Influential search engines Google and Yahoo has disabled links to WhenU, a adware manufacturer that they’ve accused of using “cloaking” to trick search engines into favourably ranking decoy pages that redirect visitors.
Avi Nader, chief executive of WhenU said that the questionable practices were the result of an external search engine optimisation company, and that they expected to be relisted now that they’ve stopped working with that organisation.
WhenU produce an application that keeps tabs on browsing habits – they’re currently embroiled in a debate as to whether this practice is in fact legal.
Adware, sometimes called spyware, are applets that are installed on your PC, sometimes without your consent or even knowledge, and can do a number of things: they can tell companies which webpages you’ve visited, what you’ve been typing on your keyboard (including bank details and credit card numbers), flash ads up on your screen or redirect you away from competitors products. Some people install them by choice (it’s the old “people will do anything for a discount thing”) but often the applications are malicious. There are a number of free tools for ridding yourself of these pests, and we’ve linked to a good one below.