Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Fiascos Continue in LavaLand

During the many years that I provided volunteer support for free and pay customers of Lavasoft's Ad-Aware and Ad-Watch, many people questioned why I devoted so much of my free time in the endeavor. At the time, my response was that I enjoyed helping people. I was proud of what Nicolas Stark was contributing to computer users to aid in the protection of their privacy and for removing malware from their computer. Nic (Screen Name: Urizen) assured our merry band of volunteers that Ad-Aware would always be free for personal use.

It appears that someone, somewhere, took Nic at his word. The most recently released update on July 6, 2007, to Ad-Aware 2007 Personal, version, included Ad-Watch! I have the feeling that customers who shell out the annual subscription fee of $39.95 for Pro and $26.95 for Plus (U.S. dollars) are going to be rather upset over this. New subscribers will certainly have incentive for contacting their credit company and challenging the charges. I cannot help but chuckle at the explanation of the "Ad-Watch Preview" that has been available the past four days.

Although I occasionally provide help to folks using Ad-Aware SE, the above is just the latest example on why I no longer provide support for Lavasoft products. A brief time spent at the Lavasoft Support Forums will clearly illustrate the number of problems encountered with the new AAW 2K product, including serious issues encountered with Ad-Watch.

Of course, many of the Plus and Pro subscribers were saved from the issues since the registration process was broken for the first month after release for existing customers. This resulted not only in Lavasoft having to extend the customer subscriptions for one month but also of an obvious loss of a month's income for all existing Plus and Pro customers! (See Upgrades For Holders Of Valid Se Licenses Available)

Aside from the issue earlier this year when the Beta Definitions were uploaded to the download server there was the recent situation where users received notice of new Ad-Aware 2007 software updates. Unfortunately the "upgrades" caused the GUI version to revert from to and the Definition File to revert to 000.4.0000 from 000.6.0000. This was explained as an update server which had been shut down being turned on without being updated with the latest versions of the software and definitions.

Then comes the question about the four-star rating of Ad-Aware at Download.com. Of course we all know that the number of downloads are cumulative so don't be fooled by the almost 249 Million figure posted there. As each new version is added, that number grows when users download a new version or replace a version lost or uninstalled. What does change is the review comments. Apparently, as each new version is uploaded, the review comments are removed, upsetting the folks taking the time to provide their comments:

(Click image for larger view)

The examples I provided just scratch the surface on why I no longer recommend Ad-Aware when helping people remove malware from their computer. However, based on the number and type of job openings currently listed on the Lavasoft "Careers" page

it is beginning to appear that it may indeed be time to turn off the lights.

"The GUN has left the building ... will the last one left standing please turn off the lights, and bring home the flag."

Remember - "A day without laughter is a day wasted."
May the wind sing to you and the sun rise in your heart...

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