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View Full Version : Adware Companies Buying Game Developers


RobertoOrtiz
10-22-2004, 07:47 PM
Source: Slashdot
Quote:
"
Adware companies are buying up gaming content providers, hoping to use game downloads to install their pop-up advertising software on home computers.

Controversial adware company 180solutions said Wednesday that it is buying Full Armor Studios (http://www.mediapost.com/dtls_dsp_news.cfm?newsID=274728), which makes downloadable games. 180solutions recently received $40 million in venture capital financing (http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/business/166909_ads30.html), and has big ambitions in gaming. "Today's announcement with Full Armor will be the first of many gaming relationships the company will forge over the coming months," said 180solutions co-founder and CEO Keith Smith.

180solutions operates an online gaming portal, Zango Games (http://www.zango.com/), which offers free downloadable games to users who agree to install Zango adware on their computers. The software launches browser windows to display "two or three" web sites a day, monitoring user's surfing habits or keyword searches to redirect them to paid advertisers. Zango collects data including "the websites you visit while connected to the Internet."

180solutions says it offers online content and software publishers "more effective means of monetizing their assets." But the bundling of adware and spyware with games and web sites is a growing problem for game enthusiasts. The adware may help pay the bills for the site or developer, but critics and security professionals say it comes at a cost to users, especially teen and pre-teen gamers who may not understand what is being installed and what it will do. Zango users, for example, need to read the entire FAQ (http://www.zango.com/GetZango/FAQs.aspx) to learn that "removing Zango may cripple software applications you enjoy and use everyday." "

>>Link<< (http://www.gamejournalism.com/archives/2004/Oct/21/adware_firms_expand_foothold_in_gaming.html)

-R

PhantomDesign
10-24-2004, 05:41 AM
Regardless of licensing agreements, the government needs to sue and shut down these companies. It is one thing to show an advertisment while playing a free game, but anything more than that is a virus.

Hazdaz
10-24-2004, 04:28 PM
Maybe this thread should be combined with the "In-Game Advertising" one, since they are both soo related.


PHANTONDESIGN - I agree that these companies should be shut down, but unfortuntely the current administation in the US has the mentality that business should be allowed to basically do anything - even if it means corrupt/brainwashing our youth into being good little shallow consumers.
:rolleyes: :banghead:

alexyork
10-24-2004, 05:49 PM
as they say... nothing in life is free.

I love how these guys are so laid back about it, as if what they are doing is morally and ethically fine. a few transistors short a circuit board if you ask me.

richcz3
10-24-2004, 06:58 PM
Amazing.
Hmm so my nephews and nieces will go to a gaming site and click "OK" and because they are so willing to play a game load up tracking software my sisters computer. This is a business with no conscience. Peddeling Spyware like this should be an absolute crime.

richcz3

Stormy151
10-24-2004, 07:16 PM
Can you imagine the backlash if watching a certain television show put something on your television that reported on your viewing habits 24/7? A computer should be no different. It's intrusive, offensive, and possibly damaging to your computer.

What if you had a home office, and your child came in and downloaded some game on your computer without you knowing? The spyware hogs your system resources, and what if trying to remove it corrupts the registry? That costs you time and MONEY.

Show your ads during loading screens, between levels, whatever. I don't want some advertiser getting a report about how many times I visit Cgtalk.

What's next, people walking up to you at the grocery store and snatching your reciept to see what you bought? Grabbing people on the street and screaming in their face to try Brand X?

DigiLusionist
10-24-2004, 07:51 PM
Blame the ACLU and lawyers for the problem, not just the Administration. There are myriad layers of bureaucracy keeping this problem from being resolved. And the boneheads in thise layers who are being paid off to stall substantive legislation are really the ones to blame.


Spyware vendors and their ilk are the scum of the Earth, and the bane of the Internet.

