Some Folks Like Spyware… Really!

    June 27, 2005

You’ll have trouble winning an argument with Eric Goldman, because like any good lawyer, he seizes on logical inconsistencies and factual shortcomings in arguments, and uses them to get spurious charges thrown out of court.

And he blogs (in this case, on the spyware issue) like I imagine he speaks in court!

Perhaps this reporter found the only crackpots in the world who affirmatively, intentionally and voluntarily chose to install spyware/adware on their systems [see update below], but I don’t think so. In fact, I think there’s a pretty large group of people who went through the exact same thought process.

As a result, the foundational assumption of most anti-spyware zealots–that “spyware” is, by definition, unwanted–is false. In turn, all arguments predicated on this inaccurate assumption are tainted.

Is your head spinning yet?

A bit of background: formerly legal counsel for and now a law professor and author, Goldman has defended so-called spyware purveyors, like, in court. He has published and spoken widely about law and Internet marketing. A recent lengthy article he wrote for the Emory Law Journal, “Deregulating Relevancy in Internet Trade Law,” went over the entire history of search advertising and offered a strong defense of Google’s and Yahoo’s right to show ads triggered by searches containing so-called trademarked keywords.

If you haven’t checked out his site, I’d recommend it highly. Apparently there is a shortage of legal expertise in the fast-moving world of Internet business. One of his many published articles is “Do Internet Companies Overuse Nondisclosure Agreements?” Not a tough one to answer.

Andrew Goodman is Principal of Page Zero Media, a marketing consultancy which focuses on maximizing clients’ paid search marketing campaigns.

In 1999 Andrew co-founded, an acclaimed “guide to portals” which foresaw the rise of trends such as paid search and semantic analysis.