Avoid Sneaky Online Marketing Scams By Popular Websites!

Ryan Dube 04-04-2013

online marketing scamsYou know that feeling when you are fooled into clicking on something on a website that you didn’t intend to click on? Maybe it was an order screen that fooled you into paying for extra shipping, an installation wizard that tricked you into installing some adware browser toolbar, or a “free” download that turned out not to be quite so free after all. We’ve all been there, and we’ve all been disappointed by the tenacity of marketers that are overly aggressive and forget that in the end, the impression you make on people in your quest for “conversions” can really have a very negative impact on your brand.


This isn’t only limited to small, no-name companies or fly-by-night web designer that’s trying to get you to click on an ad on his website. No, we’re talking online marketing scams by big names – companies that everyone knows and brands that people have come to expect positive things from. When you discover that companies like that are playing games and trying to fool website visitors – well, that says a whole lot about the culture of the company and the quality of the brand itself.

Don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against companies trying to make money online. I mean, only advertising and marketing is what provides motivation and incentive for many people to publish or sell on the Internet at all. That’s a good thing. It’s called a free market, and if people are driven by the promise of advertising money or sales to offer the public high quality content or products – well then that just adds the to competition and makes everyone push harder to be better.

Unfortunately, there are a few companies out there that – in their quest to be “better” – end up being much worse. They play games, and hurt the quality of the brand and the reputation of the company itself by making use of such marketing scams. The following are a few of the biggest marketing blunders that I’ve discovered were conducted by some of the better-known companies and brands out there.

Sneaky Tricks You Probably Noticed

Have you ever gone to click on a specific link on a web page, and suddenly the page shifts up slightly, causing you to “accidentally” click on an ad? Have you ever clicked on a search field inside of the web page only to have a big pop-up ad fill the screen?

You’re not alone. According to a 2012 Internet Advertising Revenue Report from the Interactive Advertising Bureau, advertising revenues had climbed to a record high of $17 billion. This was an increase of just over $2 billion from the previous year.  This is driven by the fact that advertisers recognize that a majority of people today get their news and entertainment from the Internet. That’s a given. And with the advent of more elaborate and feature-rich mobile devices, that number is going to continue to climb.


A downside of this is that some marketing folks are attempting to manipulate visitor behavior in ways that are not always entirely honest.

Amazon’s “Free” Shipping

Let me state right up front that I love Amazon. I shop there for birthdays. I shop there for Christmas. Heck, I shop there when I want nearly anything for myself. However, I have to say that I caved and purchased the prime account, in large part because of the games that Amazon plays when it comes to advertising so-called “free” shipping.

New visitors that are shopping on Amazon will see that some product they want has free shipping. How cool! That’s a huge bonus when you’re buying online, because shipping costs will always factor into the price.

online marketing scams


Unfortunately, when you add that item to your cart and start going through the process of paying, you’ll find that “free” shipping is actually a ploy to get people to sign up for Amazon Prime. You see, once you sign up for Amazon Prime, you some perks like free (selected) movie streaming and things like free two-day shipping. However, there’s a cost associated with that membership, so technically the shipping isn’t really “free”.

website marketing scams

Worst of all, the Amazon checkout process doesn’t really make this clear. In fact, it doesn’t make the breakdown of the order clear at all (it doesn’t even display the breakdown) until you’ve entered in your credit card and moved on to the next step.

website marketing scams


This seems quite backwards. You would think that first-time visitors may be a bit wary about just plugging in their credit card credentials without seeing exactly what the breakdown of charges is going to be. However, that’s exactly what Amazon does. It may or may not be to hide the fact for as long as possible that there will be a shipping charge on the final invoice, but the tactic is a bit underhanded anyway.

When a Free Download Becomes a Free Trial

There are a lot of people reading this that are very familiar with the tactic that software companies use to lure users into purchasing a full licensed version of some software. The thing to do is to encourage users to download a free trial so that they can see just how amazing the software is, and choose to purchase the full version.

