I have just finished a marathon day at the CNET Anti-Spyware Conference. (For those voyeurs in the blogosphere you can check out Bill Pytlovany's(BillPStudios) reliable, ultra-fast photo shoot.) You can check out part of the blow-by-blow at ZDNet Blog but I am sure much more will be said about this workshop in the following days. It was, afterall, designed to provoke more dialogue.
At this point it is really hard for me to compress all that I have learned today into a late night journal entry. In some cases, what I have learned is so valuable I think I will refrain from journaling on it so as to keep some proverbial "aces up my sleeve".
I find this conference of much interest. Eric Howes and I had extensive discussions about the fact it was 2005 and the irony that we are still seeing each other at conferences defining "spyware". Having moderated the Affiliate "Adware" Summit a couple of years ago and serving as a panelist on the FTC Workshop last year I find myself wondering why am I still attending workshops on how to grapple with this issue in 2005?
I will pick up a big brush for this one.
Full Read @ ReveNews
From Wayne Cunningham at Spyware Confidential:
Yesterday's Antispyware Workshop was incredibly successful because of all the amazing people that showed up. I would really like to talk about everything that happened, but there was so much I can only offer some of what I feel are the most important nuggets to come out of it. Strangely, even though a lot was discussed, I felt that each panel needed much more time than we had.
The adware makers who attended should be applauded for their bravery, but in general they didn't come off very well. WhenU's new CEO Bill Day was probably the most honest and realistic of this crowd. He's trying to reform WhenU by being upfront with people about whether they want it installed or not. The concept of a value proposition arose from the discussion, whether adware makers could offer potential users anything compelling in exchange for getting ads served to them. Historically adware makers have not honestly offered this choice, instead relying on deceptive installations. It was pointed out that one of the apps offered by WhenU in exchange for viewing ads is a clock sync program, something already built in to Windows XP. Obviously that's not a good value proposition. If WhenU or other adware makers can offer me the equivalent of an Adobe Photoshop in exchange for viewing a few ads, I would consider it. But they're going to have to do a lot better than the rinky-dink games and screensavers they currently offer.
180Search and Claria took a beating for deceptive practices, and I felt that everything said by the representative from DirectRevenue should be evidence for a criminal investigation. Speaking of which, Justin Brookman, the Assistant Attorney General from New York Attorney General Elliot Spitzer's office, attended.
Full Read @ Spyware Confidential
And Suzi weighs in as well:
The CNET Antispyware Workshop yesterday was highly successful and filled with lively panel discussions on various aspects of spyware and adware, big players in the antispyware arena, consumer advocates, government respesentatives, journalists and a few brave (?) souls from the adware side. I dare say everyone had a great time but the adware guys. In fact, I’d say they had a very bad day.
First, we had Bill Day, CEO of WhenU on Panel 2. He presented himselft very well, I thought, and outlined some postive changes the company has made. Note the past tense there—changes WhenU has made already. I’m not a fan of WhenU, nor would I want their software on my machine, but in contrast to the other companies there, WhenU looked relatively benign.
Jeff McFadden, CEO and President of Claria, didn’t fare so well. Understandably he was not impressed with Ben Edelman’s full screen slides of Claria’s installations from ezone.com, a site aimed at children. Mr. McFadden said he was glad that Ben showed the screenshots, but his body language was, uh, shall we say, interesting. The moment of truth came when moderator Esther Dyson realized that perhaps she had been, shall we say, misled (she used the term miscommunication), about Claria’s installations via active x controls.
Full Read @Spyware Warrior Blog
Paperghost of Vitalsecurity weighs in about the S|NET Spyware Cinference too, and its a funny write up, good work Chris!!!
We can't change unless you tell us how to!
That was the general theme of the whole Antispyware Conference, to some degree - the Adware guys not only begged for our help to clean them up (because they apparently can't work out how to do this themselves), but they also blamed the antispyware guys for their woes.
Sorry guys, I think you'll find your awful programs, lack of uninstall features and a total absence of scruples will do that for you.
