Sunday, January 28, 2007

Yahoo Using Dirty Tactics to Switch Google & Firefox Users?

”...a recent upgrade to Yahoo Messenger includes an innocuous ‘auto-update’ option. When the user gives Yahoo permission to ‘update’ – what they think is just Yahoo Messenger – the updater… then proceeds to hijack many browser preferences – including search engine settings.”

Firstly, the updater associates all web links with Internet Explorer instead of your default browser (very annoying for Firefox / Opera users!). Secondly, it pops up an ambiguous error message telling you that your search settings have been changed and that you can either “fix” them or “allow change”. Thinking that they’re about to lose their browser defaults, most people will click “fix settings”. Upon doing so however, they’ll find that their default homepage has been switched to Yahoo! And for its final trick, the updater switches IE’s default search engine to Yahoo! without your permission. Nice work :-(

When Andy complained about this to Yahoo!, the response he received (from Yahoo! spokesperson Terrell Karlsten) said “This is an industry-wide practice.” Great stuff. So if everyone else is doing it, that makes it OK does it? What would his Mum say? “If everyone else jumped off a cliff, would Yahoo!?”


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