Ask Leo: Do I need this add-on recommended by this software installation?


By Leo Notenboom

When installing some software programs that I purchased on the web, it says while installing, to click on say Ask Jeeves for a search engine. This is “recommended” and also is the Ask Jeeves toolbar again recommended. To be quite blunt about this, Leo, I did not click those even though they were recommended. In the past, I recall that some of this stuff is quite aggressive and soon after the install, my PC wasn’t running right. Can the seller that I purchased my software from cause the software to not run correctly because I didn’t install the search engine or toolbar that was recommended with the software?

You did the right thing. If the software is truly optional, then saying no should have no impact on your ability to use the software that you actually want.

Software installations have become more and more aggressive in recent years in attempting to get you to install additional things that are unrelated to the software that you’ve actually purchased.

I have very mixed feelings on this; on one hand, I understand the motivation, but on the other hand, I also understand the ramifications on the average user who is not always sure what to check.

There’s even a term that’s been coined for this type of software installation: “foistware” – software that’s being foisted on you whether you actually want it or not.

How it works

The short version is very simple. A software manufacturer is offered additional revenue for including a toolbar or other application with their installation. That revenue may be based on the number of people that see the recommended offer or it may be the number of people that actually install the recommended offer.

Whether the actual offer is related to the software that you’re installing is often ambiguous.

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This post is excerpted with Leo’s permission from his blog.

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