This is a very legitimate and reasonable way for software companies to give potential customers a chance to give the software a test run and see whether or not they really like it. However, there are a number of well-known companies out there that are trying to transition from a product that has always been completely free, into a revenue-generating business. For example, AVG Antivirus is well known for its high-quality free antivirus software. When you go to the main AVG site, you’ll see the big icon for the free download.

website marketing scams


However, at the top of the download page, where most people would immediately go to click for the download, you’ll see this interesting button for “AVG Internet Security” that says in smaller, fine print, “Download Free Trial”.

marketing scams

It is innocent-looking, but what visitors don’t realize is that by clicking on that button at the top, they are not getting the free version of AVG. Instead, they’re getting a “trial” version of the full software. This will include a sort of timeout period where you’re expected to upgrade to the paid version or stop using the software.

However, if you scroll waaaaay down to the bottom of the download screen, you’ll see an orange “download” button for the AVG AntiVirus Free software.

marketing scams

There are a number of tricks here – the coloring of the free trial buttons as green, and the use of the word “Free” are both ways to encourage visitors to click on those buttons, thinking that they are downloading the free version of AVG.

Download Link Or Google Ad??

This little tactic is probably one of the most common and well-known for software download sites. Just do a Google search for “free downloads” and you’ll find tons of these little sites all over the place, camouflaged as a legitimate download site for software, movies, free books, and more. However, the site is nothing more than a minefield of ads featuring “download” links or buttons throughout.

A legitimate download site that you’d think would be beyond this kind of tactic is Softpedia. At Softpedia, you can find articles about, and download links to direct downloads for free software and freeware.

The interesting thing about the tactic used at Softpedia is that it’s sort of an attempt to “train” users to perform a behavior. The first download link on most software download pages are actually legitimate. It’s a blue download button that takes you right to a download page.

marketing scams

When you get to the download page, there’s another download button that is sized and formatted almost exactly like the one on the first page. Most people, without thinking, would just click that same download button, only to discover that they’ve just accidentally clicked a Google Ad.

Avoid Sneaky Online Marketing Scams By Popular Websites! website tricks8

The only way to avoid falling for this one is to stop and take the time to carefully examine the page. Usually “mirror” links are a good bet. Keep an eye open for those little Google ad icons in the upper right hand corner of Google Ads. That’s a dead giveaway that the button or link nearby is nothing more than an ad.

Embedded Adware In Installation Wizards

I recently mentioned this next sneaky tactic in my review of the 4K Video Downloader Save Online Videos And Audio to Check Out Later With 4k Video Downloader How many times have you discovered a cool video on YouTube and realized that you didn't have enough time to watch it, and wanted to bring it with you to watch on your tablet while... Read More software. This is where a company will provide you with a perfectly free installation package for their software, but then part of the installation process includes these underhanded little attempts to also install some adware toolbar into your web browser.

Avoid Sneaky Online Marketing Scams By Popular Websites! website tricks9

If you don’t stop and read each step of the installation wizard carefully enough, you could fall victim to this, and suddenly discover an odd new toolbar in your web browser. In the case of the 4K Video Downloader, you can click on custom installation and remove all of the extra “junk” software settings.

Avoid Sneaky Online Marketing Scams By Popular Websites! website tricks10

Unfortunately, with other software installs out there, you may not even have the option to do that. So, you really have to be careful when you’re downloading free software to read each step of the installation wizard very carefully, and use caution at each step of the process. Make sure you understand exactly what’s getting installed on your computer, and where it’s getting installed.

Sorta Free Online Service – But Not Really

There are a whole lot of websites out there that will let you hunt the Internet 13 Websites to Find People on the Internet Looking for lost friends? Today, it's easier than ever before to find people on the internet with these people search engines. Read More for background information on people.  Free “people finder” services are a dime a dozen. And one of the most common features of these services is that there are multiple layers of membership that people don’t realize. The trick these sites use is to almost force users to cough up more money for yet one more layer of service.

