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Gator Forces Site To Remove 'Spyware' Label 927

lurker412 writes "CNet News is reporting that Gator has forced PC Pitstop to remove Web pages that call Gator's software 'spyware.' The correct term, according to Gator, is 'adware.' The article states: 'If we find anyone publicly calling us spyware, we correct it and take action if necessary,' said Scott Eagle, Gator's senior vice president of marketing. So be careful what you say in your comments..."
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Gator Forces Site To Remove 'Spyware' Label

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  • Me first (Score:5, Funny)

    by setzman ( 541053 ) <stzman.stzmanple ... sandremoveit@org> on Wednesday October 22, 2003 @08:31PM (#7286159) Journal
    I, setzman, say that Gator is spyware. btw, First Post!!
    • Re:Me first (Score:5, Funny)

      by rolling_rox ( 690973 ) on Wednesday October 22, 2003 @08:34PM (#7286178) Homepage
      I don't like to use the term spyware, I prefer the term "Crapware"
      • Re:Me first (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Oopsz ( 127422 ) on Wednesday October 22, 2003 @08:37PM (#7286221) Homepage
        Great idea.

        No, think about it. They can claim their product doesn't "Spy", but when it comes to arguments about its crap-like qualities, they haven't a foot to stand on.
        • Re:Me first (Score:3, Funny)

          by wheany ( 460585 )
          Now what does google think? [googlism.com]

          gator is fiery and passionate the top gator is fiery and

          gator is fucking bollocks
          gator is not hiding out somewhere
          gator is back up
          gator is a software product that can automatically fill in passwords and other form
          gator is infringing our copyrights and trademarks
          gator is able to paste ads of the same dimensions on top of the banner ads being used on popular sites such as yahoo
          gator is evil
          gator is on the go
          gator is doing the business western geophysical has contracted concept sys

      • Re:Me first (Score:5, Informative)

        by Thuktun ( 221615 ) on Wednesday October 22, 2003 @08:58PM (#7286464) Homepage Journal
        I don't like to use the term spyware, I prefer the term "Crapware"

        In my opinion, it's more accurately termed "crappy spyware with intrusive popups", but I can see why they'd want to call it "adware" instead.

        RoboForm [roboform.com] is much better and isn't adware, spyware, or anything similar. It even imports Gator's stored information, though I'm not sure why you'd need much of an incentive to move away from Gator.

        (I'm not affiliated with Siber Systems, the maker of RoboForm, I'm just a *VERY* happy user.)
      • specifically, the pop-under-autoinstalls, i'd like calling them underwear
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 22, 2003 @08:54PM (#7286421)
      Gator is NOT spyware - to help the slashdot crowd fully understand this important point that Gator is NOT spyware I have created a helpful reminder by way of the Gator is NOT spyware URL which constantly reminds visitors to the Gator website via a reminder message that Gator is NOT spyware.

      This is the Gator is NOT spyware [cjb.net] URL...
    • Re:Me first (Score:5, Informative)

      by John Biggabooty ( 591838 ) on Wednesday October 22, 2003 @08:56PM (#7286448)
      I can't believe they gave in to such an obvious slapp suit. Calling something what it is isn't libel. Nobody agrees to install gator. A pop up appears, and people click on it to make it go away. That does not constitute an agreement.

      I am a computer tech at a small mom-and-pop TV repair and computer store. I spend most of my time cleaning up systems that have become completely useless because of spyware like, Gator, Bonzi Buddy, Xupiter, Weatherbug, Comet Cursor, the list goes on and on. Sometimes, Lavasoft Ad-aware won't get them all, and I have to use Spybot search and destroy. This crapware was turned the internet into a minefield for the non-technical, who are the majority of computer users. It is a public nusiance. The people who create this stuff are racketeers. Perhaps the people behind all this crapware believe that computers are meant for the techno-elite, and never should have reached the masses. If their goal is to make millions give up on computers, they may be succesful. If only the techno-elite used computers, I would be out of a job, but I might be happier. Cleaning this crap off of hard drives because people need their data instead of just formatting them and reinstalling is making me CRAZY!!

