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Not an urban legend: Snopes pushes Zango

That ad, “Do you want to block Junk Emails?” is for a Zango product — adware (VirusTotal report here (opens in new tab)). And by running this ad, Snopes, which is highly reputable, is providing an implied endorsement of the product.

Well, here is what your screen may look like after you install this pile of crap (incidentally, with miserable notice and disclosure):


(opens in new tab)

I contacted Snopes about six months ago to complain, but they ignored my message.

Note that:

1. This is one of only two popups that constantly come up on the Snopes site (the other one is for a registry cleaner, and that’s probably another story when I have time). It's not like a one-off bad popup that happens in a rotation with other popups. These two popups are there practically every time you visit Snopes (see for yourself).

2. This would mean that Snopes is getting paid well for these popups (either pay-per-click or by page views). Advertisers like Zango don’t pay to run ads that don’t get a good response. And likewise, a site like Snopes won’t waste valuable ad inventory on poorly-paying ads.

And I firmly believe that the fact that the ads do well is because of Snopes’ credibility.

In other words, Snopes is pushing adware because it makes them money. And I believe it’s a lot of money.

And that’s not an urban legend. It’s shameful.

Alex is a technology CEO, with leadership, operating partner, investor, and board member roles at security firms including AutoLoop, Borland, Quarterdeck (now Symantec and Cisco WebEx), GFI/TeamViewer, Sunbelt Software (now ThreatTrack Security), BlueStripe Software, StopBadware, Knowbe4, Malwarebytes, and Runaware Holding AB. When CEO of Sunbelt he ran a security blog, and he still writes on security.