View Poll Results: Have you heard of this before?
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Thread: Ezula - Kazza
08-14-2001, 12:56 PM #1
Ezula - Kazza
Thanks Dave for inviting me to come post here in your great looking forums. I'm jealous
In the latest issue of the Gazette I wrote an article (rage) about a new program targeted at ripping off webmasters and their advertisers. It's called "TopText" and some other names.
This program is Scumware and is already installed on about 6 million computers since it is installed when someone installs KaZaa, the new peer-to-peer file sharing program that replaces other MP3 sharing systems.
The purpose of the TopText plugin for Internet Explorer is to turn words and links on legitimate pages everwhere into yellow links to TopText advertisers on a CPC basis. The goal is to steal your traffic and the legitimate traffic of your advertisers in order to generate money for the people behind this "virus".
We have a very active discussion of this issue which is about to break all records for the longest running thread in our Advertising Sales Forum at Get High (Traffic) Forums.
Please drop in and read the article so that you can help us spread the word and apply pressure wher it is needed.
Thanks and we hope to see your forum community take up this discussion in order to reach more webmasters. We are asking to post this on every webmaster and advertising forum community anywhere in the world.
As you visit other online communities please post and send visitors to this thread on your forums and ask them to also help get the word out.
Thanks again Dave. I'll be dropping in on your forums to get some good HTML help.
Last edited by HTML; 07-29-2003 at 06:01 PM.
08-14-2001, 01:36 PM #2
Thanks for sharing your wisdom with us Jim, I usually spend about 3 or 4 hours a day reading and researching, but trying to get the site changed over consumed most of the last week, so hopefully everybody will understand if my knowledge in this area is somewhat limited.
From what I have been fortunate enough to read, this is an extremely scary situation, one that will have an affect on EVERY WEBMASTER, not just those that rely on advertising monies. I have seen a few screenprints of what this software does, and let me tell you it destroys websites.
Imagine, downloading Kazza in order to share a couple files with some friends, then at some point you go to your website to perform maintenance. All of a sudden your text is full of yellow underlined links, links that you never placed there, it was just text. Now imagine your real links have become drop down menus! That is what is happening, now instead of having a link point to that great affiliate or cool website, your visitors have a drop down menu which lists COMPETING VENDORS, links that you do not get paid for, clicks that your friend with the cool page will not get!
Do you want your website distorted by some scum company just so that they can make a buck? Do you want some scum company taking your advertiser dollars away?
Here is a great example of what they are doing, and if you have this software installed I invite you to go to the Symantic website and take a look. Symantic website has links to Mcaffe anti-virus? I can promise you that Symantic did not put them there.
Here is another example, although I have not installed this software, and have no idea yet how AHFB looks thru it, nor what links to what unscrupulous companies get placed on AHFB, I know Toptext had a webhosting company (they withdrew after pressure). I have tried my best to give you the very best of webhosting companies, some are paid links some are not, but if I put them here, regardless if I get paid or not you can be sure they are quality. But now anywhere it says webhosting it is(was) a link to somebody I have never promoted (although I have heard good things about luckily). But what if it was a shady host, how does that make me look?
We must make our voices heard, we can do that with some intelleigent discussion on this matter, and some quality ideas.
You know I can make my voice heard, ...can you
08-14-2001, 06:07 PM #3
can you give all that in one line. Haha, like
"Don't download this or this will happen to your webpage", or is it somethign that's wrong with the web server? I'm confused, haha.
08-14-2001, 06:48 PM #4
Okay, this is how it works.
I make a webpage. I do this often, of course. But this one looks like this-
Come to AHFB2000! for all your webhosting, web-design needs!
Thats it, the whole page.
Now someone who has installed this insidious piece of filth looks at my page. They see-
Come to AHFB2000! for all your webhosting, web-design needs!
those two plain-text words, on MY webpage have been converted to links to some cheap, unethical toad who is willing to sell his own mother for a few hits. I have NO control over what my visitors sees/links to!
Does that help? (out of breath from all that shouting)
08-14-2001, 07:01 PM #5
I just got some great inof from Jims forum (cheers Jim! ) and heres something we can all do.
Allegedly, If you send a list of your sites to
they will block those sites from there ad campaigns.
Hehheh. whilst I kind-off believe them, I am going to make sure by sending 3 copies, every day until I am sure they have removed them.
I recommend we ALL do this. firstly, they might actually be telling the truth. Secondly, it might give them an idea of the feeling out there in the www.
So...off to make a nice email template> Will send the first batch pronto.
Last edited by HTML; 03-20-2007 at 01:08 PM.
08-14-2001, 07:07 PM #6
we should wish it was that easy
It sounds as though you read as far as and including the slashdot article. If you investigate a little furthur, you will see that this is not the case. I would imagine by now you will have recieved 3 form letters in response, all of which end in a sale pitch to send them money!
6.5 million people have unknowingly installed this "virus" on thier machines, destroying thier surfing experience, destroying our websites, and all they want to do is ask us to advertise with them.
08-14-2001, 07:24 PM #7
Still reading. Thirteen pages! gah.
Starting to look hopeless.
Hmm. D-O-S thoughts.
