Modern Software Experience

2011-04-06

genealogical adware

It is many years ago that GenoPro stopped being adware, but that does not mean that there is no genealogical adware any more.

desktop

It is many years ago that GenoPro stopped being adware, but that does not mean that there is no genealogical adware any more. To some extent, free lite editions of full applications are adware. Some applications are more pushy than others, but several of these crippleware applications do not just offer reduced functionality, but also add annoyingly many reminders that you can buy additional functionality. This makes it all to clear that their marketing department does not care very much about the usability of their lite edition. They do not view the lite version itself as an advertisement for the full version, but as nothing more than a vehicle for advertising the full version.

web

FamilyLink displays advertisements in their FamilyLink web app. Ancestry.com treats RootsWeb as little more than a platform for free advertising. Geni.com displays advertisements in their Geni.com app. Even the page to register an application with the Geni API displays advertisements.
Several sites are promoting free genealogy toolbars that are adware or spyware.  Some quick googling shows the MyHeritage toolbar to be a particular frequent source of complaints.

FaceBook

Many FaceBook applications only exist because the app owner makes money from the advertisements along the side. FaceBook already displays more than one advertisement per page, and app owners can make good money from that.

Some app owners feel that those advertisements still do not make them enough money. FamilyLink has turned their already awful We're Related application into little more than a glorified billboard, displaying multiple advertisements inside the application. You won't believe how bad it is until you've seen it yourself, but perhaps you should not even try... Have a good look at all the app privileges that FamilyLink wants before you allow it to run; it even wants to access your FaceBook data when you're not running the application! You don't need to try yourself, The New We're Related includes a typical screenshot.

mobile

It is easy to ignore and remove a useless FaceBook app like We're Related, but adware is actually making a huge come-back. Many free editions of mobile applications are adware.

The first mobile genealogy adware I've seen is Piod Song's Android app My Heritage. The current version isn't a very useful app, but that isn't the point. The point is that it is mobile geneadware, and that you may soon see more of it.

Apple and Google are trying to make adware normal.

adware

I've been using genealogy applications as examples, but the adware problem is not limited to genealogy applications at all.
Adware was never fully gone, but the come-back of adware on mobile platforms is a bona fide trend, and not one that is easy to fight. Adware is being promoted by two formidable opponents; Apple and Google.

Apple and Google are trying to make adware normal. Apple and Google are not just accepting adware into their app stores, they are actually encouraging developers to turn their apps into adware. Apple and Google are making it very easy for iOS and Android app makers to turn their app into adware. At the same time, their app stores do not allow users to avoid adware by selecting only ad-free apps.

You may be able to get rid of the adds by buying the premium edition, buy are you going to pay, even just one Euro, for an app you only use incidentally? Are you going to pay five Euro for an app you us frequently if you can use it free? Many users do not do so. They'd rather accept advertising in their apps than pay for it.

Apple and Google are trying to make adware normal. Once enough users accept it as normal, it is normal. Once it is normal, all apps may become adware. That is a disturbing thought.

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