The site itself markets “free” searches for anyone at all you may know or may want to get information about.

Avoid Sneaky Online Marketing Scams By Popular Websites! website tricks11

These sites attempt to make that look like an authentic offer by actually giving basic background information on a person, including the last few places they’ve lived, current estimated age, and even the names of a few family members. Usually the listing will include a status that phone, address and other information is “available”, but won’t be listed.

Avoid Sneaky Online Marketing Scams By Popular Websites! website tricks12

Lo and behold, when you click on “Get more details“, you’re introduced to the wonderful membership levels available on the “free” site. If you want the information about the person that the service found for you, you’ve got to cough up the cash.

online marketing scams

Of course, maybe the skeleton details that the service offered is enough, but usually it’s not. And guess what, even after you sign up for a membership on many of these sites, you end up still having to pay for full background reports on people. This kind of thing is never free.

So, as you can see, it isn’t just the small time companies or brands that attempt to pull off these kinds of marketing tricks to get people to part with their money. The temptation to play games with you – the visitor – seems overwhelming for even some of the largest and most well-respected companies. However, if you know what to watch for, you can avoid those tricks and keep your money in your wallet, where it belongs.

Have you ever fallen for any of these online marketing scams and tricks? Do you know of any other sneaky tactics that sites use? Share your insights and feedback in the comments section below!

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  1. Rahul Yadav
    June 27, 2013 at 7:43 am

    awesome ..................trick

  2. Sneaky Advertising Tricks
    June 20, 2013 at 11:38 pm

    Ethical sneaky advertising and marketing tricks have my full support such as adding the word call on a business card or placing your own advertising on your car, but, having been in computer since 1995 I've seen the piggy back software and advertising tricks get less and less ethical as companies become more desperate to keep their market share.

    AVG is a good example of this. I'm full time self-employed in home computer tutor and virus removal specialist here in Honolulu Hawaii. I used to highly recommend AVG until they began taking over my computer clients' home pages as part of their normal upgrades and installs. That was a bit too much for me and I stopped installing it.

    This is why what this article did was so good. You brought into light the things experienced computer people take for granted.

    Great Job!


  3. Scott Belcher
    April 11, 2013 at 9:44 am

    I've noticed a lot of these. Very sneaky. Really don't like Amazon's website. Really confusing in a lot of areas. Have to be really alert now with any website.

  4. Lisa Santika Onggrid
    April 10, 2013 at 2:35 pm

    I totally hate it when I open a website to find a gigantic pop up bouncing on my nose everytime I scroll down to convince me what great offer they have. Thanks, I think I could see that myself, if only you let me.

    And whatever company ticked the 'install-this-awesome-bundled-crapware-to-slow down-your-computer' by default get into my blacklist. The best part is when you share your computer with someone else and has to clean up the mess they made.
    I've got enough fill of 'Free-but-not-so-free' thingies.
    Regarding sites like Softpedia (which I've never been a fan of) I can only say do your software download right from the developer's homepage. Besides, that way you can get more info on that certain product.

  5. JC
    April 10, 2013 at 5:23 am

    Sometimes you find installers where have to click on a few 'Cancel' buttons to avoid downloading/installing other junk... Another tactic I've seen is a really small, greyed out, 'download free version' button (THIS is the one we want) hidden on the page while the big shiny green button that reads 'Free Download' (NOT the one we want) almost kick you in the face. (sorry for my bad english)

    • Lisa Santika Onggrid
      April 10, 2013 at 2:41 pm

      I've seen that a few times. You have to be watchful every second int he day these days.

