Myspace Users Beware – Here Comes the Adware

Myspace continues to astound and grow.�¯�¿�½ And to be candid, the growth is borderline explosive.�¯�¿�½ The question now is where is there left for Myspace to go?

Last week, Myspace surpassed internet giants, Yahoo and Google to become the number one web site.�¯�¿�½ This was the first time that Myspace achieved this.�¯�¿�½ Given that Myspace has essentially set the standard for social networking sites, it is no surprise that there is no shortage of other similar sites trying to get in on the action.�¯�¿�½ However, Myspace has a virtual, no pun intended, monopoly on this corner of the internet market.�¯�¿�½ Their social networking market share, according to the internet monitoring site, Hitwise, was up from 76% in June to 80% in July.�¯�¿�½ The college site, Facebook.org was a not so close second with a 7.6% share.�¯�¿�½�¯�¿�½

However, with such exposure and market share can come a variety of problems.�¯�¿�½ Myspace continues to struggle with how to address online child predator concerns and they are working to address the very concerning topic of age verification for their teen members.�¯�¿�½ Despite these important concerns though is the issue of online advertising.

It is a violation of the Myspace terms of service for a member to advertise on their site.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½ While you may find bands hawking their CD’s or other merchandise neither individuals nor bands can have advertising for any third party present on their site.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½ This is a clear violation of the Myspace terms of service.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½ But we should all be aware now simply because something is a violation of the terms of service doesn’t mean that the loophole hunters won’t be digging around and pushing the envelope.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½ Also, given that Myspace is approaching 100 million different profiles – that is right, 100,000,000, advertisers have to literally be chomping at their collective bits to find a way to tap into this market.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½

Though as tempting as Myspace is for direct advertisers, it appears that the adware and spyware people have not only found a way onto Myspace, but have convinced themselves that the manner in which they are doing it is perfectly acceptable.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½ As most will realize, the definition of “perfectly acceptable” to the adware and spyware people is likely quite divergent from the definition that would be envisioned by the rest of the world.

It seems that adware and spyware are becoming more common on Myspace.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½ Here is how it works.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½ While the terms of service for Myspace prohibit the advertising and insertion of adware or spyware directly by any direct marketer, Myspace members it seems are posting videos for download on their sites -Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½ certain videos that have the adware code attached to it.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½ By doing this, neither the direct marketers, nor their partners are directly dealing with Myspace.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½ When a download begins, a small screen will prompt the user to accept or decline an agreement.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½ (If the agreement is declined the video won’t download.)Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½ Once the video downloads, a tool bar is installed and then come the pop ups.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½ The main culprit in this situation is aÃ?¯Ã?¿Ã?½Washington State based company called Zango.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½

Zango has made it clear that while they are frequently contacted by Myspace account holders asking to have their advertising placed on Myspace pages, the company always declines the request as it is a violation of the Myspace terms of service. Third parties that Zango are contracted with are prohibited by their contract with Zango from posting on Myspace.�¯�¿�½ However, in loophole fashion, apparently the company has said that they can do nothing to stop individuals from posting their own videos and attaching the Zango code that has been obtained elsewhere.�¯�¿�½

The end result?�¯�¿�½ Adware on Myspace.�¯�¿�½ Zango has said that they are not targeting Myspace.�¯�¿�½ However, internet security professionals see the matter differently.�¯�¿�½ It is their opinion that while Zango may be avoiding the direct targeting of Myspace, they are simply getting teenagers to do their work for them.�¯�¿�½ In the end, Zango makes money from the adware that has crept into Myspace.

Zango has undergone several different management and names in the past several years and has been working hard to clean up its image.�¯�¿�½ They say they are committed to keeping things clean and have not targeted Myspace.

So where does this leave us?�¯�¿�½ Likely it is only the beginning of a long road for Myspace.�¯�¿�½ With so many people on a single site, a site that generates more traffic than any other in the , we will likely have to deal with advertising, adware and spyware for some time to come.�¯�¿�½ As we work through this, be aware that what you download off of Myspace could contain adware or spyware that could really slow things down for you and be a pain to clear from your computer.

To guard against any adware or spyware being downloaded from Myspace, pay close attention to what you download.�¯�¿�½ If you are prompted to agree to any license or see any thing that asks where you want certain software installed, terminate the download and keep the adware off of your computer.�¯�¿�½�¯�¿�½

No 30 second video is worth adware price.

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