. BTW I will NEVER say a product is great, super or even acceptable if it isn't whether I got it free or NOT!

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Saturday, August 29, 2009

Free Software, Maybe, Maybe Not So Free

There is an interesting thing about some of the free software being offered at Cnet and Zdnet. It’s not so free anymore. You don’t have to pay a fee but even at these “reputable” sites you may not be getting a fee but you are getting the shaft. ZDNet’s Download Digest and cnet both recommend Glary Registry Repair 3.1.0.800. I read the description and thought it was worth testing. I downloaded it smoothly from ZDNet, I tried downloading it from cnet and it dragged and dragged and I finally stopped the download. Don’t know what was wrong with cnet. I went to install it and it brings up the ubiquitous license screen. If you aren’t careful and if you don’t read the screen carefully, you not only get Glary installed, you get the Ask toolbar, Ask is set as your default search screen and other crap is loaded as well. I canceled installation and deleted the software from my system. Free or Freeware is not an appropriate term if they are going to be reaping financial benefits by sneaking adware (whether Ask likes that or not, if they are sneaking their code onto your machine it is adware, crapware or whatever despicable terminology you want to use.) on to your system.

With the registry cleaning thought in my mind I went into my downloaded utilities and opened Wise Registry Cleaner 3.20 and installed it. It gave me the opportunity to upgrade and I selected upgrade. Low and behold, they had the same sneaky, snarky screen as Glary. You can’t download the upgrade without agreeing to the license terms and if you get the license terms you get all the Ask crap. Obviously I declined the upgrade. I ran Wise Registry Cleaner 3.20 and it worked just fine without any upgrades.

I may be jumping to conclusions but is there an insidious little trend here? Advertise it as Free or Freeware but than insinuate your crapware onto the systems of those unwary enough to gloss over the license screen. Someone at Ask has determined this is a way to get market share, ethics be damned, let’s get market share. Even Google doesn’t prevent your from doing a download if you UN-Check the box that wants to make it’s toolbar, search engine and toilet flusher the default for your system. Ask.com is demonstrating that they can get more unethical than the next guy by sneaking their software onto systems. It may even be a good search engine but I will never know because I DEPLORE their Machiavellian marketing strategy. However it can’t be too good because if it was truly a good search engine people would want to use it and not be suckered into using it. I use the Google search engine, not because I was suckered into inadvertently setting it as my default but because I CHOSE it as my default. Perhaps ASK ought to improve their search engine and maybe they wouldn’t have to sneak it on to people’s systems.

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