Eightball and Thundercloud's RANT

Our Little Rant by Eightball & Thundercloud
From InfoAve Premium Issue #76 - April 1, 2005
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Educating Corporate America

With all the lawsuits and cease and desist orders being aimed by spyware and adware developers at the anti-spyware community, something needs to be done, but too many anti-spyware critics are under funded to carry on a protracted legal battle.

But, we've come up with an idea that will hit the spyware/adware people right where it counts - the wallet. However, we cannot do it alone. We really need all of you to read this Rant (it's not that long) and help us;  the two of us cannot change anything, but the thousands of you can.

Today, with your help, we are going to educate Dell Computer Corporation. We have used Dell desktops for the last 7 years. We've purchased many computers from Dell, including computers for our children, but we will never purchase another Dell as long as their advertising dollars are funneled to spyware and adware companies whose products clog millions of computers, some of them Dells'.

On Dell's Web site (in several locations including this one) they warn you about installing spyware. In fact, Dell says that a great percentage of its tech calls are spyware related. It would appear on the surface that Dell is committed to protecting your computer from spyware. But, Dell's public and private personas, however, seem to be vastly different.

It appears from information on Ben Edelman's site that Dell has jumped in bed with eXact Advertising, a particularly aggressive firm that specializes, apparently in invisible installs and forced installs. eXact's products sometimes come bundled with seeming benign applications. It sounds very much like spyware and adware to us.

According to Edelman: "I've repeatedly seen software from eXact Advertising installed through security holes, in poorly-disclosed bundles, or otherwise without meaningful (or any) notice and consent. What kind of advertisers would support a company that gets on users' PCs in these ways? I was surprised to find scores of well-known firms promoted by eXact -- including Apple, Chase, Circuit City, Dell, Expedia, Netflix, and Vonage. Cross-referencing eXact's partner list with TRUSTe's member list, I found 85 matches.. ..." . To see Edelman's Documentation click here. To get an idea what kind of company eXact is, read this page carefully.  Also, see the movie Ben made of the vicious way eXact Advertising installs itself on a person's computer. Finally, if you are brave and bored read the eXact Advertsing Privacy Policy. It's absolutely incredible.

In fairness to Dell, anyone can sign up to earn a commission from Dell as an affiliate. However, Dell has a responsibility to know who its affiliates are. I'm sure Dell wouldn't want its products sold by spam houses. But, it's hard to say the way eXact promotes Dell isn't worse than spam. At least you can delete the spam.  And, we're not sure if eXact is an affiliate of Dells' or if Dell directly pays eXact to show their advertisements. Either way, it really doesn't matter; Dell has a reponsibilty to keep its advertising our of these types of spyware and/or adware programs. Don't you agree?

This week we would like you to email Dell and tell them exactly what you think about Dell money being used to support companies like eXact advertising. Maybe, we can stop spyware by throttling its money-stream. If enough people care, we can. Please take a few minutes to let Dell know what you think of their products appearing in unwanted popup ads generated by hidden spyware and adware programs. Please send your friends to this page and ask them to join us.. We might not have the power of money but we do have the power of the people.

And if this idea is a success, we'll educate another big corporation in the future. Today,, let's educate Dell: Please tell them what you think by clicking here. The referring URL is http://thundercloud.net/infoave/education-rant.htm and the topic is "Privacy - Info Request".

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Opinions expressed herein are the opinions of the authors as individuals and do not necessarily reflect the official opinion of Cloudeight Internet LLC, its hosts, or sponsors. These Rants are editorials and are,  therefore, opinions. All content is copyright 2005 by Cloudeight Internet LLC (all rights reserved)