Wednesday, February 23, 2005

 

The First Amendment, remember it? Also there's this little thing called the UCC....

Other than the draconian PC speech codes in higher education, one would have to look hard to find an intimidation tactic harsher than this certified letter from an adware "provider" to CastleCops (I'd use more colorful language to describe these individuals, but since apparently the right to express an opinion of something is forbidden according to iDownload and Savrick, Schumann, Johnson, McGarr, Kaminski & Shirley I'll merely refer to them as providers and purveyors).

For your edification:

Dear Sir or Madam:
This firm represents iDownload.com with respect to your inaccurate classification of iDownload's software product, iSearch toolbar, by referring to it as Spyware in its description. Specifically, a recent review of materials disseminated by your company, via the Internet,revealed that your company is falsely disparaging iDownload's product, iSearch, in that CastleCops f/k/a Computer Cops, L.L.C. classifies the product as Spyware and articulates that,


iSearch is certified spyware/foistware, or other malware.

Castle Cops f/k/a Computer Cops, L.L.C.'s characterization of iSearch as Spyware is damaging to the iDownload brand. As we all know, Spyware is a phrase within the public conscience that has a specific meaning. A classification of Spyware is usually reserved for thoseprograms that not only have the ability to scan an end- user's
computer, but also seek to remainunnoticed or hidden, and also seek to gather personal information such as passwords, account numbers, etc. of the end-user. iSearch does not fit this profile.

iSearch does not qualify as Spyware. iSearch is a toolbar that in no way attempts to remain hidden or evade detection. Continuing, unlike Spyware, iSearch does not gather any personally identifiable information about end users, does not collect data about the user's web usage, does not collect any information entered into web forms, does not share information with third parties, does not send or cause to be sent unsolicted e-mail, and does not install items such as dialers on the end user's computer.

We would request that you correct your disseminated materials immediately to remove any reference to iSearch as Spyware, Foistware, or Malware. To the extent you fail to remedy your improper disparagement of the iDownload brand on or before February 15, 2005, we will take all necessary action against your company to protect iDownload from your continuing tortuous conduct. Should you have any questions regarding the foregoing, please feel free to contact me.

Best Regards,
Mark D. Hopkins


Uhhhh, yeah.

If you want to get into semantics, said toolbar isn't spyware in the strictest sense of the definition, it is adware. However, the popular definition of spyware includes adware or any related "tool" or "value add", and there's no way that iDownload or its shysters can change that. I would speculate that there is little brand equity to protect in iDownload, as most people who have gotten it installed on their computers would like nothing more than to be rid of it, and I would doubt that iDownload could produce any sort of end-user satisfaction statistics along the lines of J.D. Power. The only brand equity iDownload has is with those advertisers willing to stoop to using such methods to hawk their wares, and I'm sure the average end-user would be bloody unwilling to purchase anything advertised in such manner that steals bandwidth and CPU cycles from them.

Symantec calls a spade a spade. I look forward to seeing the response from Symantec's lawyers to any such missive. It'll be amusing.....

Incidentally, iSearch is installed (scroll to the February 10th entry in the link) by the latest nasty virus making the rounds, Win32.bube.d (a/k/a Win32.Beavis). Nice company iDownload keeps......

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