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Defend TradeDoubler!

How DARE an antispyware company accuse TradeDoubler of cookie-misuse!?


TradeDoublerIf you'd asked me a few years ago what I thought of Spybot Search and Destroy, I'd have said it was GOOD. The thing is, Spybot Search and Destroy is a well-known anti-spyware software package, and it has been known to be able to get rid of a variety of bad things!

The problem started when Spybot Search and Destroy started getting rid of good things. It's a bit like the Spanish Inquisition, starting out with the intent of doing good and upholding righteousness, but ending up cruelly persecuting people and making decidedly dodgy moralistic judgements based on a puritanical ethos.

Sad to have to admit it, but Spybot Search and Destroy seems to have gone that way. I found out when I discovered that it was banning TradeDoubler!

Now let's get this in proportion: TradeDoubler is NOT spyware! TradeDoubler is an honest affiliate marketing company. Affiliate marketing may use cookies, but cookies aren't used by TradeDoubler for spying. It's a bit like the way a train company uses tickets to make sure passengers have paid their fare. And yet, according to Spybot Search and Destroy, "TradeDoubler... use Tracking Cookies in order to track the users' surfing habits on their websites". Well, no, they don't. As I responded: "TradeDoubler do not use cookies to track users' surfing habits. They use cookies to determine which affiliates are to be paid. This means that the small people get their honest pay, and the big corporate merchants have to pay for advertising rather than getting away with not paying. It's only fair. You can ask them if you like".

Affiliate marketing is an honest business, and although not all affiliates behave exactly in a saintly manner, the fact is that MOST affiliates deserve to be paid and not to have their pay taken away because some fundamentalists want to lump everything together and tar everyone with the same brush.

Also, not only have Spybot Search and Destroy destroyed my pay because of the fundamentalist policies, but also they have prevented me from logging on to TradeDoubler's official site. What makes this worse is that the list of things banned and excluded was HIDDEN. Ironically, this is a bit like the behaviour of some nasty spyware! The spyware had censored the Internet and prevented AVG being looked at. To see more about this, see AVG Censored

Then again, you expect spyware to behave in a way which is BAD. What you don't expect is for antispyware to behave like that. This is getting as stupid as another sickness of the age, where the honest folk have more to fear from counter-terrorism than they do from terrorism.

Now bearing in mind that Spybot Search and Destroy had inserted various things without my knowledge into Mozilla Firefox cookie exclusions, I started examining what other things had been added. I was shocked at what I found, and it makes reading similar to when I unpicked the code of a virus and published the list of banks (web page titles) which the rogues were trying to hack into by phishing, presumably to steal people's money! If you'd like to see the list of banks hacked you can see it here. I tried to warn the banks, but it was not worthwhile. They don't listen.

Another annoying thing about Spybot Search and Destroy: In addition to meddling in the internals of browser options without my consent, they also had a rather odd policy on licensing. This only came out after a polite discussion with them to try to find out if it was they, or some other company, who had software which had censored out TradeDoubler. To be fair, they did confess it, but then went on to ask for money for a CORPORATE LICENCE. The thing is, Spybot Search and Destroy has for years been free for personal use. However, as soon as anyone pays you and you're not working for nothing, you instantly count as CORPORATE. Well, no, I'm not paying for something which is not fit for purpose. Also, I consider they are being somewhat ungrateful as I have been giving them a free link from the Anti-Spyware page for years on the assumption that they were doing us all favours. It's a bit like the ideas of Linux, where many places get free links because they are genuinely improving life for humanity.

However, when SpyBot Search and Destroy turned out to ban TradeDoubler and accused TradeDoubler of being spyware when it plainly IS NOT, their link was removed from the Anti-Spyware page! Of course you may still visit Spybot Search and Destroy if you wish, as I have left the web addresses published in plain text on the page. It's just that in my opinion they don't deserve a free link!

Now let's see what else Spybot Search and Destroy has started censoring out, blocking, etc. Please avoid reading the list if you are easily offended, as, unsurprisingly it contains various things which are very naughty and some of which there may be a good case for needing to block. Annoyingly the list contains some honest affiliate marketing companies and their tracking systems, all lumped in with all the decidedly questionable stuff!

I got this list by inspecting the Mozilla Firefox Tools/Options/Privacy/Cookies/Exceptions. If you're wondering where the list has been hidden so it is secret from any search/find etc, it's in the Registry under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings\P3P\History\ ... but beware, Don't go changing things in the Registry unless you are sure you know what you are doing AND you keep a backup.

The list of banned / blocked / cookie censored sites begins (with annotations) ...

