Correction on STOPzilla post (and is a horse a horse, regardless of the color?)

Ask (formerly Ask Jeeves) has had a history. Now, as far as I can tell, the company has been clean for some time now. They have made dramatic, and often impressive improvements, and I recognize their work, and the genuine hard work of Ask’s Kirk Lawrence. (Uber-spyware fighter Ben Edelman does claim that he recently got an install of an Ask toolbar without any notice or consent, but I haven’t verified this claim.)

So Ask really has made a real effort to clean things up and it shows. And the search engine itself is harmless.

I do understand STOPzilla’s point. It’s not the Ask Toolbar per se. It really is their own toolbar, and all it’s doing is using Ask search results. Fair enough. But is this a prudent move, being that they’re a security company? Does it show too much effort to monetize their customer base, rather than focus on good security? Does it show poor institutional memory, jumping in the sack with Ask? Or is it harmless and simply good business sense on their part?

I’m curious to hear your thoughts.