      • Re:Me first (Score:5, Insightful)

        by yintercept ( 517362 ) on Wednesday October 22, 2003 @10:07PM (#7286947) Homepage Journal
        Since the purpose of Gator is to give the marketers of Gator control of the end user's machines, why doesn't Gator just add some code to their program to prevent its users from seeing sites that tell the end user what Gator is.

        Gator is spyware. They have a history of using drive by installs and misleading ads and trojan programs all designed with the purpose of making profiles of end users and manipulating the end user's browsing behavior.

        This lawsuit is nothing but a stupid little word game played by shysters in a pathetic attempt to legitimize their game. They are like the spammers who put an opt out button in the spam with the idea that the opt out button legitimizes the spam.

        Oh well, I hope slashdot and all of the users who responded to this post are ready to defend their free speach in a Gatorific round of lawsuits. I have looked at Gator, I've seen it in action. It is spyware.
        • Re:Me first (Score:5, Informative)

          by aldousd666 ( 640240 ) on Wednesday October 22, 2003 @11:31PM (#7287476) Journal
          Not to mention that you can't uninstall gator by normal means. The %ProgramFiles%\Common Files\CMEII\ directory is hard to find if you're joe user, and oh, is that on purpose that the registry keys for gator.com don't disappear after I uninstall? Oh that's right, according to the Terms of service, those are 'enhancement technologies' and they don't necessarily get removed during the uninstall.. Interestingly enough, this information is listed under the 'Right to Remove' section in the Terms [gator.com] Huh!?!
      • Re:Me first (Score:4, Interesting)

        by TrombaMarina ( 712932 ) on Wednesday October 22, 2003 @10:45PM (#7287200)

        I spent 2.5 days last Christmas trying to remove all the crap that Gator and it's buddy the ad-downloader put on my in-laws system. The family that "agreed" to install this "legitimate" software had a difficult time understanding what it did even after I explained it to them several times. Their hard drive was full, and half of it was from adware that Gator downloaded. The system was so slow as to be almost unusable.

        One person on our team of 6 tech support people at work was a full-time Gator uninstaller last year until we upgraded to virus protection which blocked it. That's how bad it was.

        Gator may not be spying, but it is a malicious intruder, a trojan horse that pours out a malitia of bogus advertisement software under the guise of "helping" people by providing their personal information to any web page that asks for it (a pretty sobering thought by itself). I'd call it mal-ware after the word, "Malicious".

        Like SCO, Gator masquerades as something that it's not - a legitimate company with a legitimate product. It is therefore very difficult to do anything about it legally. Somebody, somewhere is supporting this company. Maybe we can petition them to stop?

      • Re:Me first (Score:3, Interesting)

        Hey Tv repair guy - why not extract the data files off of the drives, then wipe them, reload the OS, then reload the data? Data files normally don't contain viruses and aren't executable anyway, and most of the startup crap for the spyware is in the registry (which wiping will remove).

        The only drawback is loading applications - but in most cases this can be accomplished easily on OEM boxes (the type of boxes most niave users buy) with a few CDs now-a-days...

        I think you make a good point about the spyware
    • Re:Me first (Score:3, Informative)

      It's Spyware. The bastards admit it themselves. On their FRONT PAGE [gator.com]:

      This software also occasionally displays various forms of pop up ads in a separate window on users' computer screens.

      These GAIN ads are displayed based on the interests of the computer user as reflected by their web surfing behavior and are not sponsored or endorsed by the web pages being viewed.

      They've got a bloody cheek suggesting otherwise.

    • Re:Me first (Score:3, Funny)

      by EvilAlien ( 133134 )
      I can't get Gator spyware for my Linux desktop, you insensitive clod.
    • Me Second (Score:5, Funny)

      by CleverNickName ( 129189 ) * <wil@wilw[ ]ton.net ['hea' in gap]> on Wednesday October 22, 2003 @10:52PM (#7287248) Homepage Journal
      Dear Gator,

      Gator is Spyware, you fuckers. Spyware. Spyware. Spyware.

