This doesn’t sound ethical to me but that’s not going to stop people doing it.
It’s a news form of marketing software that’s geared to people using file sharing software like KaZaa.
It works like this:
A software vendor uploads multiple copies of his product to a file sharing network. He labels the product in such a way that it looks like a pirate copy of his software. He describes the product so that it looks really attractive. He does this because he actually wants people to download the "pirate" copy.
That’s because it’s more than a pirate copy. It also includes an additional module not found in the original product: a trojan horse.
When an unsuspecting user downloads and installs the software, it appears to work just fine. However next time they connect to the Internet, the software secretly connects to the vendor?s web site and sends the user’s name and default email address.
The vendor then sends the user a nasty threatening email letter saying that they have illegally stolen the software. The letter threatens that unless a legal copy is purchased immediately, legal action will follow. The tone is very aggressive, so aggressive that most people buy the software, whether they really want it or not.
I know this because I had lunch last week with a software vendor who claimed this is how he sold the overwhelming bulk of his products.
Wow! I was shocked. As he told me the details I interjected and said his technique was totally unethical.
"You are being too precious Gizmo," he said. "These dudes are pirates and deserve everything they get. They’re happy to rip me off so why shouldn’t I rip them off?"
"But it’s not up to you to judge their actions," I said. "If they?re doing something illegal then you should make use of the law to pursue them. What you are doing is both misrepresentation and entrapment, and that’s illegal as well. On top of that, you are stealing their email address without permission and distributing a trojan horse. Add all that together and I think you end up with something rather worse than pirating software."
His faced flushed red and I could see he was getting angry. Abruptly, he leapt up from the table, knocking over my glass of wine in the process. I thought he was going to punch me.
Thankfully he didn’t. Instead he just screamed "Get yourself a life, you loser," and stormed off from the lunch.
"Get yourself a decent product," I yelled as he departed, "and you won’t need to use underhand marketing tricks."
Quite a lunch.
Quite a marketing technique.Gizmo Richards