Why Does Almost Everything You Download Have Hidden Software in It?

By | March 15, 2012
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What really makes us angry is when we download software to test and we find toolbars and other garbage bundled with it. It’s  becoming pandemic across the web. And you’re probably wondering why this is so. It’s easy. It’s all about the money.

Over the years we’ve turned down dozens of offers to bundle toolbars and other worthless software with our downloads. We’ve refused every single offer  – and consequently turned down a lot of money. In the heyday of email stationery (2001-2004) we were averaging over 10,000 downloads per day. At Christmastime it wasn’t unusual for us to hit 50,000 downloads a day. We had offers from several different companies to bundle a toolbar or some other software program with our stationery downloads. We were offered from 50 cents to $1.00 a download. You do the math. We could have made hundreds of thousands of dollars – but we turned then all down rather than violate the trust of our subscribers and site visitors. Perhaps we were stupid. But we did what we felt was right for us.

This week we received another offer to bundle software with our downloads. This time we thought we’d show you how bundling works and why there is so much of it.  It’s all about the money and there are very few companies offering free software who can turn down this kind of money.  Maybe they’re not a stupid as we are?

Below is a copy of an email we got from a man named Jay from a company called Install Monetizer. He wanted to pay us to bundle the AOL toolbar with our downloads. Other than some personal information, email addresses and phone numbers, this the email exchange between Jay from Install Monetizer Corporation and TC & EB from Cloudeight:

Subject: AOL Toolbar Partnership
Date: Wed, 14 Mar 2012 11:03:52 +0000
From: “Jay S” /// installmonetizercorp.com

Hi,

Hope you are doing great!

AOL is looking for partners to distribute its toolbar.

I wanted to see if you would be interested in bundling AOL Toolbar into your software.

AOL pays per install.

When are you free to jump on a quick skype chat? My Skype id: (Redacted)

I want to go over the rates and the program in detail.

Thanks!

Jay
InstallMonetizer
Phone: XXXXXXXXXX

This was the answer we sent back to him:

From: TC
To: xxxxxxxx//installmonetizer.com
Sent: Wednesday, March 14, 2012 7:07 PM
Subject: Re: AOL Toolbar Partnership

Hi Jay,

We are not interested in bundling software and violating our visitor’s and subscriber’s trust. We don’t believe in putting garbage on people’s computer they don’t want and don’t need.

We find it rather odd that some of these software bundlers like yours seem to have as their purpose installing software that people otherwise wouldn’t install. If people wanted it they’d install it. I cannot imagine why anyone would use an “AOL Toolbar”. Does AOL even have any customers anymore.

Here’s something you can take back to AOL from us: If your toolbar is something people want, then you should make it available to them outside of a software bundle. Apparently nobody wants this toolbar or you wouldn’t be paying companies into tricking people into installing it.

We’re not interested in breaking our visitor’s and subscribers trust by tricking them into installing programs they don’t need and probably don’t want. When people come to our site to download our software, that’s what the get — our software. They don’t get a bundle of things they don’t want. If the software you’re bundling was desirable enough, they wouldn’t be bundling it with software that people do want.

We’re not going to trick anyone into installing anything. When people download a program they should get only the program they are downloading – not a bunch of other things.

Thanks– but no thanks.

TC & EB
Cloudeight Internet

29 thoughts on “Why Does Almost Everything You Download Have Hidden Software in It?

  1. Dawn

    Hip, hip horray! I applaud you! I just got that stupid funmoods in something and had to delete my Firefox to get rid of it! I think? Haven’t re-installed you. God bless you and your company. I have been with you for ages and always, always will!

    Reply
  2. kiwibarb

    Well, that’s telling them! Good for you! As one of your subscribers, I appreciate your attitude and your integrity.
    Barb.

    Reply
  3. Sandy

    Love your letter and the way you stood up to them!! Thanks for protecting your followers!! I love your newsletters and all of the good advice you give us!! Keep up the good work!

    Reply
  4. JIM "BONES"BONO

    GOOD FOR YOU, EB & TC. KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK. THANKS. “BONES”

    Reply
  5. Doreen

    Hi TC and EB,
    Stay sweet and honest as you are. Times are tough but people always remember those that are honest and will do their best to help those in need. If I find a site that bundles software I, like many others I am sure, avoid them and pass on a warning to my friends so they know not to go there. Unfortunately there are many people that don’t understand a great deal about computers or the Internet and these are the unfortunate ones who get caught out. I congratulate you on being honest and for letting us know that we are safe in your hands.

    Reply
  6. June Brychka

    Trust means a lot these days…and we sure appreciate your trust! Keep up the good work!!!

    Reply
  7. Damie

    I have been a subscriber for years and trust you completely…this is just one of the reasons why!! Loved your reply!!