      Please send me a nastygram. My career is stalled, and I could really use the publicity.


      Wil Wheaton
      Linux weenie who doesn't even use your crappy SPYware.

      PS- It's spyware.
      • Please send me a nastygram.

        I'm afraid I can't speak for Gator but I can assure you there is no shortage of trolls who are perfectly willing to accomodate your wish.
      • Re:Me Second (Score:4, Insightful)

        by taernim ( 557097 ) * on Thursday October 23, 2003 @01:55AM (#7288142) Homepage
        Write it on WWDN and they might take more notice than just a comment on /. ;)
      • Re:Me Second (Score:3, Informative)

        I have yet to meet anyone running Gator who knew they were running Gator. The last time it showed up on my Windows machine, I had just visited one of those dodgy sites you reach when you type a URL in wrong. It kept popping up a dialog box saying "Do you want to install somethingorother" (with a certificate from Gator corp) and I kept clicking "no" over and over again and it still somehow ended up installed on my machine.

        I found it installed on my dad's machine last month. He had no idea how those mysterio
  • I publicly declare Gator Software IS SpyWare. Now... Come get me!
    • According to dictionary.com
      Gator is short for alligator.

      Gator is...
      A large carnivorous reptile of the Crocodile family, peculiar to America. It has a shorter and broader snout than the crocodile, and the large teeth of the lower jaw shut into pits in the upper jaw, which has no marginal notches. Besides the common species of the southern United States, there are allied species in South America.

      I believe that's an appropriate name for the company. Spyware they are. They take info, sell it to advertise

  • Because I say so.

    And just because I say it's funny doesn't make it a troll either.
  • by User 956 ( 568564 ) on Wednesday October 22, 2003 @08:34PM (#7286180) Homepage
    What if we call it snoopware? shitware? How about "fucks-up-your-computer-and- makes-it-run-slower-ware"?
  • It's spyware. It's not particularly sneaky spyware, but spyware nonetheless.

  • by digitalsushi ( 137809 ) * <slashdot@digitalsushi.com> on Wednesday October 22, 2003 @08:34PM (#7286184) Journal
    Gat0r is spyware. Ha ha! Can't get me! Fooled you! Neener neener neener! ... *sigh* it's so lonely in my parent's basement. *sniff*
  • Gator's tactics border on criminal. I kept getting popups asking to install Gator's software and I continually say no. If someone keeps calling me on the phone, I can have my telco block the number. But there is no such service from ISP's at this time.
    • Re:on permban (Score:4, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 22, 2003 @08:37PM (#7286218)
      Sure there is. Just re-route Gator's servers to in your HOSTS file.
    • Sure there is! Software or browsers that block pop-ups are quite common. And, yep, ISPs (e.g., Earthlink) even provide such software. Oh yeah, and Gator is spyware!
    • Privoxy should be able to block it.
    • Re:on permban (Score:2, Informative)

      by KMAPSRULE ( 639889 )
      Mozilla 1.4+ has a nifty popup blocker
    • Re:on permban (Score:3, Informative)

      by L7_ ( 645377 )
      I think people misunderstood what the parent poster was saying. Its not that he has Gator's Software installed on his machine, its just that Internet Explorer KEEPS ASKING HIM TO INSTALL IT OVER AND OVER AND OVER again until he says yes, every time he visits a page (not site, but page!) that would make a reference call to Gator's software. The popup isnt an advertisement, it is a system popup asking him to install the software.

      Note that this is no less intrusive than pages that have Macromedia Flash on the
  • I am not full of shit... I am a biological waste orator.
  • Gator = Spyware (Score:4, Insightful)

    by citizenc ( 60589 ) <cary@glidedesi g n . ca> on Wednesday October 22, 2003 @08:35PM (#7286188) Journal
    Does it spy on me? Yes. Is it software? Yes. Therefore, Gator = Spyware.