  6. elbert654
    April 9, 2013 at 3:25 pm

    Common Payment Trend
    If you do a little research or try to talk to various account managers or representatives from different daily deals sites, you will be able to compare the payment schemes and commission rates. This way, you can look for the most affordable that will not let you end up with more losses than gains. The common trend with those who were first in the industry and with the bigger players in the field of these daily deals is getting around 25% to 50% commission from your sales. Take note that this is over and above the discount you offer. In most cases, you will have to provide at least 30% discount! So just imagine how much will be left for your business given that you also have several expenses to take into account. What’s worse is that there are some daily deals sites that stretch out the payment period for so long, leaving merchants waiting for a lengthy period before receiving the returns.

  7. Mary Amanda N
    April 9, 2013 at 3:26 am

    Ryan Thanks for all of the info- some I knew and what I did not know I definitely agree with- Except perhaps Amazon - Although I am not disputing what you said on the shipping; I have a prime membership as a student and might have paid a fee way back when- but it must not have been much because I don't remember the amount and since I always order from Amazon when possible know I have saved quite a few $$ in shipping fees.. (I also like knowing if there is any problem I can simply pick up the phone and have a customer service rep on the other end within a minute and they will fix whatever the problem is- no hassles, etc.) Thanks again for all the very useful info on the really tricky and ' out to rake in what they can' sites- I intend to be much more careful!!

  8. franz wagener
    April 8, 2013 at 7:49 pm

    Hi Ryan,

    Enjoyed your article.
    Bit like the hitch-hiking family hiding at a distance with
    the luggage while the smallest/ most attractive family member
    stands in view ....
    It's here to stay, though.

    • Lisa Santika Onggrid
      April 10, 2013 at 2:40 pm

      Nice analogy.

  9. Giles
    April 8, 2013 at 2:19 am

    Nice article, Ryan, and useful not only for the noobs out there. I'd describe myself as reasonably computer savvy but one of the major download sites (I won't say which) hid a particularly nasty adware into an installation process awhile back. No matter what I did, including uninstalling the toolbar I could never get rid of it as my default homepage; I even uninstalled all my browsers and re-installed them which still didn't work. I eventually had to do a fresh install of the c drive.
    Needless to say I've never used their service again, which is of course one reason why these guys should stop being so sneaky; in the long term I just don't believe it pays.

  10. Clyde Atwood
    April 7, 2013 at 10:16 pm

    Thanks for the info about Amazon Prime. Great info to know to avoid the extra hassle!

  11. Al Ant
    April 7, 2013 at 8:19 pm

    Thanks for the practical & clear article, Ryan!

    A word of warning ref:
    the free (and popular) PDF- Xchange reader.

    I used to love and always use
    the free version of PDF- Xchange.

    when trying to upgrade to the latest free version,
    my Firewall software warned
    that PDF- Xchange was installing the "ASK Toolbar".

    I immediately cancelled the ongoing installation,
    and had to manually get rid of any partial install leftovers
    by using the also excellent REVO uninstaller.

    Anyhow, I was kind of shocked that an otherwise great
    software like PDF- Xchange, would do a hidden installation
    of the infamous "Ask Toolbar".

    Yes, I know - it's the free version...
    But, like Ryan and many of you,
    I expect the vendor to warn me
    that hidden toolbars will be installed, "because it's free".

    btw: as a reliable, free & simple PDF reader,
    I settled on: SumatraPDF, (google it!).
    It's not as fancy as PDF- Xchange,
    but it contains no hidden toolbars, etc.

    Hope this info helps others...

    • Lisa Santika Onggrid
      April 10, 2013 at 2:40 pm

      I settled to Sumatra when replacing Adobe Reader. PDF X-Change felt too cluttered to me, but I can see it's a good free software. Too bad they try such a trick.

  12. Robert Tate
    April 7, 2013 at 4:31 pm

    the internet is a much more dangerous place than it was just a few years ago.

  13. Chris Marcoe
    April 6, 2013 at 5:18 am

    Reading this article raised my blood pressure!!! I just took a vacation and got back today. I turn on the computer and the first thing I see is that my AVG free TRIAL is almost expired. WT..... I didn't download Norton! Why, exactly, am I going to be getting daily antivirus reminders? Worse than actual viruses, if you ask me. I'll be moving away from AVG no that they've decided to be underhanded with this.

    thank you for a great article.

