Lavasoft leaving Coast

Discussion in 'privacy general' started by snowbound, Dec 15, 2003.

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  1. snowbound

    snowbound Retired Moderator

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    Interesting article on organization Lavasoft founded.

    This comes from the EYE newsletter that lavasoft puts out.




    Worst Practices – Why we have decided to leave COAST

    Michael A. Wood - VP Sales/Lavasoft COAST Representative



    Nicolas Stark Computing AB (Lavasoft) announces that we will no longer tolerate, support, or participate in the COAST (Consortium of Anti-Spyware Technology Vendors) organization. The current leadership’s overt agenda to concentrate on revenue generation flies in the face of the spirit of the original mission Lavasoft set forth when we founded COAST. Not only do their current efforts shed a bad light on COAST, but also reflect badly on the entire anti-trackware industry.



    To understand our decision to leave the organization we founded, you will need to understand what COAST was intended to be and why we started it in the first place.



    Over the last two years we have become increasingly concerned about the obvious problems with overall standards and the unethical behavior of many new entrants to the anti-trackware industry. Nicolas Stark began the Ad-aware project in direct response to the security industry’s inability/refusal to address on-line Privacy and aggressive advertising issues. The goal then as it is now is to provide a means to inform the user of what has been installed on their systems, to enable them to remove said content at their choice, and to bring pressure on the advertising/software industry to change the way they do business.



    It was expected and inevitable that the popularity and success of Ad-aware would cause others to see an opportunity and join the industry. This is just simple economics and is the way all industries begin and later, grow. What we have found both extremely disturbing and to be a great disappointment is that most of those who chose to enter the anti-trackware industry have not had the fortitude or desire to adhere to the standards we have set from the beginning. They see potential sales and revenue as the goal of their existence rather than embracing the causes of consumer reporting, ethical advertising, and social change.



    In June of 2003, we began what has become known as COAST (The Consortium of Anti-Spyware Technology Vendors). Our goal was to bring together a group of industry leaders to formulate detection/definition standards, a code of ethical conduct, consumer education, and an easily accessible place where everyone could come to find information about companies and applications that adhere to the highest standards of public service.



    Implicit in our original mandate was that COAST would also provide software developers with a centralized resource for contacting anti-trackware vendors directly to discover exactly why their applications were detected and what they would be required to change in order to be removed from each vendor’s database. We held and still hold that this process is part of each vendor member’s basic responsibilities as an anti-trackware developer.



    These ideals have become corrupt and distorted by the organization we first founded with the highest expectations and not because we became a party to them, but because we did not choose our partners wisely. What started as an idea with only the noblest of intentions has degenerated into a commercialistic quagmire where sources of funding have become a priority and the ideals Lavasoft represents an impediment to their enrichment at the expense of both new entrants to the industry and the companies represented in our collective databases.



    How is charging an emerging anti-trackware developer $2,500.00/year or a large software development company up to $5,000.00/year just to join COAST equitable or even fair. The current Consortium plan is to have software developers (makers of applications the industry has added to their collective databases) apply and pay to join, then to charge them a certification fee to review their separate applications. This we vehemently argued and voted against to no avail. The only possible benefit of this system is that the COAST organization is enriched rather than to do what it was meant to do. We hold that COAST does not need to charge exorbitant rates for membership to effectively perform its mandate nor will we stand by and accept what they are trying to do without doing what we do best; fighting to protect the public from unethical behavior whether it be in the applications we detect or in those we associate with.



    Not only do the other vendor members of COAST focus their collective attention on revenue streams, some also engage in some of the worst practices that Lavasoft was first conceived to fight against. We have attempted to force them to realize the error of their ways and to get COAST back on the right track, but it has become obvious that they neither value our counsel nor do they see it as relevant to their current goals.



    We will not be associated with companies that see the reporting of unsolicited commercial e-mail, illegal use of registered trademarks in advertising, and theft of intellectual property as inconveniences rather than actionable offenses. They have chosen to focus on commercial advantage (though COAST is a registered Non-Profit) rather than to understand the larger implications of what they are doing or to act decisively and collectively to present a unified front to the advertising industry. They either will not or are not competent enough to investigate fully those they would ask to become members or take the time to realize that unethical behavior of any member reflects directly on all members and makes the effort useless at the very least.



    In light of the failure of COAST to place the end user in the forefront of their thinking and because they have decided to concentrate on revenue streams and process, we are announcing our rejection of their goals as detrimental to the causes of on-line Privacy and advertising ethics. We will not allow our message and mission to become derailed by anyone. Be they our industry competitors or advertising giants makes no difference. Too often we are told that there is no right or wrong, only shades of gray. This article is meant to put the industry on notice that Lavasoft will not be intimidated, coerced, or persuaded that we need to go along to get along. There is a right way to do things and compromise is not an acceptable method. You either do what you say you will do, do it well, or you stop doing it.
     
