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From "David H. Lipman" <DLip...@Verizon.Net>
Subject Re: Scam issues.
Date Thu, 16 Aug 2012 11:31:39 GMT
From: "Rob Weir" <>

> On Wed, Aug 15, 2012 at 4:28 PM, Tamblyne <> wrote:
>> On 8/2/2012 11:31 AM, Rob Weir wrote:
>>> On Thu, Aug 2, 2012 at 11:50 AM, David H. Lipman<>
>>> wrote:
>>>> From: "Anastasia Cher"<>
>>>>> Hello there,
>>>>> I didn't know where to email, so I decided to just email to you. I 
>>>>> just
>>>>> want to tell that there is an issue, some website
>>>>> www.*openoffice*.fm/suitepretends that its you. When I googled Open
>>>>> Office it was the first website
>>>>> in research so I just clicked and downloaded what they offered. The 
>>>>> say
>>>>> that it's an Open Office suit. When I finished and installed it, I had
>>>>> lots
>>>>> of bugs and staff but no office. So I don't know, but these guys are
>>>>> using
>>>>> your name for scam.
>>>> This is going on for numerous software from Adobe Reader to VLC Media
>>>> Player.
>>> Right.  This is how it seems to work:
>>> 1) They buy advertisements on Google and Bing and spam social
>>> networks, offering OpenOffice,Free Office and similar keywords.  These
>>> lure users into going to their page.
>>> 2) The pick URL's and brand the site in a way that makes it look 
>>> official.
>>> 3) To download OpenOffice you need to use their special "downloader"
>>> tool.  The main purpose of the downloader tool is to install other
>>> unrelated applications onto your system.  It may or may not then
>>> install OpenOffice.
>>> 4) These other applications are sponsored apps, meaning another
>>> company is paying for these applications to be promoted.  That is the
>>> source of revenue for the websites that do this.
>>> I did a blog post on this:
>>> Note:  Users are not powerless.  There are places to report such
>>> issues.  Some are listed in the blog post.
>>> Regards,
>>> -Rob
>> Users aren't powerless, but too many of them just don't pay attention. I
>> pulled up your blog post to see if you addressed the easiest "clue" --  
>> for
>> me, anyway -- the URL itself and I see you do mention it, but maybe it 
>> could
>> be more directly stated.
>> *Any* URL that ends in a dot other than COM or ORG or NET should be 
>> suspect
>> and probably shouldn't be clicked on at all.  The ".fm" in the URL the
>> poster provided is a dead giveaway.  Most of your suggestions of things 
>> to
>> watch out for require the user to actually visit the page first, and too
>> many times it's already too late after that's been done.
> I think that another issue is that users are not very Google (or Bing)
> savvy.  They don't all know about sponsored links in search results,
> especially when they appear on top.   They have in mind what they are
> searching for, and naturally gravitate toward the top listing.  Subtle
> shading or small print does not cause them to slow down and even check
> the URL.
>> It always frustrates me that in these "modern times" so much time is 
>> spent
>> cleaning up messes in the wake of these unethical people -- thieves and
>> liars.  I have no use for them.
>> For instance, I'm sure it took you a fair bit of time to write that blog
>> post -- which is very helpful.  Unfortunately, I would guess that a vast
>> majority of the people who need that knowledge won't find it until 
>> *after*
>> they've been screwed and go to try to find out why.
> True.  But it does have some value for us to articulate what we
> consider to be acceptable and unacceptable.  As open source software
> we tread a narrow line.  We're open as a matter of principle, and from
> a copyright perspective our license allows anyone to copy the software
> for any purpose.  But that is only with respect to copyright.
> Trademark use is an entirely different beast, and no one is given
> permission to use our trademark in a way that confuses or harms our
> users.
> If we were a big corporation we'd have legions of attorneys at our
> call to apply their special powers of persuasion to remedy this.  But
> we're a non-profit, relying on volunteers.  So the emphasis
> necessarily focuses on user education.  We're not the only product
> that runs into this problem.  Many of the popular open source apps
> have the same issues, like 7-ZIP and VLC Player.  It comes
> hand-in-hand with popularity.  No one tries to misuse trademarks of
> unpopular programs.

It doesn't even have to be Open Source 'ware, just freeware like Adobe 

And yes, you are right.  These actors exploit the naivety of users when then 
do a search on Google, et. al.

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