Fotomix – Anatomy of a Bundler

By | April 29, 2012
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A few years ago we made Fotomix a freeware pick of the week. It was great freeware, it was a great program. Then greed reared its ugly head. We received an email from Doug — one of our Premium subscribers – alerted us to Fotomix’s intrepid bundling. There’s no way to stop it from installing its ugly payload, he said. We had already pulled Fotomix from our list of good freeware — but we didn’t realize how bad it had become.

We decided to go ahead and install Fotomix and then do a system restore to get rid of it so we could show you how bad bundling can be. Here’s our report: Fotomix — Anatomy of a Bundler.

1. I saw the notice for Fotomix that I would have an “offer” to install toolbars, etc.

Cloudeight InfoAve

2. My Internet Explorer Browser before the install of FotoMix

Cloudeight InfoAve
3. I clicked to install FotoMix and was given option to install the FunMoods toolbars, and I made certain to uncheck so that they would not install.

Cloudeight InfoAve

4. The install completed, and no indication that FunMoods toolbars were installing; it appeared just FotoMix was installing.

Cloudeight InfoAve
5. Upon completion of the install, I reopened my browser and found that FunMoods had hijacked my home page, had installed the toolbar which included numerous other items, and my search was changed to FunMoods Search. I did a search for Cloudeight Stationery and while we always appear at the top of search engines, all I got was a number of ads instead. See screenshot below. (Note: It also installed on Chrome as well)

It also installed a bunch of shortcuts to webpages on my desktop. I checked Task Manager and a number of FunMoods products were running. In add/remove programs it showed it was almost two gig in size. Uninstall did not work so I had to do a system restore.

FunMoods does not easily identify who they are; on their “about us” page, they simply call themselves the FunMoods team: http://funmoods.com/about . They don’t give their email on their contact form, so they remain elusive there as well. If you join their affiliate network for their “free” program, you can get paid for every download: http://funmoods.com/affiliates  so this encourages freeware companies to cheat, unfortunately.

I searched through every page on their site, through their Terms of Service (TOS) and through their Privacy Policy and not a single page identifies who “FunMoods” is or where they are from. They only refer to themselves as FunMoods.

I did a DNS search and found the company is Volonet LTD; apparently owner is Ami Bursin who has a profile set up with LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/company/volonet-ltd  Turns out he is from Israel: Ami Burstin, Marketing Manager Volonet ltd , Privately Held; Internet industry, February 2012 – Present (3 months). He does a good job of disguising who he is and where he is from. Why? We don’t know.

7 thoughts on “Fotomix – Anatomy of a Bundler

  1. Dawn

    I wish someone would send Funmoods to the moon with no return ticket. It took me forever to remove from my computer and that wasn’t from Fotomix download either. It’s everywhere–like a worm squirming it’s way thru cyberspace.

    Reply
  2. Rose

    I recently re-downloaded FotoMix as well because I use the program, like it, and it had added some new features that I wanted. Even though I declined their offers for FunMoods, it proceeded to install it anyway. WinPatrol caught much of it but not all. I had to repeatedly use several clean-up programs to rid my computer of pieces of FunMoods and Chrome. Much of it was very stubborn. I hope I am free of the stuff. We’ll see.

    Reply
  3. Melody

    Hello Cloudeight team,
    We take matters like this very seriously. Our users, and the experience they get from using our products, are the main focus of our business.
    We checked this matter internally and confirmed that if the user unchecked all the boxes, the only thing they will receive is the funmoods toolbar. Regardless, we’ve requested the affiliate to add a check box allowing the user to choose not to install the toolbar. Also, we requested that a post would be placed on the affiliate’s blog addressing this issue.
    We keep track of threads like this and aim to improve constantly, our support team can be easily contacted through the website (http://support.funmoods.com/customer/portal/emails/new)

    Thank you for the input,
    Melody- support manager

    Reply
  4. Knut Engebretsen

    Hi, my name is Knut Engebretsen and I’m the author of FotoMix.
    It started out as a bug in the setup which I intended to fix. But, and I admitt it, greed caused the bug to remain for several months. Much because of this blog, I have now finally fixed the bug and with the new version you can opt out of installing Funmoods.

    Reply
    1. infoave Post author

      You allowed this to continue because of greed regardless of the number of computers your software affected. You knowingly tricked tens of thousands of users, intentionally installed software those users didn’t want, and kept the money.

      That says a lot about you as a person.

      Unfortunately the money’s probably already been spent. It’s too bad the principle doesn’t demand their money back.

      It’s too bad that bundling has become such a rich source of revenue — in encourages others to make “mistakes” in their installers and to live well off those “mistakes” and the misfortunes of others.

      You have a nice program and you could have sold it for a fair price and made money the right way — instead you took the easy way and in the process you lost two things money can’t buy — your honor and the trust of others.

      No doubt with the hundreds of millions connected to the Internet you’ll continue to have a steady stream of people who’ll download your program and install the adware/malware with it and you’ll continue to make a lot of money.

      Sleep well tonight.

      Reply
  5. Raji

    They actually have a website at volo-net.com, pretty straightforward- team members, email etc.

    Reply
  6. Mike

    Since Cloudeight recommended Fotomix a long time ago I have used it and like it, even recommended it to my friends. After reading the above re: Funmoods I checked in the control panel and saw it was listed so I uninstalled Funmoods and I have NEVER had any trouble with Fotomix. My friends all love the funny things I do with it. I only ever use Google Chrome.

    Reply

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