Is Digsby an Adware ?

What is Digsby

If you are not yet aware, Digsby is a wonderful applications that lets you combine the powers of Social Networking, IM and emails into a single application. For all socially networked souls in this Web 2.0 era, Digsby is like a cool breeze. It allows you to manage multiple clients and services from a single application. A big time saver.

But, what is BAD about Digsby

But, while I was installing Digsby on a friend’s computer recently, I noticed that Digsby has changed their installer and the new installer is just full of bad applications, all trying to have a share of your mindspace.


image credit: downloadsquad

As soon as you start installing Digsby, you will be presented with a barrage, as many as half a dozen, of applications, which will try to control your homepage, your default search engines, your search error page, and will also track your search patterns to suggest you shopping links.

After digging a bit, I also came to know that they are engaged in more than all this. Thanks Aaron.

If you think this is bad, you should check out their new ‘help digsby do research’ option that’s buried in their menu structure and ENABLED BY DEFAULT. This allows your computer to join a computational botnet that does commercial work that the Digsby team gets paid for (think [email protected] for money). Notice your laptop fan whirring away unexpectedly? You’re probably doing protein analysis for some drug company. Totally shady. I’m dropping Digsby like a hot potato, I’ve lost all trust in the developers if they somehow think this is ‘okay’.

C’mon Digsby, that is too much.

Having said that, I acknowledge that it absolutely fair on the part of developers of Digsby to expect to earn some money from a wonderful application. I fully support them here.

But I think there are other better and more respectable ways to earn money than to team up with a few services, which have long been known to carry out shady practices.

Someone might argue that they are just giving you the options to opt for these services at the time of installation. It is all upto users to accept or reject these offers.

But I totally disagree with this viewpoint. Even after a lot of spread of knowledge about spyware, adware and online security threat, still I find a majority of Internet users not knowing what they are clicking and how they should click on a link. They do not bother to pause a fraction of a second just to ponder where this click will lead to. I have seen many computer users just switch off their browser status bar just to save a little browsing space and totally ignoring the risks associated.

In this situation, how can you expect people to fully know the consequences of such additional installations, which come so-called-free with Digsby.

I would suggest that Digsby can try to use a “Donation” button, which might compensate for the development costs. And if they expect to get more, they can make two versions of Digsby. One FREE with minimalistic features, and the second PRO with advanced features. This is a standard practice and well regarded by the Internet community.

If Digsby do not change their practice, the day may not be far when people will dump them like Kaaza and LimeWire, which also involved themselves into shady practices, although in a bit more hidden ways.

What is your take? Just shoot here in the comments section.

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I am Silki Garg, a telecom professional from the holy city of Varanasi in India. I have a natural crush for Technology and having bitten by Blogging Bug. I usually have a contrarian approach.

  • Hey genius…. they discussed this prior to releasing it:

    Maybe you should research more before you go out and start accusing a company of trying to install adware. They were explicit in what they were doing from the very beginning. Tell your news sources to maybe go out and program their own, that’ll be better than digsby, without any source of revenue at all. I’d love to see how that goes, seeing as how the team spends hours upon hours working at it AS A JOB and it only seems right that they be able to make a living.

    I’d expect a bit more professionality from a blogger.

    Good fight.

  • Digsby’s gotta pay the bills somehow – by providing a couple in the installer they have been able to keep ads out of the actual program – which I like way better.

    They are also asking users for ideas for alternative funding, check out one of thier last blog posts, another creative idea is that users could opt-in to donate un-used cpu cycles to a sponsor. I like their creativity!

  • I have also seen digsby using our twitter profile and tweets to try out digsby.. seen many tweets like that .. :o

  • Digsby is definitely not on my list of must have’s, not after this post! Thanks for the heads up!

  • “As soon as you start installing Digsby, you will be presented with a barrage, as many as half a dozen, of applications, which will try to control your homepage, your default search engines, your search error page, and will also track your search patterns to suggest you shopping links.” This will destroy any application in record time. With that one line I will never download this program. Done.

  • Although it’s simple enougth to pick through the bad installs, why do they have to go and ruin a perfectly good application?!

  • i’ve tried this one, but i didnt like it. :)

  • michael

    download Pidgin… no spyware, good program.. many other multi-protocal IM software actually use it’s library to implement the protocols.

    • Jman

      Pigdin is not as good as Digsby. Why not just try Digsby before suggesting a weaker program is better.

      I have had no problems with Digsby. Trillian is the only thing that matches Digsby’s features. The only difference is Digsby is free.

    • Bob

      The program itself sounds like spyware. Where else would you enter all your usernames and passwords all in one convenient spot on a webpage or in a web-enabled program? Maybe a criminal or the government can create such a product. Would you like all your email read by unknown third parties? Anyone who uses a digsby like program is only asking for trouble with your privacy.

  • Pingback: Fix Digsby excess CPU / memory usage()

  • @Srinidhi: Thanks for taking time to comment and taking an opposite view.

    I know that they have already disclosed it in their blog and I have already mentioned in my post that it is upto the users to accept the offer or reject it.

    But, and I REPEAT it after having already said in the post, many of the Internet users are still ignorant and naive enough to care for what is written in the EULAs, (license Agreements). Before clicking on a hyperlink, they do not care for knowing where this will lead them to.

    Srinidhi, you may be digging far to deep to the archives of their blog to find a post about the disclosure, but it still remains a fact that most of the people, who might have downloaded Digsby, may not have cared to go that deep to read everything there.

    Remember, we are addressing a large audience and not a few “informed” geeks.

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  • to Srinidhi Venkatesh:

    Point #1: You immediately lose all credibility in an argument whipping out an ancient insult opener like “Hey genius”. What is this? Sweet Valley High? Saved By The Bell? “Get Real” man

    Point#2: Blogger and professionality are not synonymous. Mostly because “professionality” isn’t a word but nothing about blogging implies “professionalism” as any jackass with an internet connection can blog

  • goober

    I came this close ==><== to downloading the application. I’m glad I researched first and found this page. I’m currently using a paid for version of Trillian (so i can view a more extensive history) and think I will stick with it for now.

  • I would stay away from “freebies” that are tied up with adware. There is a bunch of applications out there that don’t carry pests with them.

    Ignoring the unfortunate comment given by the first poster, I must say that computer security is generally ignored by the majority of Internet users, which explains why the Internet is so loaded with trash.

    Good info about CS given in the following:

  • W.R. Isaacs

    “Hey genius…” ? What an offensive and gratuitous affront. You are wrong if you think that a comment in a beta release blog is being “explicit”.
    In order to be “explicit”, they must put full warnings in the install link, prior to the third-party executable ever being launched. Nobody wants adware, or hidden registry IDs on their machine. Any company that installs such things without plain notification, is doing something dishonest.
    “I’d expect a bit more professionality from a blogger.”