Hazdaz
10-24-2004, 10:03 PM
Blame the ACLU and lawyers for the problem, not just the Administration. There are myriad layers of bureaucracy keeping this problem from being resolved. And the boneheads in thise layers who are being paid off to stall substantive legislation are really the ones to blame.


Spyware vendors and their ilk are the scum of the Earth, and the bane of the Internet.Don't make me laugh. The Administration (like all the corrupt bastards in the GOP) has a "Laize Faire" attitude toward business - meaning, they will basically let business do just about whataver it wants with as little regulation and as little policing as possible. That type of attitude lets these corportaions bend the rules as much as possible in their favor even when that means hurting average consumers. There are no LAWS that will stop this kind of action, and since most corporations are totaly morally corupt, they will chase the all mighty dollar to no end, even if what they are doing isn't "right".

But I digress, I am more than willing to turn this into a political discussion (since politics controls soooo much of what happens in everyday life), but since this isn't a political forum, I probably should end it with that. :p

richcz3
10-24-2004, 11:44 PM
Companies of this size aren't even feint blips on the federal government radar.
Collectively however, their Spyware/Spam edipdemic is part of the "Hot Button" topic that even the most clueless politician understands. There is legistlation grinding through that is meant to curb malware and spam, but you can be sure local government (the counties where these businesses operate) are more likely to turn a blind eye so long as they bring in jobs and pay taxes.

richcz3

Frank Lake
10-25-2004, 12:33 AM
Source: Slashdot
Quote:
"
Zango collects data including "the websites you visit while connected to the Internet."

...that "removing Zango may cripple software applications you enjoy and use everyday." "
-R

Oh I love the part that says "including". It's going to be incredibly invasive beyond the bounds of just surfing info. Monitering your usage and 'reporting' back to a specific person. Also just removing it may cripple your personal software? Hell it's invasive AND destructive! That makes it a virus in virtually every meaning of the word!!!

This should be pointed out to the FBI!

ambas
10-25-2004, 12:38 AM
Regardless of licensing agreements, the government needs to sue and shut down these companies. It is one thing to show an advertisment while playing a free game, but anything more than that is a virus.
werd :bounce:

DigiLusionist
10-25-2004, 01:26 AM
(bummed) You mean I can't try to make you laugh... at all? (sob)

mummey
10-25-2004, 01:52 AM
Regardless of licensing agreements, the government needs to sue and shut down these companies. It is one thing to show an advertisment while playing a free game, but anything more than that is a virus.
Alright, I'm going to play Devil's Advocate here because I don't believe this issue to be as clean-cut as many of you would have it be.

For the sake of argument, let us assume that this "advertising and marketing" company truthfully states all the material it will install beforehand. Now if the potential customer is able to read the agreement and accept or decline it. Then we could safely say that the responsibility now belongs to the user.

Now, what about the cases where the customer should not assume responsibility (such as children). In that case at the very least the agreement should at least state that the customer has to be of adult age to accept it. In a more aggressive method the software has to require age verification before it can be installed. Any software that doesn't follow this type of guidlines can then be fined by whichever government to help enforce these rules.

Conclusion: A more realistic solution would be to regulate these businesses, not destroy them. They have a right to make money like anyone else. However they should be kept in-check to keep it from scaling out of control.

-b

PS No I don't for any of these companies. I just realize that trying to shut these businesses is unrealistic.

Hazdaz
10-25-2004, 03:06 AM
advertising and marketing" company truthfully states all the material it will install beforehand. Now if the potential customer is able to read the agreement and accept or decline it. Then we could safely say that the responsibility now belongs to the user.... now I realize that your stating this as a "Devil's Advocate", which is fine, but come on now! You can't possibly tell me that everytime you install some app, that you read the 50 pages of fineprint in the ULA. And thats for an app, such as, say, Word or MAX or some other application that you might use to get some work done... now you think people are gonna be reading ULAs before installing a GAME?! And in general, games are usually installed and played by kids.

