Asking ASK.COM

My recent email to ASK.COM about the utter shittery that is their toolbar:


I’d like to report a problem with the toolbar installation that seems to seems to be suggested by about 3/4 of the software I download.

There seems to be an issue where if you decline to install the toolbar, the software goes ahead and installs unwanted files anyway.

Specifically, the files tbnofier.exe and apnmcp.exe get installed even if the installation is cancelled. I have verified this of a number of clean WinXP installations.

Anyway, I look forward to your reply. Enjoy your day.

Tony Blews

I was quite surprised that I recieved a reply within the space of a couple of hours…

Someone called Eric from had this to say:

Our distribution partners (namely, the 75% of free programs you’re intending to install) get to make business decisions regarding how best to bundle our products alongside theirs. Recently, the installation flow was changed so that when the toolbar offer screen is reached, the only way to not install the toolbar is to click “cancel” rather than “next;” after clicking “cancel,” the partner software flow would continue on. But because you have just gone through two or three screens where “next” was the right answer, suddenly clicking “cancel” is not exactly intuitive. We get that, and we’re working on remedying that with the partners who currently use that installation flow. We don’t like it, either.

And so I replied:

Eric, thanks for the reply.

It does seem a bit wrong that “No” seems to mean “Oh, go on then”.

I’m sure that defence won’t stand up in court. And Eric replied:

Agreed. I can legitimately defend a lot of things, but this is totally indefensible.

So there you have it.

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