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NY and FTC vs adware/spyware

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Stopping Spyware at the Source The Washington Post, March 6, 2007

"During the past few months, the Federal Trade Commission has filed deceptive- advertising cases against two distributors of what is called adware or spyware."

<snip>

"The FTC move, which follows action against three large advertisers taken by New York state in January, reflects efforts by authorities to clean up the growing market for Internet marketing."

"Companies spent an estimated $16.1 billion advertising on the Web last year, up 32 percent from the year before, according to the Direct Marketing Association, a trade group. And consumers and computer companies spent $2.6 billion trying to block or remove spyware, Consumer Reports magazine said."

<snip>

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Stopping Spyware at the Source The Washington Post, March 6, 2007

<snip>

"Companies spent an estimated $16.1 billion advertising on the Web last year, up 32 percent from the year before, according to the Direct Marketing Association, a trade group. And consumers and computer companies spent $2.6 billion trying to block or remove spyware, Consumer Reports magazine said."

<snip>

This is an odd juxtaposition. It makes it sound as though the 2.6bn is being spent to try to stop the stuff paid for by the 16bn, which I don't think is the case.

I have to imagine that the vast bulk of the 16bn is spent on normal clickthru ads and the like, nothing at all to do with spyware. Part of the 16bn may also be spent on (legitimate, non-spammy) e-mail advertising, which is not "on the web" (but try explaining that point to the average reporter).

The 2.6bn, on the other hand, is being spent to fight clandestine, invasive activity that may be criminal in nature. So, this 2.6bn is really a cost to society of a few individuals' criminal activity (much as is the case with e-mail spam). If the press and (more importantly) the justice system could focus on this, we'd be better off.

-- rick

Edited by rconner

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