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False Ares Prophecy
June 21, 2005
Thomas Mennecke
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On April 28, 2005, Download.com initiated their "No Adware" policy. Basically the policy stated if a developer's application had any trace of forced third party software, the program would be delisted from Download.com. The policy was generally well received from the Internet community, however the delistation of MetaMachine's eDonkey puzzled many.

Alas, Download.com reinstated eDonkey after MetaMachine removed all third party software - even eliminating the "opt-out" portion of the installation.

Yet a few mysteries remain. One in particular is Ares and Ares Lite. Currently, Ares contains "opt-out" NavExcel, an Internet Explorer tool bar. If the end user chooses not to install this third party software, no adware will be placed on his or her machine.

Current versions of Ares Lite contain no bundled software whatsoever - no adware, no third party bundles and no spyware. Slyck.com downloaded and tested both programs on a pristine work station - both before and after installation - and found no traces of third party software from either program (using Adware, Microsoft Anti Spyware Beta and Spybot.)

In fairness to Download.com, older versions did have traces of adware and were subsequented delisted.

Although the legitimate Ares and Ares Lite, developed by Albero Treves, were delisted from Download.com, this did not prevent a false prophet from assuming power.

If one conducts a search for Ares on Download.com, the last thing one would find is a lack of Ares applications. On the contrary, the entire return query page is listed with various Ares programs; Ares Galaxy FasterDownload 2.2, Ares Fileshare 1.1 (currently unavailable) and the dubious Ares Glaxy Classic 2.0.

Ares Galaxy Classic 2.0, developed by "P2P Innovative" is the exact same program as the original Ares Galaxy created by Alberto Treves, save for a few tool bar icon graphics.

During the installation one distict alteration appears. In the "Choose Components" section of the install, when the user is essentially asked if they wish to install adware or not, Alberto's client promotes the "NavExcel" toolbar. P2P Innovative's offers New.net. How is this significant?

novations reconstituted the Ares program as their own, and instead use New.net as a revenue stream. Despite being what many are calling a "rip-off" client, Download.com has decided this type of suspicious client is satisfactory for distribution, while the original client is not.

Alberto Treves, lead programmer of the original Ares application, was dumbfounded by the apparent double standard when he spoke with Slyck.com.

"...It's a sad story...Download.com kicked off their list Ares and AresLite (the latter had absolutely no adware bundled) and later didn't do anything to stop all those 'Ares fake' applications."

"Currently there are 3 spyware bundled applications profiting from CNET's bad review tactics and AresGalaxy's name. (you can see them by searching for the keyword 'Ares' at download.com.)

"Now that Ares has been removed from CNET's list because of bundled adware (AresGalaxy) and because of false claims(AresLite), someone repackaged, without our consent, Ares p2p with the addition of the NEW.NET adware and called it 'Ares Galaxy Classic' to take advantage of the name. Apparently such software has been submitted and approved by CNET's review staff and it's being download by several thousands people each week."

Slyck spoke with Download.com's Kelly Morrison, who explained the current situation.

"The Ares-related apps we have listed on Download.com now are were submitted through Upload.com; they've all been through our typical testing process and were found to contain no adware. If Ares Lite is submitted to us and scans clean, we will list that one as well."

It appears although Download.com checks thoroughly for adware, trademark considerations are not given much attention.

"As to the underlying question of trademark infringement, we examine trademark infringements on a case by case basis when we're notified that there may be a problem. While submissions go through a rigorous screening process, we don't review submissions for possible trademark infringements as part of that screening. Because trademark infringement is so difficult to determine, we typically recommend that publishers resolve disputes directly."

Unfortunately with this policy, just about anyone can reconstitute a program with opt-out adware and submit it to Download.com. Alberto Treves is in the process of resolving this situation.


This story is filed in these Slyck News categories
P2P Clients :: Ares Galaxy

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