180solutions.com
188movie.com
217.73.66.16
2every.net
40plus-wives.com
4tube.com
5-best.info
66.220.17.154
9991.com
ad.yieldmanager.com
ad08.focalink.com
adbrite.com
adbureau.com
adioserrores.com
admonitor.com
adrevolver.com
ads.admodus.com
ads.easyad.info
ads.enliven.com
ads.k8l.info
adserver.com
adserver.matchcraft.com
adult-empire.com
adultadworld.com
advertising.com
adviva.com
adviva.net
adyea.com
affiliatefuel.com
after40ladys.com
after40vids.com
afterhourteens.com
allertaminacce.com
alltiettantivirus.com
antivir2007.com
antivirusaskeladd.com
antiviruspcsuite.com
antivirusscherm.com
anyofus.com
apmebf.com
- This is one of the tracking link systems for Commission Junction, simply to make sure people are paid for their honest work.
appealcircuit.com
arenaporno.com
atdmt.com
atlantistube.com
aulde.net
avsystemcare.com
ayb.lop.com
azkempire.com
azoogleads.com
babespornmag.com
balotierra.com
bamnner.casinolasvegas.com
bangbros1.com
banners.searchingbooth.com
bargain-buddy.net
bazookavideos.com
bdsmlines.com
bestgirlxxx.com
besthardcoreclips.com
bfast.com
- This is a tracking link for the old BeFree affiliate marketing system.
bis.180solutions.com
bloodandboobs.com
bluemountain.com
bluestreak.com
boobfrog.com
brandibelle.com
brilliantdigital.com
brutalxvideos.com
bugdoctor.com
burstmedia.com
burstnet.com
casalemedia.com
casinoblasters.com
casinodelrio.com
casinoking.com
casinolasvegas.com
casinopays.com
casinosolei.com
casinotropez.com
- Well, if you want to visit a casino, it's up to you! This one, Casino Tropez, was on the Gambling page with other Online Casinos
centrport.com
cityoforgasm.net
clickagents.com
clickbank.net
- I have some criticism of ClickBank. However, depriving affiliates of commission isn't helping anyone. It just lets the merchants keep the money they were supposed to pay for advertising, and then it reduces the chance the links remain.
clickcash.com
clubdicecasino.com
codysmovies.com
cometcursors.com
commission-junction.com
- Note: Another entirely unfair censorship, this time of Commission Junction here.
config.180solutions.com
coremetrics.com
cpxinteractive.com
crbanner.casinopays.com
dailypornmag.com
darkbdsm.com
dickvsclit.net
directtrack.com
dirtytinypussy.com
dongerbrothers.com
doubleclick.com
doubleclick.net
downloadmax.net
downloads.180solutions.com
emjcd.com
engage.com
enigmasoftwaregroup.com
ero-advertising.com
errclean.com
errorfri.com
errorout.com
errorskydd.com
errorsoshi.com
exactsearchbar.com
excite.com
- Excite.com is a Search Engine!!!
exoclick.com
extrahotx.net
fastadvert.com
fastclick.com
fastclick.net
fickenisgeil.de
flirt4free.com
flycast.com
fpctraffic2.com
fresh-sex.net
freshgirls.com
frontpagecash.com
fuckersucker.com
fuckfuckvids.com
fuckinghotmovies.com
fuckthislady.net
fucktosky.com
galleries100.com
gamingpromo.com
gator.com
- This, Gator, did come in for some criticism.
gayspornmag.com
gimmemyporn.com
girlshero.com
goclick.com
goldenpalace.com
goldpix.org
grandonline.com
grannypussypics.com
greatteengirl.com
hardcorepornmag.com
hitbox.com
hitboxcentral.com
hitslink.com
hot-sexyxx.com
hqsextube.com
immoralhub.com
installs.180solutions.com
Intellitracker.com
interactivebrands.com
isearchtech.com
justlittleteens.com
kegtube.com
kiwicasino.com
koalalist.com
kqzyfj.com
- Note: Another entirely unfair censorship, this time of Commission Junction here.
lamiaexragazza.com
lasvegasusacasino.com
leighlanixxx.com
linksynergy.com
- Oh, now they've targeted LinkShare as well! That just means LinkShare merchants keep the money and affiliates don't get paid. Unfair.
livejasmin.com
lop.com
mafioporno.com
mamainbed.com
marketscore.com
maturefreepron.com
maturespornmag.com
maxiadv.com
mcboo.com
media.top-banners.com
mediaplex.com
milfden.com
milfsoup.com
mmohsix.com
mothervsboy.com
mummyfuck.net
my.droppedurl.com
naked.com
newyorkcasino.com
nowayvirus.com
nudistflirt.net
offshoreclicks.com
oh-my-amateur.com
ohhtube.com
oinadserver.com
oldflock.com
oldmaturetime.com
oldpornobitch.com
Omniture.com
online-guard.net
onlinepcguard.com
outerinfo.net
outerinfoads.com
paqtool.com
pc-spy-keylogger.com
pcprivacytool.com
pcvirusless.com
peatube.com
performanceoptimizer.com
playthisfuck.com
porn.com
pornfilmed.com
pornmagpass.com
pornmaxim.com
pornohome.net
porntrack.com
private-teen-sex.com
promotds.com
ptrfc.com
qksrv.com
- This is the first, the original, tracking link system for Commission Junction, simply to make sure people are paid for their honest work.
rccl.bridgetrack
realitykings.com
realsearch.cc
rebrandsoftware.com
redv.com
regfreeze.net
reliablestats.com
Revenue.net
rk.com
SafetyDefender.com
scasno.com
Search-Daily.com
searchdrive.info
securitylab.ru
servedby.advertising.com
servedfor.valuead.com
sexinyourcity.com
sexlist.com
sextracker.com
shopathomeselect.com
sidefind.com
site.chatpoint.com
skanktube.com
splashspot.com
spy-lantern.com
spy-product.com
spydex.com
spywareblock.net
statcounter.com
- What? StatCounter? That's a website performance monitoring hit counter and graph drawing thing. Harmless, and on a great many people's front pages! In fact, take a look at Zyra's website and you'll see where it says "view stats". In effect this measures how many hits my front page has. It doesn't involve other people's personal information.
sunpalacecasino.com
superbgirlz.com
sysdepannage.com
syslibero.com
systemdoctor.com
systemordnare.com
tamotua.com
targetnet.com
tdstats.com
teenbestmovie.com
teencumesshop.info
teenmixx.net
teennursery.com
teens-mania.com
teensexporns.com
teenspornmag.com
teensxtube.com
teensxxxstars.com
teenxmovs.net
thefuckingvideos.net
thenewsearch.com
thesexbabes.com
tightteens.biz
todaywarnings.com
topfuckmovies.org
tradedoubler.com
- Note: TradeDoubler innocent! yet, it's unfairly LUMPED IN with all the other stuff! More about TradeDoubler here.
transsexuellelust.com
tsprotraffic.com
tubesexmovies.com
tubetimefun.com
tuptuo.com
v61.com
valueclick.com
- This is the parent company of Commission Junction
vegasred.com
- This is a real casino, and we have a page about it, at Vegas Red
videoscurtos.com
vids-porn.com
virusdifesa.com
virusforsvar.com
virusgarde.com
virusschlacht.com
virusvakt.com
warmhotporn.com
watchmygf.com
webtrendslive.com
winantispyware2008.com
winantivirus.com
xaxtube.com
xmoviesday.com
xp-tools.com
xpsecuritycenter.com
xxlporntube.com
xxx-spoof.com
xxxtoolbar.com
yadro.ru
yahabags.com
ysbweb.com
zedo.com
zorrascaseras.com

