WeatherBug Blogger Calls For Adware/Spyware Standards
Writing on the WeatherBug weblog, Chief Privacy Officer Dan O'Connell discusses the varying definitions of adware, spyware and ad supported software and calls for clearer definitions. O'Connell points out the terms are thrown about almost interchangeably which, he claims, can be hurtful to legitimate companies.
Hoping to clarify the confusion, O'Connell writes, "A year ago, I said in a Comment to the FTC, 'An important distinction should be drawn, however, between Adware ("any software that serves or facilitates advertising.") and 'advertising-supported software.' Unlike Adware, whose sole functionality is to display advertisements, advertising-supported software presents a core value proposition and functionality that is of benefit to the consumer, and separate and apart from its ability to serve advertisements. The CDT, in its Comment of March 4, 2004, highlighted the Eudora email application as a 'successful and user-friendly example of ad-supported software.' Advertising support is a legitimate revenue model that allows software developers a means to offer beneficial software at little or no cost to consumers. Other examples of successful ad-supported software products include AOL Instant Messenger, eFax, The Weather Channels Desktop Weather, and WeatherBug."
It's clear that concise definitions are needed. It's also clear the definitions will continue to be twisted to the benefit of the less than reputable companies doing business in this area. But the effort must be made in spite of continued abuse by scumware purveyors.