  14. stu
    April 6, 2013 at 3:43 am

    Lets talk about a small company called Oracle who now own Java. I actually get a bad physical reaction when the updater asks to update Java now. Why? Because some fool in Oracle decided that it would be nice to have the extra money that comes from sideloading the Ask toolbar.
    Now, yes - I do spend the extra time to read the installer carefully and use the custom install or whatever slightly disguised method Oracle/Ask uses to fool people. But, the rest of my family and friends obviously don't (they are overawed by having to update something they don't know about already anyway). And so I end up having to remove Ask toolbar multiple times.
    And no matter what nice things Ask say about how they have an uninstaller, I have numerous machines with remnants of its nasty little toolbar in firefox preferences file that attest to it not working 100%, and I would guess that that is by design. No one in their right mind, with proper information would use Ask toolbar I believe, so how else do they make their money - 3rd parties and subterfuge.
    So now I connect Oracle with Ask and shudder when I have to deal with any of their software - well done Oracle marketers, you've wrecked that brand. End of rant (for now)

    • Ryan Dube
      April 6, 2013 at 3:56 am

      I have to say - great rant.

  15. Suzi Love
    April 6, 2013 at 12:04 am

    Great article. I think everyone has been caught somewhere, sometime. And like Daniel, I've been fooled into a download where I carefully read the options, unticked boxes I didn't want, and yet the software still added things I hadn't wanted. And to uninstall is always a complicated proceedure.

  16. null
    April 5, 2013 at 5:48 pm

    In my opinion the most egregious is Oracle's Java upgrade - be careful it is bundled with the ASK toolbar.

    Why is Oracle bundling a piece of necessary software with a 3rd party tool? Remember when it was Sun that owned Java - well when Oracle bought Sun and Java they commercialized the runtime library.

    As the article states - pay attention - read the small print and never click through on "express" installs

    • Ryan Dube
      April 6, 2013 at 4:02 am

      It is pretty shocking for a company like Oracle to take the route of small-time spammy-type marketers. Guess they hired the wrong marketing crew...

  17. Kelly Buchanan
    April 5, 2013 at 7:52 am

    If people actually took the extra seconds to READ before they purchase, download or install they could avoid a lot of the so-called confusion. Evidently we expect others to be looking out for our interests because we simply don't have the extra seconds, ok maybe minutes, to read and check out the fine print...Due Diligence!!!!

    • Ryan Dube
      April 6, 2013 at 4:01 am

      True - but do they really have to place those important questions in itty-bitty tiny little print and then gray it out so it looks like you can't select the other option? People can read, but it seems a bit underhanded to make it look as though you only have the option to install the junkware when you actually don't.

      • Christine St Syr Griffin
        April 6, 2013 at 11:46 pm

        and yes I can read actually very well, unfortunately I have visual problems that make my eyesight change day to day or different lighting, if they could just make it a little bit easier on the eye and no I don't always have may minutes to zoom or enlarge shame on me I guess and by the time I am done I forgot what the heck I was doing in the first place, christine oh and thanks for the heads up regarding my question about Facebook Mr.Dube

  18. Christine St Syr Griffin
    April 5, 2013 at 3:57 am

    thanks Ryan for this insightful article, I totally can relate to the amazon breakdown and I love amazon, and yes sometimes its very confusing especially with 3rd party sellers. and than I was cracking up when you went into the apps for free.....but are they? I have been shnookered more than once sad to say but true. I really have to keep my guard up and pay attention but oooooh those slimies are really good at deception. thanks again christine btw how can I post a comment here and than share on face without rewriting?

    • Ryan Dube
      April 6, 2013 at 4:00 am

      Thanks Christine. I agree - with the software it's not easy sometimes to catch the "gotcha" moment where they ask you whether or not you want to install the junk.

