Adware - Are
By S. Housley
Adware, Should I be Afraid?
Developers offering downloads are paying the price for
the malformed truths that have been put forth regarding
downloads. While not a political campaign the smears are
ever present in the adware arena.
Years ago developers
saw they could monetize freeware that was becoming
expensive to host. Developers began working with Ad
Networks such as the former Aureate and Conducent, who
imbedded advertisements in the software. The software in
many cases phoned home retrieving ads. In other cases
adverts were imbedded directly into the download only
being removed when the software was registered. Many
well known software companies, including Netscape
distributed ad supported versions, which allowed users
to use the software for free. Developers were
compensated either by install or the number of ads
served. Advertisers welcomed new revenue streams to
reach potential customers.
Adware or advertising-supported software is any software
application in which advertisements are displayed while
the program is running. These applications include
additional code that displays the ads in pop-up windows
or through a bar that appears on a computer screen.
Adware helps recover program development costs, and
helps to hold down the price of making the application
for the user, often making it free of charge. As a
result of the AdWare revenue programmers were motivated
to write maintain, and upgrade valuable ad-enabled
software. Adware was a great consumer trade off, so were
did it all go wrong?
Unbeknownst to the developers a handful of ad serving
companies were logging and profiling the surfing habits
of those who had downloaded the ad-enabled software.
After downloading free software, the new adware
companies delivered pop-up and pop-under ads based on
the consumers surfing interests. Adware has been
criticized for including code that tracks a user's
surfing habits, email address and personal information,
which are passed to third parties, without the user's
authorization or knowledge. This was the downfall of the
ad serving technology and ad-enabled software.
In many cases consumers rightfully believe they have
been and are being spied on, which prompted an outcry
from privacy advocates. Adware is not a virus and may
not be detected by anti-virus scanning programs. It does
not spread the same way as most viruses spread. Many
users do not know they are downloading a free program
along with adware onto their computer. The lack of
disclosure tarnished reputations of many well known, but
misfortunate developers and software companies. The
collapse of a number of venture backed ad-serving
companies including Aureate and Conducent.
Fast forward to today. Few applications are now ad
enabled. Those that are generally follow strict
disclosure guidelines. Some developers opt to insert
static (not changing) ads for other applications in
their product line, into free versions, but these ads do
not change and there is no record of what ads are
clicked. Freeware can therefore be used free of charge
and there is no evaluation time period as with
shareware. Freeware is also often a basic or stripped
down version of the shareware version. Developers make
money off ads or those who want to upgrade from the free
version. There are also developers who provide freeware
out of principle, occasionally asking for a donation.
The majority of freeware that employs the use of
imbedded advertisements are provided in the true spirit
of adware without the intent to track users, but just to
be safe consumers should read the fine print.
About the Author:
Sharon Housley manages marketing for NotePage, Inc.
http://www.notepage.net a company specializing in
alphanumeric paging, SMS and wireless messaging software
solutions. Other sites by Sharon can be found at
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/