ComScore Says 'Researchware' Isn't 'Spyware'
Thomas Claburn writes on InformationWeek:
ComScore chairman and co-founder Gian Fulgoni believes there's a distinction between overt and covert data gathering. Market researchers, he suggests, rely on "researchware," in contrast to criminal researchers who employ "spyware."More here.
"Market research tracking software (we have dubbed it 'researchware') needs to be differentiated from 'adware,' 'spyware,' and 'malware' and should not be treated in the same way as these intrusive and potentially harmful applications," Fulgoni said in a blog post Wednesday. "We must not let the purveyors of spyware -- the rotten apples -- give market researchers a bad name."
Such name calling has significant implications for ComScore's business: using "researchware" to track the actions of its 2 million-person panel of Internet users and mining that data for salable market intelligence. As the company warns in a third-quarter 2007 SEC filing, "Concerns over the potential unauthorized disclosure of personal information or the classification of our software as 'spyware' or 'adware' may cause existing panel members to uninstall our software or may discourage potential panel members from installing our software."
To critics, Fulgoni's attempt to separate "researchware" from "spyware" looks like an effort to divide conjoined twins.
If it looks like a duck, and walks like a duck, and... -ferg