      As far as Facebook, personally I'd just copy - then click the Facebook share button on this page and just paste your comment into the comment field to share. Maybe someone has a more automated approach, but that's what I'd do!

  19. Zhong J
    April 5, 2013 at 2:17 am

    This kind of marketing technique is also prevalent in the job field: where the company would advertise a position, saying: high-paying security field position (No experience necessary) call 718-XXX-XXXX. Then when you call them, they'll say that there will be a training fee plus a certification fee for $100.

    • Ryan Dube
      April 6, 2013 at 3:58 am

      Sounds more like a scam than a marketing technique to me - as in fraud!

      • Zhong J
        April 6, 2013 at 7:50 pm

        Yes, most likely. However, these fraud are all over the web or lists in advertisements; as i was a recent victim of scams that involve working from home. Fraud is a great business on the Internet because people are gullible, naive and eager to believe what good comes of it.

  20. Kirby
    April 5, 2013 at 1:54 am

    How I wish I could just block all these ads.

  21. Woonstruck
    April 5, 2013 at 1:28 am

    AVG has earned itself some very negative press about its hidden downloads. I would avoid it at all costs. I recently expunged GOM Player, which I always kind of liked, from my computer when it gave me some crappy search toolbar during an update. The toolbar wasn't all that easy to get rid of, and I'll never use GOM again.

  22. Daniel J. Karas
    April 5, 2013 at 12:56 am

    Re: Ad-ware embedded in installation wizards; there are times I've chosen the custom installation, un-checked all of the 'extra' options, and still wound up with the garbage installed, forcing a tedious un-installation process. Shortcuts placed on the desktop seem to be the worst offenders.

    • Ryan Dube
      April 5, 2013 at 1:40 am

      Yeah - testing so much software, I've seen that as well. Except for me the worst offender seems to be browser toolbars installed without my permission. I hate it when that happens!

    • Lisa Santika Onggrid
      April 10, 2013 at 2:37 pm

      This kind of software gets into my blacklist in instant. No matter how good the software is, I won't install it anymore.

  23. George Hilbert
    April 4, 2013 at 10:44 pm

    Actually, you are being a bit unfair to Amazon. You use "Free Super Saving Shipping" as an example and blur it into Amazon Prime. Free Super Saving Shipping is for orders over $25 and has nothing to do with Prime. I was not "fooled" by Amazon because they are pretty up front about their sales pitches. There are a lot of sites that ask for payment info first, but Amazon ALWAYS gives you the opportunity to cancel the order if you don't like the final terms. I won't defend Prime, although I think it is a great deal for anyone who shops even a little. Your article is almost as deceptive as you accuse them of being. You should correct the distinction about free shipping.....It DOES exist on Amazon...

    • Debbie
      April 5, 2013 at 5:40 pm

      To get the Free super saver delivery by Amazon UK there is no minimum spend, doesn't matter if its £5 or £50. I always use this option.

  24. Jeff Beiler
    April 4, 2013 at 10:42 pm

    I believe with the amazon free super saving shipping you also have to have $25 of qualifying purchases. I've done the prime trial but never had trouble getting my super saver shipping when my prime wasn't active. Love amazon

  25. OD - Amazon
    April 4, 2013 at 10:34 pm

    It seems when there is some demand for a product on Amazon they increase the price as I check deal sites. Also when there is free shipping for an item it defaults to pay for shipping, I have to make sure I select free shipping every time.

  26. Dan Dooley
    April 4, 2013 at 10:20 pm

    The Amazon portion of this article isn't quite accurate.

    I've purchased many items on Amazon that qualified for Free SUPER SAVER Shipping and the items were shipped for free and I wasn't an Amazon PRIME subscriber.

    The trick is that you can't use the automated check out. You have to go through the longer full check out process before the option to choose Free SUPER SAVER shipping option will appear. The free shipping added 3-5 shipping days to the standard shipping estimate, but unless you needed the item immediately it was well worth it.

