New Yahoo Toolbar Does Not Default Scan For Adware

    June 3, 2004

Yahoo’s new beta stage toolbar contains a feature called Anti-Spy. This marks the first search engine toolbar to have a spyware remover integrated into it. As reported in a previous WebProNews article, Yahoo’s Anti-Spy beta is powered by PestPatrol, a third party software designed to combat spyware and other malicious programs.

However, Yahoo has been receiving criticisms because of what some consider a glaring oversight, or worse, a type of favoritism. The problem stems from when you perform a spyware scan with Anti-Spy, Adware programs are not being scanned for, unless you indicate the toolbar to do so. This is done by selecting a check box that says search for Adware.

Because of this, some have accused Yahoo of playing favorites with adware companies. Speculation, according to, centers around a financial agreement between Yahoo and Claria, makers of the infamous Gator eWallet.

Claria’s creation, once installed on a users computer, gathers information such as surfing habits, and returns this information to Claria. Using their GAIN ad service, Claria then begins serving pop-up ads, as well as other types of advertising, to the user based on the information collected.

This service is viewed as Adware, and is normally not a desirable feature users want on their computer. Because of programs such as these, many different programs have been created to assist in the removal of such services.

As I mentioned before, Yahoo is the first search toolbar to include this type of feature. However, because it doesn’t remove Adware by default, people are speculating that the relationship Yahoo has with Adware companies like Claria is affecting the functionality of Anti-Spy.

According to Claria’s S-1 filing with the SEC, Overture, Yahoo’s ad service, contributed 31% worth of Claria’s revenue through paid listings.

Yahoo spokesperson Stephanie Ichinose commented on the fact that Anti-Spy incorporated PestPatrol’s spyware removal technology, and that she wasn’t certain if you had to prompt PestPatrol to remove Adware like you do with Yahoo’s Anti-Spy. “What this is all about is providing the users with visibility into their computer and to help them manage it as they see appropriate,” she said.

In, Ichinose declined to comment about Yahoo’s relationship with Claria, and whether or not it will change or be terminated.

If you are a user of Yahoo’s new toolbar, and you would like to Anti-Spy to search and remove Adware, you must designate it to do so by selecting the check box. Perhaps when the Anti-Spy toolbar comes out of beta testing, this issue will be resolved.

Chris Richardson is a search engine writer and editor for WebProNews. Visit WebProNews for the latest search news.