    • Re:Gator = Spyware (Score:5, Insightful)

      by B.D.Mills ( 18626 ) on Wednesday October 22, 2003 @09:08PM (#7286538)
      I agree.

      I feel that software is "spyware" if it meets the following tests:

      1. Does the software install itself without the user's knowledge or consent?
      2. Does it monitor user behaviour of any kind?
      3. Does it do this monitoring without the user's consent?

      EULAs of other software that has the spyware as a bundle that mention the forced installation of bundled third-party software do not satisfy the consent requirements in (1). IANAL, but I feel that a clause in an EULA that requires a user to enter into a contractual arrangement with an unknown third party is invalid.

      For (2), monitoring on its own is not sufficient. It also has to send back information to an external host. However, for the purposes of (2), any encrypted communications to the Internet counts as monitoring until proven otherwise (what is the software doing that requires encryption?)

      For (3), it's not sufficient to have this in the EULA, and especially so if the user is not presented with the EULA or the software otherwise installs surreptitiously as defined in (1). EULAs cannot be enforced if the user is not given the opportunity to read them.

      If Gator meets these 3 tests, it's spyware. Whether it has other functions that allow it to be called "adware" is irrelevant.

    • Gator IS Spyware. My right to free speech allow me as an individual to say that. So I'll say it again.
      Gator IS Spyware. I can also say that Bush is a dick if I want. Maybe he is, maybe he isn't, but I can say that.

      You get to decide whether you believe me or not. That's why using our own brains is so important.
  • I guess we should call it "Not Spyware"

    I was thinking about "gatorware" but I don't want to give out free advertising to Gator and it is probably a trademark infringement.
  • Gator is Spyware (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mrpuffypants ( 444598 ) * <mrpuffypants&gmail,com> on Wednesday October 22, 2003 @08:35PM (#7286196)
    Gator claims that their software isn't spyware because people are told about what they are installing. Yes, they are told that they are installing Gator but that's it. I'm pretty sure that even my grandmother would click NO to installing a "persistent, targeted advertising and consumer tracking system" onto her computer.

    So while technically they are correct they should also realise that they are sleazebags who sleep with SCO. There. That should piss them off.

    Oh, and P.S.: Gator is Spyware. Ha!
  • but eventually, the phrase "cute monkey"will be understood by all to mean "rabid 900 pound ball crushing gorilla". It dosent really matter in the long run.
  • Anyone can call software what they want. Maybe if your are a corporation you have to be careful, but the rest of us incl. the press can call Gator's offering Crab, Spyware or whatever.

    If they try to censor any private person you will end up being the proud owner of this POS

  • Spyware...adware...what's the difference? If it's intrusive and annoying, call it whatever you want but keep it off my system. Any company that downloads crap to my PC without my permission and then uses said access to make money off my bandwidth / attention span sucks plain and simple, regardless of how they spin it.

    Good thing I don't use Windows, I guess.
  • Well I'll gladly call Gator "Bitchware." As in, they're bitches for installing stuff on my computer without my permission (or installed, rather, back when I used Windows). So go ahead, sue me. I call it freedom of speech. If I call MS a monopoly, can they get mad at me? What about if I say they're a Nazi Fascist Organization? Still no? Is it true or accurate? No... As long as the other site wasn't making money off of "misrepresenting" Gator I don't see the issue or any legal qualm. Someone please
  • by pergamon ( 4359 )
    i know this is going to be a post filled with hundreds of these, so i might as well jump on board too:

    in my opinion, gator qualifies as what i consider to be spyware.
  • by winkydink ( 650484 ) * <sv.dude@gmail.com> on Wednesday October 22, 2003 @08:38PM (#7286228) Homepage Journal
    If you put a pig in an evening gown and take it out for the evening, it's still a pig.
    • And all you've really accomplished is pissing off the pig..
    • by Atheraal ( 710104 ) on Wednesday October 22, 2003 @09:02PM (#7286496) Homepage
      rose... not quite appropriate here... i would venture to say that the steaming pile of horse shit said rose grows in by any other name is still a steaming pile of horse shit.
      • by seanadams.com ( 463190 ) * on Wednesday October 22, 2003 @09:56PM (#7286857) Homepage
        i would venture to say that the steaming pile of horse shit said rose grows in by any other name is still a steaming pile of horse shit