    Reply
  8. Larry Hubble

    You remind me of Anderson Cooper’s segment on CNN, “Keeping Them Honest”. Thank you for doing what is right, and calling out others when it is clear what they are doing is wrong, and while maybe not illegal, is certainly unethical. It is good to know, especially in this day and time, that there are still people like yourself out there that can be trusted. There are many who rely on your wisdom, so keep up the good work, and thank you for all you do to make the ‘net just a little bit better place!

    Reply
  9. Barb Branca

    It’s so refreshing in this day and age to have people who are as honest and responsible as you are.
    You are so appreciated by so many people. Thanks a million for all you do for us.
    Barb

    Reply
  10. Joan G

    I say, “Amen,” to all of the replies above….And Hip, Hip, Hooray! to you TC & EB! Cloudeight is Numero Uno in my ‘book’ [img]http://smileycons.com/img/just-smileys/OK48.png[/img]

    Reply
  11. Johor

    How many new subscribers can you handle? Your display of such a high ethical standard should be enough to convince
    many more folk to sign up. I am certainly going to forward this on. Congratulations EB and TC. Love you guys.

    Reply
  12. Hermann Meyer

    That’s telling them, this bundling should be made illegal.
    It’s been going on for far to long, can’t even buy a new computer off the shelf without bring home a load trial ware, even you don’t use it pops in your face.
    First thing you’re forced into is purchase a good uninstaller just get rid of all the crap.
    Good for you guys, love you for taken a stand. Hermann.

    Reply
  13. Mary M

    WHY IN THE WORLD DID THIS EMAIL GET PUBLISHED HERE??? YES I AM UPSET.

    Reply
  14. Bob in Qld

    Good on ya, TC& EB,
    as a longtime member, I have always admired your integrity & honesty, even when faced with economic hardship. You are Champions.
    Bob

    Reply
  15. Muriel S.

    I admire and respect your integrity. Thanks for sharing this email exchange with us and continually renewing the trust and loyalty your readers and members have given you. More importantly, you’ve worked hard to earn it honestly, and sacrificed to keep it. Thank you both.

    Muriel

    Reply
  16. sidnee

    you guys are like a breath of fresh spring air..full of promise and hope for the future.

    Reply
  17. Debb R.

    I commend your honesty, and integrity. Too few companies now days care anything at all for what their customers want and only care about the money; no matter the cost to others. Been with you since the beginning …. for a reason! 😉 Thanks for “everything” you do.

    Reply
  18. DiggerP

    Hi,
    I come here with a different perspective.
    While I appreciateyour approach and consideration for your visitors and customers,it’s certainly not in your financial interest.
    Just wondering how much consideration the visitors and customers have in return.
    Freeware is NOT free.Before you can get it there was a considerable cost involved with it.Hours and hours of programming time.Website hosting- and server costs and many other incidental expenses.
    I can well understand the reason why small freeware authors use the bundling to supplement their meager income.
    Left up to me ,I wouldn’t object to you bundling your software with toolbars etc.,provided of course it’s not malicious software.
    I know how to deal with this.So long as you inform your customers why you are doing it and how to deal with it or uninstall the add-ons if required.
    It’s my experience that a lot of people are very selfish that way and have no consideration for the software author ,so long as THEY get it for FREE.
    BTW -I’m not a programmer nor software author.
    I could write an article how to deal with unwanted add-ons
    and still benefit the author so he/she still gets paid for each “install”.

    Reply
  19. Janet Y

    This is too funny! Brought back memories. In the early 90’s when I first started on the Internet I like many used AOL. When the need came to call tech support what a hoot! I would get so frustrated. I finally said to the “techie” just pretend you are home using your computer “what would you DO”? Shocked when the answer was, I do not have a computer at home. Nuf said at that point I knew it was time to move on! TC & EB continued thanks for all your support and caring. You more than have earned all our trust!

    Reply
  20. S.M. Corbin

    Thank you! I wish everyone who is asked to bundle other software would respond in a like manner. It is outrageous that this kind of thing continues to happen.

    Reply
  21. Enid Webb

    Thank you TC & EB..That is why I continue to belong to your site…because you can be trusted to look out for what you believe in and therefore continue to be of great benefit to members like me…again thank you.

