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Sunday, 26 April 2009

Softpedia delisted Comodo

This is indeed happy news, even if it wasn't their choice. Alas Comodo don't seem to understand the concept of adware/spyware, so lets spell it out for them - ASK IS SPYWARE, SAFE SURF IS ADWARE! (and trying to bully those that let others know about this, isn't going to win you any points, quite the opposite).

Well, if you had searched Softpedia for Comodo in the past week, you would have surely noticed that the company’s flagship programs were no longer listed on Softpedia. This was not our decision, of course, but let’s start with the beginning.

On April, 15th, Softpedia received an official cease and desist letter from the Comodo PR team requesting us to "discontinue all references on Softpedia identifying CIS as adware" within seven days, because Comodo Internet Security is not adware.

The first thing we did was, of course, to double-check the license, but, as we’ve tried explaining to the Comodo team, CIS is indeed adware. Why? Well, for starters, because the installer attempts to change both the browser’s homepage and search engine. As if that wasn’t a good enough reason, the setup also offers to install SafeSurf. Here’s what the official Comodo letter states: "SafeSurf is optional and does not display unsolicited advertisements on a user’s computer, nor does it hijack browser settings or perform search overriding or home page changing without the user’s consent."

Aside from the fact that SafeSurf is a component that the program (CIS) does not require to fully function, therefore it alone would be a good reason to mark CIS as adware, this utility also installs Ask Toolbar without asking for the user’s permission. This type of behavior is clearly not the one described in the Comodo email and could be easily classified as spyware (since adware would imply prior user consent).

And so, after double-checking the award, we’ve replied to the Comodo email and tried explaining all of the above. Moreover, we’ve reminded them of the program’s popularity on Softpedia and its high rating from both users and our reviewers. And last, but not least, before requesting a confirmation email, we’ve underlined the fact that changing the adware components in the setup process from checked-by-default to unchecked will solve the problem without removing them from the installation.

We’ve also posted our email on Comodo’s community forums, explaining our actions to the software’s users and, because we would prefer to keep CIS on Softpedia, we’ve even offered options to the PR team. As expected, most Comodo users shared our view and disapproved of the inclusion of the components in question.

Unfortunately, neither we nor the community seem to have had any influence of the Comodo team. A week later nothing changed and, as our deadline was near and the Comodo PR team did not send us any reply to our email, we’ve decided we had no other option but to the remove the listing.

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