        In the beginning was the plan.
        And then came the Assumptions.
        And the Assumptions were without form.
        And the Plan was without substance.
        And darkness was upon the face of the Workers.
        And they spoke among themselves, saying,
        "It is a crock of shit, and it stinketh."
        And the Workers went unto their Supervisors and said,
        "It is a pail of dung, and none may abide the odor thereof."
        And the Supervisors went unto their Managers, saying,
        "It is a container of excrement, and it is very strong,
        such that none may abide by it."
        And the Managers went unto their Directors, saying,
        "It is a vessel of fertilizer, and none may abide its strength."
        And the Directors spoke amongst themselves, saying one to another,
        "It contains that which aids plant growth, and it is very strong."
        And the Directors then went unto the Vice-Presidents, saying unto them,
        "It promotes growth, and it is very powerful."
        And the Vice-Presidents went unto the President, saying unto him,
        "This new plan will actively promote the growth and vigor
        of the company, with powerful effects."
        And the President Looked upon the Plan, and saw that it was good.
        And the Plan became Policy.
    • by MongooseCN ( 139203 ) on Wednesday October 22, 2003 @09:05PM (#7286523) Homepage
      I guess I'll have to tell Porkette things aren't going to work out...
  • vomitware
  • by sTalking_Goat ( 670565 ) on Wednesday October 22, 2003 @08:39PM (#7286253) Homepage
    Charles Manson has asked that public stop refering to the acts of his folloers as a "Murder Spree". The correct term is "existence adjustment initiative"...
  • What is Gator?
    • Spyware
    • Adware
    • Spyware that shows ads
    • Adware that spys
    • All the above
  • by LEPP ( 166342 )
    Have they come out with a Linux version of Gator? I am sure the Linux community feels left out. This might be just the thing that would cause me to fdisk my computer and reinstall windoze.

  • by Chibi Merrow ( 226057 ) <mrmerrow&monkeyinfinity,net> on Wednesday October 22, 2003 @08:39PM (#7286256) Homepage Journal
    At work we have a constant battle against Gator on user PCs as it uses deceptive messages and popups on websites to convince users to install. I have found little software that does more to make a user's PC using experience unenjoyable than Gator. Bravo, you've gone above and beyond the call of duty; most spyware simply installs itself and tracks users movements, your software pretends to provide useful functionality on top of being deceptive and displaying your customers' ads instead of the ones that rightfully belong on the site. And on top of all this it makes an already nearly unbearably (wow, alot of -ys) unstable OS (Windows) even more unusable.
    Thanks alot, Gator! You've made me look like a PC Repair genius as simply running Ad-Aware on most systems to remove the stinking heap of maggot infested goat dung your software is from a user's PC thereby speeding it up and making it crash less often!
  • ...it's not like they have a good public relation to care for. What do they have to lose?
  • from the gator.com page
    " and get the Gator eWallet with no GAIN advertising for $30."
    hahahaha what kind of person whoul PAY gator to store their financial info?
    thats really scary and funny at the same time

    comments care of Michael Roy of Winnipeg

  • Notified? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mishehu ( 712452 ) on Wednesday October 22, 2003 @08:41PM (#7286288)
    Some web pages try to install Gator/GAIN and notify you of it (which most windows users ignore, because that would require READING), but when you install programs like Kazaa and other "free programs", Gator/GAIN, PrecisionTime, Date Manager, $avenow, and a half dozen other spyware programs can be installed and you are NEVER informed of it. So, I will continue to call Gator "spyware", and if they'd like to sue me, I hope they can hope to squeeze water out of a rock. ;-)

    Also, I hope Gator reads this, so they know how much we hate them. But maybe I should thank them for generating extra business for me to remove their program from clients' computers.