Thats the whole point of my post above is that bascially nothing that they are doing is "technically" illegal, but since there is next to zero governement intervension into this industry (and almost all industries with the current US Administration) that crap like this happens.

Corporations don't stop from doing something just because people think its "morally" wrong or tasteless or sleazy... if there is money to be made, and its not "technically" illegal, then corporations will be there to exploit it till they are forced to stop.

dimension10
10-25-2004, 04:44 AM
Let's be honest, we have all at one point or another installed software on our computers without completely reading the terms of use. These spyware/game guys in my opinion are
a violation of personal rights and should be considered a form of property damage.

The scary thing is that they don't specifically list what data and behaviors are collected from your computer. That could include personal information and email address's from your address book which I am sure they will sell for a shitload of money to their friends in the spamming business.
These people are making millions of dollars at the inconvenience of every one of their consumers.

and of course as you all know the next step in the process it to try to sell the software that removes the spyware from your computer.

Zeruel the 14th
10-25-2004, 09:04 AM
I'm of the view that agreements are written to intentionally discourage the casual reader. They themselves have fostered and created the attitude of 'read one, read them all'. I don't buy this 'has to be complex' bs. Given time and motivation you can write anything in a clear concise fashion. You can have detail and be concise (As in not unnecessarisily long. Enough to achieve the purpose, that is all)

Seems too much like a industry in itself to me.

You could still write the same stuff without half the unneeded phrases and wordings but they don't. Its like they go through a thesaurus and pick the largest, most convoluted wordings to say otherwise simple things. Its insane.

The expectation that you read everything is just a way of covering their asses because they're counting on the fact that you won't read it due to clever writing intentionally designed to discourage and bore people shitless. (I bet there is template of 'fill in the blanks')

That aside. I do believe it unethical to do some of the things they do. Namely software that is more virii than anything else. Its one thing to 'agree' to a monitoring application...its another when that application more virus than legitimate application in its behavior.

As somebody already said, despite the convoluted legalese, they don't specifically state anything regarding what it is their apps to do and how. They don't even seem to state that their app may remain behind when the host application is removed. (Usually there aren't two or more seperate agreements...just the one)

And on a final note. Should we really be calling ourselves 'consumers' of their 'products'? 'Victim' seems more like a more appropriate label to me.

StephanD
10-25-2004, 01:14 PM
We should rally against them and shut them down by ourselves...Or maybe make them agree somehow of it. ;)

3DDave
10-25-2004, 07:33 PM
Spyware/Adware is already conected to games with programs like Gamespy.

VenomZER0
10-26-2004, 11:42 AM
You are forgetting something - no matter how amoral this is, you accept it when you press the accept button. They could put ANYTHING they wanted in the EULA because it's YOUR CHOICE if you accept it or not.

Parents should be monitoring what their children download anyway, so don't moan about that.

really sucks what they are doing but if you don't like it, don't click accept - don't buy / download the game - it's that simple.

StephanD
10-26-2004, 11:47 AM
You are forgetting something - no matter how amoral this is, you accept it when you press the accept button. They could put ANYTHING they wanted in the EULA because it's YOUR CHOICE if you accept it or not.

Parents should be monitoring what their children download anyway, so don't moan about that.

really sucks what they are doing but if you don't like it, don't click accept - don't buy / download the game - it's that simple.
How about those that install Adware while you're busy answering 'NO'?

Sil3
10-26-2004, 01:15 PM
How about those that install Adware while you're busy answering 'NO'?

For those theres always Spyboot the freeware Spyware removal :scream:

VenomZER0
10-27-2004, 06:23 PM
How about those that install Adware while you're busy answering 'NO'?

That's not what we are talking about here - the discussion is about the companies that install adware as part of the EULA, where-in they CAN do it, but it's pretty wrong in most peoples eyes.

chadtheartist
10-27-2004, 06:42 PM
Is spyware platform independent, i.e. Linux and Mac?

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