I use Safari on my my Mac and turn on the Block Pop Up Windows option. Why? Most pop up windows are advertising. It’s not that I don’t like advertising. It’s something of a necessary evil which helps to pay the freight for mostly free information on the internet. What I don’t like is advertising that’s in my face, and that’s what pop up ads do. They get in your face and all over your Mac’s screen. What’s worse than a pop up ad? ZoneAlarm’s annoying web page thief ads.
It costs money to run a web site. Most web sites with beneficial information carry advertising; banners, leaderboards, rectangles, links, and other sizes. Advertisers sometimes pay web sites to run ads, but most advertising online is based on a CPC model. Cost per click. If the reader clicks on an ad on a web page, that web site gets money from the advertiser.
That advertising model differs from most traditional media advertising. Running ads on TV, radio, or in newspapers or magazines costs the advertiser money up front. Online advertising is a different animal.
While it’s true that most of us accept the presence of online advertising, there’s a reason your Mac’s browser has a Block Pop Up Windows option. Advertisers are competing for your attention and will do anything to get it.
Stealing Web Pages
I feel sad for Windows PC users who have been trained through the years to stuff their PCs with all sorts of protection—anti-virus software, spyware removal software, and security utilities just to feel safe on their computers.
As a Mac user, do you feel safe surfing the web, knowing that Windows PC users have it far worse than Mac users? How do you feel about PC security software vendors who steal the very web page you’re reading?
Enter ZoneAlarm and their attack advertising which literally steals web pages from right before your eyes.
Most vendors of internet security software for Windows PC users employ some sort of scare tactic to entice users to buy their products. It works. Every PC user I know has two or three utilities constantly scanning their PCs for malware—viruses, spyware, worms, or worse.
Mac users, count your blessings. Still, even Mac users are not immune to the scare tactics employed by seemingly scurrilous software vendors.
I’m the sys admin for a number of web sites which carry advertising. Recently, a pop up ad has managed to get around Safari’s Block Pop Up Windows option and issue a warning that your computer is infected.
It’s not. It’s a scare tactic, though probably accurate since most PCs are probably infected with some kind of malware. Mac users need not worry. An advertisement cannot scan your computer to find malware. But ads do steal your time and what you’re reading.
The ZoneAlarm Thief
ZoneAlarm’s attack advertising literally steals the web page you’re reading at the moment, and redirects your browser to a ZoneAlarm page which shouts Security Threat Alert or other nonsense to get your attention.
That’s right. You’re reading a web page, and seconds later you’re looking at, not a pop up ad, but ZoneAlarm’s attack advertising page, which touts the benefits of their full range of anti-virus, anti-malware software add ons.
Whatever the way, the web page you’re reading disappears, to be replaced by ZoneAlarms’s annoying ads. I contacted ZoneAlarm’s Customer Service chat utility and explained the problem to ‘Curt’, who said, “I am sorry that this happening.” Is Curt a popular name in India?
This is a horrible action by detestable software vendors whose common practice is to feed off user’s fear, uncertainty and doubt to increase sales. When that doesn’t work, other means, even more devious, are employed to prey upon the unknowing. When you see such advertising, don’t ignore it. Send me the link. Send email to the software vendor to voice your opinion.
Honest advertising is fine. This kind of advertising is wrong.