  • New Term: (Score:5, Funny)

    by Cytlid ( 95255 ) on Wednesday October 22, 2003 @08:42PM (#7286301)
    Assholeware - companies that produce spyware and then insist that noone calls it as such.
  • I thought the correct technical term was "scumware" -- guess I fell behind the times.
  • GATOR IS SPYWARE (Score:3, Informative)

    by trelanexiph ( 605826 ) on Wednesday October 22, 2003 @08:44PM (#7286328) Homepage
    from: GAINware 5.0 [gatoradver...etwork.com]

    Here's what we do know...
    While we don't know the identity of GAIN-Supported Software users, the GAIN AdServer and TGC collect and use the following kinds of anonymous information:
    • Some of the Web pages viewed
    • The amount of time spent at some Web sites Response to GAIN Ads
    • Standard web log information (excluding IP Addresses) and system settings
    • What software is on the personal computer
    • First name, country, city, and five digit ZIP code
    • Non-personally identifiable information on Web pages and forms
    • Software usage characteristics and preferences

    so you track who we are (list item 6, and 7 different list items of data about us, including what kind of computer we have, where we surf, what software we use to go there and configuration information on our computers.) YOU ARE SPYING ON US.
    spy [reference.com]
    n. pl. spies (spz)
    1. An agent employed by a state to obtain secret information, especially of a military nature, concerning its potential or actual enemies.
    2. One employed by a company to obtain confidential information about its competitors.
    3. One who secretly keeps watch on another or others.
    4. An act of spying.

      for those who are illiteratei among us, please check the third definition.
      Thus I declare that you (Gator) are manufactures and purveyors of spyware onto the masses.
    • by sholden ( 12227 )
      Except of course for the word "secretly" in that definition. It's hardly a secret, since it is stated in a nice bulleted list in the EULA.
  • by 3Suns ( 250606 ) on Wednesday October 22, 2003 @08:48PM (#7286364) Homepage
    Here's a quote from GAIN's privacy policy:

    Here's what we do know...
    While we don't know the identity of GAIN-Supported Software users, the GAIN AdServer and TGC collect and use the following kinds of anonymous information:

    * Some of the Web pages viewed
    * The amount of time spent at some Web sites
    * Response to GAIN Ads
    * Standard web log information (excluding IP Addresses) and system settings
    * What software is on the personal computer
    * First name, country, city, and five digit ZIP code
    * Non-personally identifiable information on Web pages and forms
    * Software usage characteristics and preferences

    Until there's some kind of legal definition of "spyware" versus "adware", I certainly would classify it as spyware. "Non-personally identifiable" my ass... if someone snuck into my house and found out all that information about me, I wouldn't call it "advertising". Stealing a company's non-personally identifiable trade secrets is spying. Stealing non-personally identifiable documents from a classified government facility is spying.

    Still, given the persistent, near un-uninstallable nature of it, think "spyware" isn't a good term... "Malware" or "Evilware" is probably more appropriate.
    • Again, from the privacy policy:

      While we don't know the identity of GAIN-Supported Software users, the GAIN AdServer and TGC collect and use the following kinds of anonymous information:

      * Some of the Web pages viewed
      * The amount of time spent at some Web sites
      * Response to GAIN Ads
      * Standard web log information (excluding IP Addresses) and system settings
      *What software is on the personal computer
      *First name, country, city, and five digit ZIP code


  • by primus_sucks ( 565583 ) on Wednesday October 22, 2003 @08:53PM (#7286405)
    I don't know what everyone is complaining about. According to there homepage you get FREE software (often valued at up to $30!!!). Here are the apps you get:

    Weatherscope provides easy access to local temperature and extended weather forecasts. Taking a trip? Weatherscope gives you the current and future conditions!

    Cool, no more endless searching of weather.com!

    Precision Time - Make sure your computer clock always has the correct time. Synchronize your computer clock with one of the world's most precise timekeeping devices - the U.S. Atomic Clock.

    Awesome! I hate being .0006566547866787 pico seconds late for meetings!