    • Lucy R
      April 4, 2013 at 10:35 pm

      Exactly! Super Saver shipping is not the same as Prime shipping; no subscription required, the only catch is that you need to purchase at least $25. There was even a recent article here with tricks for saving money in Amazon and it mentioned Super Saver shipping...

    • Ryan Dube
      April 5, 2013 at 1:39 am

      Yeah - that's really the biggest problem that I had with Amazon in this article, the fact that you have to go all the way through the process to see what's going to be available. They should be upfront about what all of the options are going to be long before I put in my credit card information.

  27. Bev
    April 4, 2013 at 9:58 pm

    Thanks Ryan for this info. I actually knew that about Amazon and did not fall for it. You rock!

  28. GodSponge
    April 4, 2013 at 9:55 pm

    You have to be especially careful when in the sections with digital content on Amazon. The one click purchase doesn't always give you a second chance to cancel. The mp3 section usually asks you if you are sure, but the videos do not. Amazon doesn't usually give refunds for digital purchases either. Just bought an entire season of something because you clicked on buy instead of play? Too bad...

    • Rasheed
      April 4, 2013 at 10:48 pm

      Even though their policy is to not refund digital items, you can call them within a reasonable time to cancel the order, and the agent you speak to will more than likely try to make you happy.

    • Ryan Dube
      April 5, 2013 at 1:38 am

      I noticed that too! I actually accidentally ordered a video once when we first started using Amazon Prime for streaming movies. Learned that lesson the hard way - so that's a good point.

    • GodSponge
      April 5, 2013 at 3:09 am

      Yeah, that is what happened to me. I got mine refunded. Thankfully I only accidentally purchased one tv episode. They refunded me without too much hassle. Still, if they have a confirmation for mp3 purchases, why not movies and tv?

  29. Jill Jacoby
    April 4, 2013 at 9:40 pm

    Great warning about Amazon. I love and am a prime member BUT I don't like the way they have the check out set up and try to be very careful when using it.

  30. dragonmouth
    April 4, 2013 at 8:11 pm

    At least now AVG includes some kind of a download button for the free version. You have to work to find it but it's in there somewhere. There was a time that they did not.

    For the first couple of years after AVG debuted, they only offered a free version. I guess they were working on a pay-for version with some more features. After a couple of years it got harder and harder to find the Free Download button. It got to the point where the button was completely removed. The only way to get the free version was to go to a special URL "//". Of course, neither the URL nor the free version, were not mentioned anywhere on the AVG home page. I got the URL from FileHippo.

    If I am shopping online and the merchant asks for my credit card before disclosing ALL the costs, I terminate the transaction, no matter how good the deal is.

    • Ryan Dube
      April 5, 2013 at 1:37 am

      Yeah - same here. I want to know full breakdown of all fees, terms, etc before I ever even decide to move forward with taking any purchase seriously. If they won't talk about any aspect of the cost - like being forthright about fees - I'm out the door. So I am the same when it comes to shopping online too.

  31. Daniel
    April 4, 2013 at 7:14 pm

    Regarding Embedded Adware In Installation Wizards, the installation process often present you with "I agree with terms of service and want to install some 3rd party junk." You actually don't need to agree with the terms of service to complete your download, it is just a way of injecting your computer with adware

    • Ryan Dube
      April 5, 2013 at 1:36 am

      Agreed - mostly I've found that these installers are fairly honest about whether or not the toolbar is installed. If you select to not install it, it usually leaves it out of the install, at least if the software is legit. There are always bad eggs out there.

      • suneo nobi
        April 5, 2013 at 1:17 pm

        You can use Ninite downloader for installing software to avoid bundleware while downloading the software you want...........

    • Sneaky Advertising Tricks
      June 20, 2013 at 11:41 pm

      I agree, but I've been in computers for sometime. My end user computer tutoring clients here in Honolulu Hawaii are like new borns learning to not talk to strangers for the first time. This is why I continue to consider this unethical