I wrote following piece about so-called Scumware some time ago, when many responsible Internet Marketers were rightfully expressing their concerns too. Scumware has not gone away, so I am reprinting it to summarise those concerns and explain what you can do to try and put a stop to it.
(Note: some of programs/sites listed below may now have cleaned up their act, whilst other programs - not listed - may have taken their place. Do visit at least one of resources listed at end of piece to learn more about current scumware-situation.)
TopText, Surf+, Gator... so-called Scumware
Phew! These last few weeks have seen a lot of e-mails about topic of so-called 'Scumware' - software that allows sites to advertise on *your* site without your say-so, and without any financial benefit to you. Apologies if you've read too much about this already, but for those who have yet to read about 'Scumware' or want to know more about how to stop it, this piece is for you.
Basically, if you own or operate a website, chances are many of your visitors are being "stolen" by your competitors even as I write this! It is possible RIGHT NOW that when a visitor visits your site, they can be shown banners, highlighted keywords, or other forms of paid advertisement, without your knowledge and without any benefit to you.
How is this possible? Through use of programs that have recently come to be known as "scumware".
Programs such as Gator, TopText and Surf+
These programs use proprietary software to track web surfer's usage patterns AND YOUR site content and serve up ads they have sold to your competitors that display directly over - in form of popups - or even directly ON - in form of keywords hyperlinked to other advertiser's sites - your website.
Here are some quotes I've been reading from other concerned website owners and e-mail publishers:
* "has potential to eat up your profits faster than anything else!" * "this is a blatant violation of copyright, pure unadulterated theft, and downright reprehensible behavior"
The over-riding message is this:
"Please make sure you read about 'Scumware' and do anything within your power to help stop it."
I am writing this piece to alert readers of [my newsletter] Promote! Promote! Promote!. I have stopped promoting Gator, and will not promote any site that uses this type of predatory advertising.