Just got an email from a ContentBiz reader about today's issue on Weatherbug, asking if we would expose their "dark side." While no company is perfect, I can safely say here that Weatherbug doesn't have a big dark side.
The reader wrote, " I used Weatherbug for some time, liked it, thought it was a great, creative way to provide a service and put ads in front of people. At the same time I noticed that I was being hit with a large number of seemingly random pop-up ads. I got sick of them, and uninstalled Weatherbug. The damn pop-ups continue. I mention it to our IT guys who told me that Weatherbug is infamous for this, and they have a tool that they could use to really get rid of the application. Maybe these ads got there some other way, although I really doubt it, and the IT guys knew right away who the suspect was."
Moral #1 of the story: While they are smarter than us mortals, IT guys don't know everything. According to my sources inside and outside Weatherbug, in this case IT was completely wrong.
Moral #1 of story: There are a lot of, shall we say less-than-scrupulous-about-privacy, download providers out there who are doing stuff like this and even experts, like your IT guys are easily confused about which download brands are safe and which are not. This may be the *biggest* challenge the newly-re-emerging Web-based download publishing industry is going to have to fight.
It's on par with people complaining to super-strict permission- based double opt-in lists, "Hey you sent me extra spam" when it wasn't the list owner's fault, a spammer just happened to harvest the same name at about the same time. Stormy weather ahead!
Link to Weatherbug Case Study Part I: