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More Reasons To Steer Clear Of Adware

Adware is a trick online marketers use to gather information about your Web surfing habits so they can sell the information they collect about you to advertisers. Since "Targeted" advertising pays better than non-targeted, these adware vendors rake in a small fortune. Why? Because tracking your surfing habits allows them to "profile" you. If you're into knitting for example, and you often visit sites that sell knitting supplies and other sites about knitting, then the profile they create about you will allow them to sell you to advertisers who want to push knitting supplies, books, etc. Advertisers pay top dollar to the adware vendor because their audience is "targeted" to those, like you, who enjoy knitting.

Adware is usually bundled with shareware programs or is a prerequisite to downloading something else. When the user installs the program, the adware is also installed, and while it may have been stated somewhere in a long, incomprehensible privacy policy or EULA that you agreed to install the adware, we don't think that can really be called "informed consent".

Some of the more ubiquitous adware programs don't install the adware directly but encourage the user to install additional free software; then in order to use the additional free software, the user has to agree not to uninstall the adware part of the program. If the user attempts to uninstall the adware part of the program, the other freeware will not function. And chances are the freeware the user really wanted won't be the adware part of the program. Adware vendors consider this a fair tradeoff. You get something you want, they get to gather data about you and sell it to advertising companies who pay well for "targeted" advertisements. Most adware vendors will state they do not collect any personal information -which means they do not ask for your name, address, or telephone number. But, your IP address is being tracked, and that is personal information. And many adware companies assign you a "user ID" - so they can track you.

Even if you don't mind being tracked and having your surfing and searching habits tracked, processed and sold to advertisers, there's another good reason to avoid adware. It is usually not very well programmed or tested. It is hurried to market for obvious reasons. Adware will always run in the background and most often leaves an open link between your computer and the developers' web site. This link allows data to be gleaned from your computer and also allows the developer to download "updates" to his/her software, which may not be updates at all but additional adware programs disguised as "updates" or "upgrades". None of these tactics are illegal. Most likely you gave them legal permission to do just about anything you want simply by installing the software. By installing the software, you are legally saying that you have read the terms of use, privacy policy, EULA or other documentation, and you agree to all terms included in it, even if you haven't read a word of it.

Finally, adware bundles use a lot of your system's resources. These programs normally start with Windows. Even when you try to keep them from starting with Windows, as soon as you reboot they're back again. Obviously, these programs have to be running in the background all the time to earn their developer's money, so they're not going to make it easy for you to keep them from starting up with Windows.

Adware is bad for your privacy and worse for you computer. Steer clear. Adware is a first cousin to spyware. Sometimes they're twins.

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