  2. DolfTraanberg

    DolfTraanberg Registered Member

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  3. FanJ

    FanJ Guest

  4. Paul Wilders

    Paul Wilders Administrator

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    It's a pitty COAST started off on the wrong foot - we have been involved in the founding ;). I'm pretty sure such an organization is needed - and in the end will succeed, all major players involved, sort of an ICSA.

    Nick Stark/Lavasoft leaving goes back to earlier December 2003:

    http://www.coast-info.org/lavaresign.htm

    regards.

    paul
     
  5. Detox

    Detox Retired Moderator

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    It's all too bad I suppose but I am glad to see Lavasoft and Kolla keeping their standards.
     
  6. Paul Wilders

    Paul Wilders Administrator

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    Don't judge too soon - there has been much more going on before this decision had been made. This is merely one side of the story - COAST has one as well. All that is a private issue between Lavasoft/Kolla and the COAST, and won't be revealed to the public ;)

    regards.

    paul
     
  7. sig

    sig Registered Member

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    Ah, well here's the website of one of COAST's new members...would anyone here download or recommend their stuff based on looking at this site? http://www.noadware.net/

    The page tells me the name of my browser (oooh, wonder how they did that) and then a rather shoddy little gif looks like it's scanned something and tells me there's a 99% chance that I have adware and spyware installed! Wonder how many newbies fall for that? Is this the consumer education COAST talks about or the same old FUD marginal companies like to promulgate and profit from?

    And the site has "testimonials" from ordinary folks just like you and me, just as recommended by their Link Partner, http://www.marketingfind.com/ .

    If they mention a price I haven't seen it on their website. (And I'm not about to disable Proxo on this site to see if I'm missing it.) I personally stay away from vendors that don't say how much their product costs on their site. No doubt one learns the price after the free scan finds something but will not remove it. Crippleware I find less objectionable if it is clear from beginning that such is the nature of the product and the would be user knows what the price will be before the product is downloaded. (The few real users' comments I could find about it on the net were not complimentary about the product.)

    Furthermore, the website contains no info about the company itself. I usually don't like to do business with an outfit that gives out less info about itself than someone in the Witness Protection Program.

    And via google I found this cached page from Pest Patrol (a Russian language page it appears)...about something called "scam.noadware.net" listed as adware: http://216.239.41.104/search?q=cache:5zAJgTnZPxMJ:www.pestpatrol.com/Pest_Info/ru/s/scam_noadware_net.asp+Noadware&hl=en&ie=UTF-8 Interestingly, it's not currently in Pest Patrol's database, although it appears to have been added just last month? (Adaware added detection for it in October 2003.) Now, just a month later, it's already been removed from Pest Patrol's database it seems. (Perhaps it was removed after Noadware.net paid its COAST membership dues and the check cleared? Rather difficult to not wonder if that is the case...or perhaps it's just a coincidence?)

    Just offhand, if that outfit is a COAST member I'm somewhat less than optimistic about COAST serving the consumers' interests.
     
  8. FanJ

    FanJ Guest

    ;) noadware.net is in IE-SPYAD from Eric :

    [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings\ZoneMap\Domains\noadware.net]
    "*"=dword:00000004
     
  9. sig

    sig Registered Member

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    Well, I'd tend to go with Eric's judgment on that. ;)

    In my internet search on noadware I found mainly marketing, marketing related sites and affiliate stuff....what a deal affiliates can make off it, that sort of thing. The same sort of thing I usually see with products of dubious performance and reputation that to me appear primarily geared toward getting a fast buck from unsophisticated users.
     
  10. Paul Wilders

    Paul Wilders Administrator

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    sig,

    I'm not going to comment on COAST's members ;). Without going into details, let's just state Lavasoft has been one of the main founders from COAST. They pulled out for different reasons as for membership from other companies involved.

    Bottom line as far as I'm concerned is:

    an ICSA-like consortium for this kind of software will be for the benefit of all (possible) antispyware software users. As ever, starting off such a consortium comes with (vast) difficulties - as has been shown. IMHO it will be merely a matter of time before such a well functioning consortium exists - wether it will be COAST or a sortalike one.

    regards.

    paul
     
  11. Valkyri001

    Valkyri001 Registered Member

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    ;)Like many other businesses I've seen, don't fall for the ( we need to charge to filter out ) scheme. I for one don't believe, that as a consumer, you should have to "trick me" into buying your product.
    As I read the statements of the press and then the developers, I get this eirie feeling that, infiltration has occured. Unfortunately by the very same TYPE of people they were trying to avoid.
    What would happen to us all if someone were to develop a DNS that were truly free. Built upon the technologies of the world. No payment for service or space, regulated by the people that maintain it, and open to the public. How long could it possibly exist.
     
  12. Detox

    Detox Retired Moderator

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    I reckon you do have some very valid points there, Paul. I suppose you are correct about the consortium; very beneficial... certainly I'll be watching to see what happens as time goes on.
     