...

Right, quite a list. Obviously some of the items are not the sort of thing you'd want to show the vicar. However, whatever you think about the immorality or otherwise of pornography, the indecency of websites doesn't make them SPYWARE! I would guess that some of the sites mentioned are actually spyware, but I am so appalled at the way honest affiliate marketing companies are lumped in with all the iffy stuff, I have changed my view of Spybot Search and Destroy. I no longer recommend it, and I suggest that you get rid of the evil spyware by some other method, a method which does not introduce other problems into your computer!

If you have got Spybot Search and Destroy, you can uninstall it, and to be fair to the company, they will listen to what you have to say. However, even if you uninstall Spybot Search and Destroy, you'll still have that wretched list stuck in your machine which means that some operations will be impaired without your knowing. If you want to reverse the damage, and you've got Mozilla Firefox, to get rid of the list, you go to TOOLS... / Options / Privacy ... and then in the Cookies section click on "Exceptions". There's then an option to "Remove All Sites". If you do this, it's up to you. You may need to find a better list, because it should be possible to ban the bad only.

If you're very patient, you could carefully delete just the ones I've highlighted, but you'll have to uninstall Spybot Search and Destroy first, because it wouldn't surprise me if it reinstates the list when you're not looking.

I don't know how to undo the banned / censored list in Internet Explorer or in Opera or in other browsers. However, as the list is secreted in the depths of the Registry, the same list applies to various browsers. Edit it on one and it should change on others.

Another point about the Spybot Search and Destroy banned list: Some of the website names are porn, and some are known good companies, but some are suspiciously names which could be other anti-spyware companies. That does seem strange, doesn't it?

Summary: I used to like Spybot Search and Destroy and I used to recommend them on this site. But now they've lost my trust. In my opinion they've been unfair to TradeDoubler, and, on closer inspection, unfair to a variety of other good companies. I feel this is a breach of trust, in a similar way to what happens if someone pilfers your loose change when you're not looking. If you trust someone, you don't expect they'll do such a dirty trick. It is sad, all very sad.


If you really want to understand about privacy or the lack thereof, deal with the Facebook problem! Down with Facebook! This page is also an exposť of companies getting things wrong.