WARNING: This blog contains random thoughts on technology, software engineering, and general all-round nerdery. Read at your own risk. Nerd is contagious.

Monday, August 28, 2006

AOL 9.0 considered badware

From slashdot (comments):
"The bad news at AOL keeps coming. First they get in trouble for releasing search data on more than half a million customers, then it gives away security software with a nasty EULA, now its free client software is accused of acting like badware according to Stopbadware.org, the Google-funded rating group."

Hopefully someone at AOL will get the point. We can't claim to know what the user will or won't like. Let's offer them a service without ramming others down their throat. There's other ways to help people "discover" new products. Other similar tactics, in other companies:
  1. Would you like to supersize it for 25 cents more? (McDonald's, though they don't 'supersize' anymore)
  2. Try our 8-week free subscription to EW weekly? (Best Buy)
  3. Sign up for our Gap card today? It's 10% off!!
  4. Click here to NOT receive FREE email updates and information about our new products
It's like how you have to pay extra to 'avoid' getting telemarketed to death (yes i know about donotcall.gov). I used to think that everyone sort of knew the difference between right and wrong. These are some things that I wish every software developer would follow:
  • Your software is "invited" to a user's computer, don't abuse that trust
  • Install what you need to get your software running, no more.
  • If you are installing a systray app (or something that runs at startup), ask the user if this is ok.
  • Your "update" software shouldn't run outside of the app that you just installed.
Hopefully Vista's UAP will block things like trying to add "AOL is teh best intarnet!!1!!" links to your Favorites and Desktop. OK, rant over. I just wish we could have an official "hippocratic oath" like doctrine applied to our software, similar to this.

Go vote this up on Netscape.


Blogger nujian said...

amen brother

10:07 PM


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