    Date Manager - Never miss another important date or reminder. Date Manager shows today's date in your system tray and allows you to quickly pull up a two-month calendar and set reminders.

    WOW I can't believe this is free!!!!

    Gator eWallet - The world's most popular digital wallet. The Gator eWallet automatically remembers login IDs/passwords and fills in online forms with just one click. No more lost passwords, and no more typing information such as address, email, credit card numbers, etc!

    This is great, I'm sure your data is completely secure since this software was written by such an innovative company!
    • Date Manager - Never miss another important date or reminder. Date Manager shows today's date in your system tray and allows you to quickly pull up a two-month calendar and set reminders.

      Never miss a date! Hell, I wish I could get a date!
    • Re:free software (Score:3, Informative)

      by Guppy06 ( 410832 )
      "Synchronize your computer clock with one of the world's most precise timekeeping devices - the U.S. Atomic Clock. "

      The U. S. Atomic Clock? That's pretty cute. Makes it sound like some uber-techno-gizmo locked away in some shimmering tower of steel and glass. Maybe it even uses only one atom as well, The Official U. S. Time-Keeping Atom (with 55 red electrons, 78 white neutrons and 55 blue protons.)

      But I guess "syncrhonize your clock to the one of a dozen or so of time servers (each operating off of
  • by herrvinny ( 698679 ) on Wednesday October 22, 2003 @08:53PM (#7286408)
    Tell Gator, instead of whining about it here Gator Contact Form [gatorcorporation.com] I already sent them the url of the /. discussion..
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Feedback: Tell us how we're doing or give us an idea on how to make it better.
      Partners: You'd like to propose a business relationship or learn more about our business.
      Affiliate Program: You have a question about the affiliate program. To learn more click here.

      And my personal favorite...
      Press: You'd like to schedule an interview with The Gator Corporation executives.
      Slashdot Editors? Hello?
  • by macdaddy ( 38372 ) on Wednesday October 22, 2003 @08:55PM (#7286437) Homepage Journal
    If it smells like shit, looks like shit, and tastes like shit then it's probably Gator, I mean shit.
  • by Infonaut ( 96956 ) <infonaut@gmail.com> on Wednesday October 22, 2003 @08:59PM (#7286474) Homepage Journal
    Gator did not win in court. They brought suit against PC Pitstop, and PC Pitstop reached a settlement with Gator.

    Gator is using classic bullying tactics: Keep bullying so people think you can win a fight, and they'll avoid standing up to you.

    If the definition of "spyware" is defined by the courts through analysis of popular usage, then it seems that all of the sites out there calling Gator "spyware" would be extending definition of the term to include Gator, even though Gator is not according to their own definition, "spyware".

    If Enron calls itself an honest company, and thousands of news articles and blogs declare it a dishonest company, who is right? Is Enron an honest company merely because it says it is?

    Is Gator an honest Internet citizen because it declares itself to be, as it stands in plain view red-handed?

  • Sure (Score:5, Funny)

    by roystgnr ( 4015 ) <<roystgnr> <at> <ticam.utexas.edu>> on Wednesday October 22, 2003 @09:32PM (#7286704) Homepage
    The correct term, according to Gator, is 'adware.'

    And hillbillies prefer to be called 'sons of the soil'. But it ain't gonna happen.
  • by Compulawyer ( 318018 ) on Wednesday October 22, 2003 @09:43PM (#7286787)
    Sayeth the article:

    In an effort to improve its corporate reputation, adware company Gator has launched a legal offensive to divorce its name from the hated term "spyware"--and so far its strategy is paying off.

    Ok - the basis for my opinion:

    Gator's lawsuit is based on libel law. For a statement to be libelous, generally, it must meet the following requirements:

    • Contain an statement of fact;
    • Such statement of fact must be false;
    • Such false statement of fact must be published (that is, transmitted to a party other than the speaker of the statement or the subject of the statement) in a fixed medium;
    • Such statement must be intended to cause damage to the subject; and
    • Such statement must actually cause damage.

