When Search Engines Strike Back: Yahoo and Google Block Adware Company

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.

Scan and get rid of adware on your PC free – Ad-aware 6

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Fraser Lovatt

Fraser Lovatt has spent the last fifteen years working in publishing, TV and the Internet in various capacities, and believes that they will be seperate platforms for at least a while yet. His main interests at the moment are exploring where Linux is taking home entertainment and how technology is conferring technical skills on more and more people. Fraser Lovatt was born in the same year that 2001: A Space Odyssey was delighting and confusing people in the cinemas, and developed a lifelong love of technology as soon as he realised that things could be taken apart, sometimes put back together again, but mostly left in bits or made into something the original designer hadn't quite planned upon. At school he was definitely in the ZX Spectrum/Magpie/BMX camp, rather than the BBC Micro/Blue Peter/well-behaved group. This is all deeply ironic as he later went on to spend nine years working at the BBC. After a few years of working as a bookseller in Scotland, ("Back when it was actually a skilled profession" he'll tell anyone still listening), he moved to England for reasons he can't quite explain adequately to himself. After a couple of publishing jobs punctuated by sporadic bursts of travelling and photography came the aforementioned nine years at the BBC where he specialised in internet technologies and video. These days his primary interests are Java, Linux, videogames and pies - and if they're not candidates for convergence, then what is?