Foistware: New Net,
Inc. FirstLook Search Portal
Some versions of the New.Net client
(starting at approximetaly version 4.50, and ending at some unknown
point in the future) include an additional component that pops up ads
for Firstlook.com, a paid-placement search portal. The popup currently
appears once per day, whether or not a browser is open. More
information from users is available in
these forums. According to New.net staff, it's all just a misunderstanding and 100% opt in. The unfortunate recipients, however, do not remember any such opting in.
The Firstlook code appears to have been quietly slipped in with an
auto-update of the New.net client, leading even longtime Newdotnet
sycophants to cry foul. At the time this article was first published, New.net made the claim that the Firstlook component "was
released to a limited number of users and is no longer in circulation"
(9/3/2002), although on our test installation, installed by visiting
the New.net homepage (9/7/2002), Firstlook code was installed. New.net
at this point acknowledged the continued existance of the Firstlook ad
module, but stated that the popup had been disabled.
In a break from tradition, the New.net client now appears to be sporting a GUID. In our test
installation, this ID appeared as:
The New.net client transmits the ID to
this page at intervals, and receives some display information relating to the Firstlook popup.
As mentioned, the Firstlook code was automatically installed by the New.net client
(foistware). According to New.net, it may also be installed by certain free
software such as movie players and file-sharing clients. The New.net client
may be installed via free software downloads (such as file-sharing clients)
and the New.net and Firstlook Web sites.
When the Firstlook code is installed, a removal entry is placed in Windows'
Add/Remove Programs dialogue. It appears as "Firstlook Portal". You can highlight
this entry and select Add/Remove to remove it. We also recommend removing
the New.net client from the same location, to prevent the possible installation of
additional foistware programs in the future.
Both are rather harsh.