This is not something new, but just something to share, especially in light of the fact that Zango owns HotBar.
First, we see this ad placed through Fastclick on a well-trafficked website.
The ad ultimately goes to this page:
As you can see, there is a note that there will be ad-supported software. Note the “Safe Download …Click Run to ensure safe download”.
A big fat EULA which you agree to, and then the screen below. (You can read the EULA here),
Well, after you're done, you've installed a plethora of crap, and your machine gets popup ads like this one:
And look at the toolbar when I search for “puppies”!
(In fairness, if you click on the blue bar at the bottom, you’re sent to a page which then provides the option of turning off your popups):
Finally, the usual desktop shortcuts to scammy products, one of which loads a web page which, through the magic of the Internet, incredibly finds problems with your machine and (thankfully!) recommends a solution (example here).
Illegal? No. But consider the average user, who clicks on the "antispam" popup. Then consider what this user's machine will look like after it's all over. And some companies still have the temerity to delist Hotbar from their database?