  13. atena

    atena Registered Member

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    just google for 'spybot' and look at the sponsored link, for instance.
     
  14. HandsOff

    HandsOff Registered Member

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    Sig, i just had to shoot you a cookie for that one. You have the instincts of a great investigative reporter...maybe even the next Geraldo Rivera!

    That web advertisement looked like the work of the marketers behind the unsolicited xxxx enlargement spam I received a few weeks ago. And boy, I'm glad I did. My life has definitely changed for the better.

    And regarding the Mystical System Awareness module that your mentioned? I dont know what to believe. They seem to have devined my operating system, but the wrongly stated my browser as Netscape, not Mozilla Firefox. And while you have a 99% chance of running and infected operation over there, my system boasts a robust 20% chance.

    by my way of reasoning i must have five times the knowlege and skill to avoid malware that you have, however for an unknown fee I will miraculously cure you computer and add inches to your manhood.

    As a token of good faith i will demonstrate this by saying that sometime next week you will be within five miles of a large body of water.


    ...it is an irritating reality that even decent products employe these tactics. One could even argue that doing so gives a company the means to develope its product. I dohowever try to stay clear of a product if I have to keep a barf bag on my knees when I read their advertizements. It's not that I lack an appreciation for slick marketing. It's simply that I have a weak stomache.

    -HandsOff
     
  15. sig

    sig Registered Member

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    And a cookie for you HandsOff because I'm still laughing after reading your post. :D :D
     
  16. Detox

    Detox Retired Moderator

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    from me too; it's funny but it's true.
     
  17. svestjer

    svestjer Registered Member

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    What is Comparespywareremovers? Are they a member of COAST? They recommend Noadware (noadware.net) at http://www.comparespywareremovers.com/. Therefore I installed the program and tested it. The first time it found 1 reg key and 5 other objects. Lavasoft's Ad-aware didn't find the same objects but found 30 other, among them were 8 belonging to SCAM.noadware.net and the rest was Data Miners. The second time Noadware did only find the reg key. The price for Noadware is US$ 29.95 and can be found on http://www.noadware.net/purchase/. Because of the bad result I decide to uninstall Noadware, but still remains 4 objects belonging to this program then I run Ad-aware again.

    Now I want to test another of the recommended programs and goes to http://www.spywarenuker.com/download.php?hop=comparets. An alert pops up telling me that my PC can be infected with spyware or adware and ask if I want to scan my PC. Then I click OK an alert from AVG Resident Shield pops up. It tells me that Virus Trojan horse Downloader.Agent.J has infected the file ..\SWGInstaller[1].exe. So I will not test this program. Instead I contact their Abuse-department and ask why my PC becomes infected with virus from their site. I'm eager to get their answer.

    So now I have to run AVG which detects the virus but cannot heal the file. Therefore I place it in the vault as file 00000002.FIL latest changed 2004-04-11 09.59.

    So the result of my little test of spyware removers recommended by Comparespywareremovers is that the top program Noadware is very bad and the second spreads virus. Can you tell me about other tests?
     
  18. Tassie_Devils

    Tassie_Devils Global Moderator

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    Very interesting reading, thanks snowbound for original post and other follow-up posters. ;)

    @ sjestver, hello and welcome to forum.

    You asked:
    There are heaps of very reliable programs, etc. test sites out there.
    To help you, I am pointing you to a plethoria of sites I posted HERE

    Enjoy. TAS
     
  19. sig

    sig Registered Member

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    I don't know, but just offhand I'd say it's a crapware site given their apparently top recommendations and that when you click on a link to the programs' sites, my Proxomitron kills the connection since it goes to "clickbank." I suspect it's about advertising and making money under the guise of "reviews," not helping people to good products.

    The latest field of scamware is antispyware programs and people who want to make money by playing on the fears and lack of knowledge of potential customers. So as I mentioned above there are a number of really "dubious" programs that try to make a fast buck out of users who don't know how to tell between good and bad antispyware apps.

    Reputable antispyware products are often recommended here at Wilders and many of them are free, such as Spybot Search and Destroy, Adaware, CWShredder, SpywareBlaster and SpywareGuard. Spyware Sweeper is a newer commercial product put out by webroot, a reputable company, and is gaining in popularity.

    If you have questions about a product that hasn't been recommended here feel to ask (start a new thread though) before installing it. The reason I say this is that it's been found that some of the scamware antispware apps have been found to actually install their own spyware thus really screwing the poor user who has often paid for the product. Or, if they don't install spyware, some of these dubious products just aren't very good and you'd have better results with one of the popular free products.
     
  20. Paranoid2000

    Paranoid2000 Registered Member

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    Nice investigation - but you did miss out the best part... :D they list Evidence Eliminator at the bottom! Written by Robin Hood Software, paragons of truth and virtue as their warning page shows! (reload it a few times to get a real laugh).
     
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