15 November 2005
I’m afraid that AOL have overstepped the mark this time. Under normal circumstances, I stay well clear of AOL based on the principal that I’ve heard plenty stories about them allegedly ripping off customers who signed up for their free dial-up Internet trials. (This was, of course, many years ago – when you used to get an AOL CD through your door every few weeks – but first impressions and all that...) I’ve also recently been made aware of how AOL software can be practically impossible to get rid off, even if you choose not to install all the bloatware! Unfortunately, in this case I was installing AOL Instant Messenger because some colleagues use this as their preferred IM tool. Anyway, I’m going off at a tangent... which brings me quite nicely to WildTangent.
So, who or what is WildTangent? The first I heard of it was when I saw this:
Now, I wouldn’t say I’m paranoid at all when it comes to the Internet, but I do find it interesting to see what sneaky web developers are trying to stuff into my cookies. I usually just click the Allow Cookie button and be done with it, but this alert caught me off guard because I didn’t even have Internet Explorer open when it popped up – and it had a crazy looking icon in my Windows taskbar!
Admittedly, the first thing I thought was, “ARGH! VIRUS ALERT! EVACUATE THE AREA!!!” After I calmed myself down, I clicked Block Cookie and Googled [wildtangent]. The first result was for the company’s website but the second result was PC Hell: How to Remove WildTangent. Now that sounded like something I wanted to read...
Having read that page, it appears that AOL partnered with WildTangent to provide games from within AOL Instant Messenger. Great. That sounds fun. But wait a minute... I don’t remember giving my permission for WildTangent to install anything, so what the hell is this doing in my Add or Remove Programs window?
More to the point, what are they doing trying save cookies on my computer even though I’ve never been to their website and I’m not even browsing the Internet!?!
Oh... and I nearly forgot to mention that the AOL Instant Messenger license doesn’t mention WildTangent anywhere!
The dirty bastards...
Update: 15 November 2005 (23:01)
Having uninstalled WildTangent via the Add or Remove Programs window, I’m still seeing parts of it scattered around my computer in the usual places – i.e. the Program Files folder and the registry. According to their website, I’m supposed to email their support department if this happens. BTW, just for the record, it’s not spyware. It’s just unwanted and annoying.