I'm currently piecing together a .PDF document which details the whole event in - er - detail. For now, I'm simply going to give a brief overview of what went down in SF. However, I should warn you - I've gone all West Coast, y'all. Baggy pants are in, Ak-47's straight outta' Compton (or at least, the Old Navy Store, they do great discounts) and pimp goblets are now where it's at. I've also changed my name to Blasta Bling bleep the Second. Mad Gangsta' props to the Sunbelt Software crew, my homeboy Wayne at X-Block, that streetwise assassin Ben Edelman, all the fly mack daddies from the Pctools website and Suzi and Eric, my posse at Spywarewarrior.com.
Word to your mutha.
Full Read @VitalSecurity.org
More from Suzi on the C|NET Antispyware Conference:
Yes, it was a baaad day for the adware companies at the CNET Antispyware workshop on May 3. I wrote about WhenU’s Bill Day and the CEO and President of Claria, Jeff McFadden already. Now I’ll tackle the other adware guys from 180solutions and DirectRevenue. But Paperghost already wrote about Daniel Todd of 180solutions. He did a great job, so I won’t repeat what he said. The point is that Mr. Todd essentially came off looking like a dumb ass and a liar. He didn’t * know * that 180 is doing all these deceptive, fraudulent, ugly things?? Yeah, right. Ben Edelman’s screenshot of the 180 Search Assistant showing a pop up for a rogue antispyware app covering PC Tools’ Spyware Doctor got CEO Simon Clausen out of his chair fast. Simon was obviously angry and talked about fraud and deception. Todd also seemed unware that CDT, the company 180 recently purchased, was downloading 180 software through security holes and exploits. Uh, huh. The audience actually laughed a number of times thoughout the discussion of 180’s practices —were they laughing at Todd? Could be. I highly recommend that you listen to the MP3 files from the workshop. They are available at Release 1.0 You will need to register to view the page and have access to the MP3 files.
Dan Dornan, CTO of Direct-Revenue, got off easy at the workshop. He was probably glad that the attention was on Daniel Todd instead of him. Wayne Cunningham made comment about him, though.
Full Read @Spyware Warrior Blog
Paperghost keeps the ball rlolling:
180 Solutions down for the count
180 Solutions attended the Antispyware conference. I know this, because in my notes for Part 3: The Money Game, I wrote:
180 got busted.
Now, far be it for me to suggest that 180 Solutions might have applied some of their (not inconsiderable) legal weight to CNET in light of how badly things went for them, but the "official" rundowns of the day's events seem to be strangely lacking in 180 high-fibre treats. Let's look at the evidence, shall we?
First off, upon registering on the Release 1.0 website to get my hands on some of the MP3 sessions, I was rather puzzled to find the below:
Session III: The Money Game: Business Viability and Revenue Models
Esther Dyson, editor, Release 1.0, CNET Networks (moderator)
Jeff McFadden, President and CEO, Claria
Ralph Terkowitz, ABS Capital
Ari Schwarz, Center for Democracty and Technology
Is it just me, or did 180 Solutions head-honcho Daniel Todd somehow manage to fall off the list? Oh well, probably a typo. Let's move onto the MP3 of the event...whoops, the section where he flew his true colours seem to have slipped off the tape as well!
I've been checking for signs that someone reloaded the Matrix...Deja Vu, black cats, hot ladies in leather dominatrix costumes (though apparently I was staying in the wrong part of San Francisco to see that!)...but no, I'm fairly certain the guy was there. In fact, if you look closely, Jeff McFadden seems to have slipped off the list for his section, too. Conspiracy theory? Probably not, though I'm typing this from underneath some tin foil. And before "the man" comes to bust me, let's move on to what we've all been waiting for - the total ownage of 180 Solutions.
Full Read @ VitalSecurity.org
The guys from Sunbelt Software chime in their collection of tidbits about the recent C|NET Spyware Conference.
180 and "relevant" advertising
(Props to Dave Methvin at PC Pitstop for sending me these pics and the ad links, and to Simon Clausen at PC Tools who originally made these pics).
Good read w\screenshots.
Full Read @ Sunbelt Blog