08-14-2001, 10:19 PM #8
Due to the seriousness of this issue and the fact that it affects not only webmasters, but advertisers and end users as well, I have asked for some reinforcement by the name of Ralph Nader.
I have emailed Mr.Nader with the following:
I have a very important issue I hope you can take a few minutes to address your opinions.
There is a serious issue revolving around the internet and a piece of software called TopText. TopText is a product made by Ezula, which is bundled with Kazaa a popular file sharing program. When a user downloads Kazza, and thus far over 6.5 million people have, they also download TopText.
In order to remain brief I will quote a post from a Haha, a user at gethighforums.com
The below listed are the exact issues as they relate to TopText/Ezula:
Website owner/maintainer concerns:
* Alters copyrighted site content without permission by adding links
* Alters copyrighted site design with yellow highlighting and underlines
* Places text link advertising on websites without compensating the sites' owners
* Turns companies' own websites against them by adding text link ads that lead to their competitors websites
* Hijacks websites' visitors by adding external links
* Alters the intended click flow of a site by turning links into dropdown boxes that promote links out of the site
* On sites that use the common design convention of yellow highlighting for words and links, masquerades as part of the intended page design
* Adds links that may not be appropriate for a site's intended audience
* Breaks the common policy of keeping editorial content separate from ads, calling a journalist's and/or site's ethics and integrity into question
* Insinuates links to products & services into "recommended" lists, putting the page author's reputation at risk and making them a liability target
* When a site's users are ready to buy the site's product or service, clicking on 'Shopping Cart' or a similar link may show users a link to another site, causing the site to lose revenue
* Text link ads show up in online legal agreements like privacy policies and terms of service, bringing their strictly legal purpose into question
* Forces web authors to expend precious time and energy trying to minimize TopText damage to their pages
* Causes websites to break any exclusivity clauses they may have with advertisers by placing text link ads from other advertisers on the same page
* Stabs Ezula advertisers in the back by doing the same thing to their sites once users click on a link to get to them
* On sites where advertisers pay for listings, particularly those with descriptions, alters the text of their paid listings by inserting links to their competitors
Web User concerns:
* Text link ads invade the signature files and comments of participants in online forums, insinuating a connection to the product or service advertised
* The end result of widespread use of TopText and similar applications will be a mass movement from free content to paid content by website owners, since they will be deprived of advertising revenue
TopText End-User concerns:
* Uses vague opt-out language in Kazaa's installation dialog and an inaccurate TopText application description, ensuring that only those with prior knowledge of TopText will know to avoid installing it
* Confuses, annoys, angers and/or frightens software users, who often think they have contracted a computer virus
* Average users may believe that TopText is necessary for Kazaa to function
* Does not provide users with disable/delete information in the Kazaa help file
* Is difficult for many users to delete from their systems
* Leaves trojan-like components behind after uninstall
We, the members of the webmaster community, ask for your assistance, although our numbers may be high our resouces against larger companies such as this do have limits. We are taking a stand, we are contacting advertisers and we are making progress. In the meantime we are still losing revenues, and in the time of the dotcom crash we cannot afford to have what we have worked for stolen from us.
To learn more about this situation I invite you to visit these forums and share in the quality discussions.
Direct thread links:
Mr. Nader, if you have made it this far, may I please ask that if you are unable to help us directly with this issue, could you please take a few moments and share your knowledge with us as to how to best handle the situation.
To the lurkers of the board, you do not have to have a website yet to be affected, your opinions DO matter, your knowledge WILL help, please share with us.
08-14-2001, 11:14 PM #9
Making some progress
Some of our members have been working for the past 2 days and they have come up with a couple of workable solutions to disable this Scumware. However it looks like a couple of more days may give us the final solution!
08-16-2001, 11:30 PM #10
A new and very startling story has just broke, it now appears that Lex Sisney and Commission Junction have thier hands in the money. But if we look at the history of our beloved friend Lex it is no surprised he would associate himself with "scumware".
Brian Clark of Revenews has done some investigating and found the cookies of "Commission-Junction" and "qksrv".
The article is locted here at http://www.revenews.com/archives/00000138.html
I have been in email today with a member of these forums and telling her that Lex was making money out of this deal, I just wish I could have proved it first
Great job to Brian Clark and the revenews team !!
I also wanted to let you know that I have set up 2 pages
- Mephisto's uninstaller http://www.ahfb2000.com/ezula/ezula.php
- Link to us page, please help inform others http://www.ahfb2000.com/ezula/linktous.php
08-17-2001, 05:30 AM #11
Dave, should that uninstaller be *.zip?
I got a 404 on *.php!
08-17-2001, 07:13 AM #12
08-17-2001, 08:25 AM #13
Fair enough. G'night Dave
08-17-2001, 02:34 PM #14
I spoke with a media contact of mine, I have been invited on his radio show here in San Antonio, as well as put in touch with 2 other radioshows 1 also has a news show "Cyberbob" as well as an investigative reporter for the NBC affiliate here in San Antonio.
He also stated that he is putting together a list of copyright lawyers as well as a list of network and cable contacts that may be interested.
...can you say CNN, CNBC...sure I knew ya could
08-17-2001, 04:13 PM #15
However, you colonials fail to realise that only the BBC has any influence in the world...