Ask Jeeves Responds to Spyware Accusations
Earlier this week the Search Engine Journal published a piece about allegations by Ben Edelman that Ask Jeeves is pushing its toolbars on children and that Ask Jeeves owned toolbars and other browser add ons are using security holes to install themselves on unknowing users’ computers. Edelman explained that ““My new Ask Jeeves Toolbar Installs via Banner Ads at Kids Sites shows a misleading banner ad particularly likely to target kids. When users click on this banner, AJ neither shows nor references any license agreement. And AJ uses euphemisms like ‘accessible directly from your browser’ rather than explicitly admitting that it will install a web browser toolbar.”
Edelman also pointed out that “Over the past six months, I’ve captured a series of videos showing Ask Jeeves’ MyWay and MySearch software installed through security holes – without notice, disclosure, or consent.” In the piece Ask Jeeves toolbars were labeled as spyware or adware. Ask Jeeves mailed us this week to challenge the labeling of their toolbar software as such and Patrick Crisp, Director of Public Relations at Ask Jeeves stated the following.
“I wanted to send a quick note letting you know that we [Ask Jeeves] take industry best practices very seriously with respect to spyware, adware and consumer disclosure. Our products are not aware or spyware and do not collect any personal information, do not monitor the sites a user visits, do not monitor a user’s behavior on the Internet, do not log or track keystrokes, and do not serve or facilitate ads. And, major anti-spyware/anti-adware programs do not flag us, including those from Microsoft, AOL, Norton, McAfee, Symantec and a long list of others. In addition, Ask Jeeves does not allow nonconsensual installations of our applications and work diligently to prevent them.”
I’m expecting to speak with Ask’s SVP of Toolbar Products, John Park, this week on the matter and get his insight on why someone somewhere is using questionable techniques to place Ask Jeeves toolbars on users computers. Hopefully they will have a sound explanation and put a stop to it.