    Now, defenses to libel include:

    • Truth; and
    • Opinion.
    Allegedly libelous statements are not actionable if they are mere statements of opinion. Statements that cause damage (no matter how much damage!) are not actionable if the statement is true. Now here's the sleazy part: Gator is taking it upon itself to provide a definition of "spyware," claiming its software does not meet that definition, and suing for libel. Implicit in the the claim is that the statement that Gator software is "spyware" is the claim that the label "spyware" is false because it does not meet the definition of the term that Gator provided.

    Did you catch that? Your statement is false because it does not match the definition of the term that Gator likes. Never mind the possibility that the term was coined by others and may have a meaning that matches what the software actually does. Gator does not like the way a negative term is being applied to its software so it will try to change the definition of the term.

    This tactic is often used in advertising. Perfect example is when telephone companies claim their rates are lower than rates of a competitor and in the fine print you find out that their definition of a competitor's rate is the rate that competitor charges at the crack of noon on the highest call volume day of the year to a point exactly opposite you on the planet with the CEO of the company personally connecting the call for you. I know my example exaggerates (maybe not that much!) but what the hell, it's an example.

    Whether or not the law warrants this type of suit, I personally think it is a sleazy business tactic to try to improve your company's image by using lawsuits to silence critics. There are laws (anti-SLAPP laws - SLAPP stands for Strategic Litigation Against Public Participation) that are designed to let judges throw out libel suits designed to silence critics.

    Last time I checked, the commonly accepted definition of "spyware" fit the Gator program perfectly. I understand it to be software that collects information about you (with or without your permission) in the background. If Gator doesn't like the way it's products are labeled or perceived, I think it should advertise or maybe change its business model, but definitely not sue to silence critics expressing their opinions.

    • There are laws (anti-SLAPP laws - SLAPP stands for Strategic Litigation Against Public Participation) that are designed to let judges throw out libel suits designed to silence critics.

      Only in ENLIGHTENED states, alas. At a guess, either they are not suing people in California, or the sued parties don't know how easily that they could give Gator a quick adult circumcision. :)

  • Move Sig (Score:5, Funny)

    by theonetruekeebler ( 60888 ) on Wednesday October 22, 2003 @09:43PM (#7286788) Homepage Journal
    So for the next couple of weeks, a new Slashdot sig.
  • by dmoen ( 88623 ) on Wednesday October 22, 2003 @10:00PM (#7286889) Homepage
    Gator is pissing in the wind. A google search reveals thousands more web sites that equate Gator == SpyWare.

    Gator is a menace to the internet, and I'm talking about measureable economic damage. One of my employer's clients (I'm in the network security business) found that 18% of their internet bandwidth was being sucked up by Gator. We sold them a solution, of course.

    Blocking Gator's spyware is big business. Corporate customers are eager for solutions, and lots of companies are selling them. The term "spyware" is not going to go away as long as Gator's evil behaviour continues to create a big market for spyware removal and blocking software.

    Gator can threaten to sue people of course, but since they are clearly the ones engaged in criminal behaviour, not the anti-spyware firms, I really don't believe Gator can come out on top in the long term.

    So there.
    Doug Moen.

  • I am for one, completely offended that all of you bash Gator 24/7. Gator was designed to put targeted ads to the user, meaning consumers get exactly what they want.
    From the continued use of Gator, it has developed an accurate profile, and the ads I receive are of premium interest to me. I have made many successful online purchases from the reliable, well-established companies that advertise through GAIN.
    To all those reading this message, I would like you to know that the programmers of Gator worked long, hard hours to design this software, and you should be very thankful that the corporation allows you do download it free of charge, which is worth clearly more than the Suggested Retail Price of US $30.
    All in all GAIN is a very useful form of targeted advertising, and represents a huge leap in positive, productive media and computer technology in the 20th-21st Century.

    Sincerely as OJ Simpon's Court Statements,
    Some shitbag PR/Actor/Marketing Major that was paid a lot to say all this crap... err... I mean...
    Joe Average User

The rich get rich, and the poor get poorer. The haves get more, the have-nots die.