View Full Version : Early clarification of scumware

09-06-2001, 10:21 AM
A mailing list I was recently reading started to blur the lines of what is and is not scumware. I don't know if I don't have the correct definition, or people were creating a Salem-style scumware-lynching. ;)

For instance, Gator and Ezulaware are clear-cut cases of scumware. Webmasters didn't request to have their web sites defaced.

But what about:
-Dash? (was around for a while; terminated a few months back)
-Netsetter / now MarketScore?

What doesn't make them scumware? I mean, with the current characteristics set in our mind, they would/could be. Both serve ads or add an offer-bar while visitors are at our sites. NetSetter doesn't exactly flat-out tell you that the software will also feature advertising (why most people try to figure out how to get rid of it).

I think we are all walking on a thin line. We have to decide early on and make clearer definitions of scumware before honest, open, and decent companies get dragged down in all of this.

09-06-2001, 01:13 PM

Instead of "Scumware", I prefer now the term "Predatory Advertising".

As to the definition of predatory advertising, I wish to mention what the Affiliate Union group (http://www.affiliateunion.com) has agreed upon:

"Predatory advertising is defined as any method
that creates or overlays links or banners on web
sites, spawns browser windows, or any method
invented to generate traffic from a web site
without that web site owner's expressed, written

I hope this helps.

All the best,


09-06-2001, 03:26 PM
What about the programs that add bars to MSIE that allows users to either:
-comparison shop (Dash did this)
-speed up internet access (Netsetter does this)
-search the web (Google does this)
-get contest offers (iWon does this)
-get paid to surf (many companies do this)

Those scenarios would all be labelled as supporters of "predatory advertising" and therefore be blacklisted and campaigned against by the webmaster community!? I assume most of you don't think many of the above would be theft/scumware, but there are incredible amounts of webmasters who do and are getting caught up in this gigantic and some-times panic-stricken movement.

AffiliateUnion's definition is too broad. Sure, said scenarios do not replace banners, links, or pop-ups on web sites themselves, but they do take away 1/16 to 1/8 of the screen with their own links, offers, and possibly banners. However, the users decided to download the Google Bar or Dash Bar... or then received it as a tag-along download to other software and decided to enable it on their systems (checkbox-style). Is this a valid point for distinguishing predatory adveritising?

Any genius Geek/Talk members have some more insight?

09-07-2001, 08:37 AM
At ReveNews, we've started using the phrase "ad overlaying technologies" instead of predatory advertising or scumware, in great part because it helps define itself -- the technologies we're most worried about are those that overlay ads on top of someone else's copyrighted material without permission. That means Gator, Ezula, Surf+, etc. are ... and Dash (and, hell, Dell branded browsers that ship with PCs and the like) aren't.

If it happens inside "the document space" of an application, then we're dealing with ad overlay technologies. If it's happening in the toolbar of the webbrowser, or in a separate window, etc. it might be distasteful, but it doesn't violate the integrity of the copyrighted content.

Just my two cents.


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