    Reply
  22. DeeDee

    Hello Info Ave & Cloudeight,
    I am a long time subscriber of yours also, and as you can see by my email address: I use AOL free & their webserver to access my mail! My Mother was a paid dial up customer of their’s for years and I lived with her at that time, so I had no choice but to use AOL (thumbs down)and we had their software installed on our desktops for years! Their software leaves a lot to be desired for sure, and when I moved out I uninstalled their software in a NEW YORK MINUTE! I have Comcast Internet service as I live with my daughter, and it isn’t dial up but even using AOL’s we server to access my mail is not to be desire as it deleted so many of important emails and causes me to scream at the computer, I decided to get an Gmail account so I will begin to slowing change email addresses on sites I subscribe to, Company’s I have accounts with etc… I hate AOL and as you said does anybody even use them anymore well I loved that LOL! My Mother got so upset with AOL and Cancelled her subscription many years ago, as most of the time she couldn’t get online or there was some kind of problem all the time with their Software & yes their are a lot of sneaky Compamys installed these Toolbars, BHO’s, and other junk. For instance my PC crashed last year, and I had to reinstall the operating system, so now when I do the Beclearc (sp), it has found about 80 toolbars, BHO’s, helpers & Add-ons it is unreal(of which to say the least) I have not included myself when I downloaded programs that it is causing hung app errors all the time in Internet Explorer and I am at my Wits End as I can not find these things to uninstall/delete them! Any help on getting rid of all of these would be greatly appreciate? I printed the list out and it is 2 pages long. I have went to msconfig, looked in my registry etc…Oops I meant Regedit. Needless to say I can’t find them or if I find a couple they are shared and I am not sure if I should delete them or not? I do have a bad sector in my Hard Drive so I am either going to get another hard drive or get a MAC, as I am still a Windows XPSP3, and IE 8 anyway I did a scan on Microsoft’s site and it tells me my PC is not Windows 7 capable, so that means I can install the latest Internet Explorer or Windows Live Essentials! I know MAC’s are good & safer as I am commenting to you from my iPhone my daughter bought me for my Birthday in December,and I love it. No issues at all except in the debug console company’s trying to store information comes up on their, but Apple will not let them just love it. You know the old saying ” you get what you pay for” well that is where MAC comes in! You see last year when my PC crashed I am assuming it was the bad sector in the hard drive, I have to hit Enter to get windows to load as it comes up in DOS mode with the hard drive error! I have my Pictures and My Documemts on disk backed up. I could care less about anything else if it totally dies before I either replace HD or purchase a MAC Laptop or desktop at this point. But until it dies I would love to get all that above off of it. I can’t even get Internet Explorer to work now even without add ons except via error messages hung app, so I go to the search or my favorites and open in another tab where I need to go via Alt+Enter on right click open in new tab and do what I need to do. When PC crashed last year I had all my programs open, I had downloaded the memoinfo program/meter I think you had on your site a while back & it was constantly telling me to close open programs and I would not have any open, so I am assuming it was detecting all the open programs from the Crash? That seems to reason, no I did not try to format or reformat my disk before I re-installed the OS, but doesn’t really matter since there is a bad sector in the hard drive right? Or am I wrong? I recently had spinal & neck surgery and I can’t sit at the desktop for long periods of time. But I love desktops but I want a Laptop, actually my daughter was going to buy me a New HP all Wireless last year until the credit card company that serviced Best Buy went Bye Bye and they informed customers they had to pay off balances & could not use their Best Buy credit cards anymore! Well, that is why I am still trying to salvage my old Gateway Desktop that is about 14 yrs old as my daughter it for me not long after in 1996 when I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer, anyway if it isn’t my Health it is my PC! What to do? I am totally disabled now and will be 57 this December as I was diagnosed at age 39 and only one on both sides of the family with that type cancer to date, other types in the family. Who said life is fair right, well since I have written a book now I will close with “You Guys” are the Best and I thank you for not giving in to those companys despite the kind of money you could have made! There are few and far between out there you can trust anymore. I have trust issues about or with people/doctors and more I should not name that starts with UNCLE if you know what I mean? My daughter had her Social Security # stolen in January & whoever stole it submitted her # with false W-2’s and/or 1099’s before she tried to file via a tax preparer in February so when they tried to submit it to IRS via Internet it kicked it back with a Code that he was told one had already been submitted and a check issued so she will not get the almost $3,000 back this year or maybe never, it is under IRS flag/investigation. She was told by them to have a Police Report done to submit to IRS but the Police told her they didn’t do reports in stolen Soc Sec #’s – HELLO keyword Stoken! Trust issues yes I shred everything but you are still not safe, big brother & anyone you have given that # to could high jack it! To boot at this time my daughters house is in Short Sell & we will be moving out next month as the person on the Mortgage with her walked away & left her holding the $1,300 a month mtge, home owners insurance & taxes. So she couldn’t afford it on her own (even though I give her $250 a month and buy my own food)to pay it so she no Mtge payments since October of last year so she called a Real Estate friend & the first couple that looked at it said they wanted it! But now we have to go Rent a place! Which my daughter just heard this week she was approved for the Rental house which is closer to where she works. Okay, I am so sorry I guess I needed to Vent, it just seems there have been no breaks for either of use now you see why I have trust issues! Even though I want go into my other trust issues due to 2 bad marriages years ago! I hope you will forgive me as I don’t know which way is up or down anymore! You are thinking this lady needs a shrink to talk to huh? Well, guess what I have one but he is not a talker unless you want to talk about Politics oh yeah then he will talk your ear off. God Bless and Bye for now. I do hope you can help with the PC stuff way up at the top of this book. I look forward to hearing from you!
    Sincerely,
    DeeDee
    (Life Goes On)

    Reply

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