Infrastructure // PC & Servers
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8/25/2005
03:09 PM
David  DeJean
David DeJean
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I Owe Adobe Half an Apology

We just turned comments on for the Pipelines blogs, and it didn't take you long to find them. I was delighted to see so many responses to my post on Adobe sneaking applications onto my PC when I updated the Adobe Reader. (See Bad Behavior, Adobe.) But I was puzzled by comments that said they hadn't had the same problem I did. So I went back to the Adobe site to see what I'd missed.

We just turned comments on for the Pipelines blogs, and it didn't take you long to find them. I was delighted to see so many responses to my post on Adobe sneaking applications onto my PC when I updated the Adobe Reader. (See Bad Behavior, Adobe.) But I was puzzled by comments that said they hadn't had the same problem I did. So I went back to the Adobe site to see what I'd missed.The answer was plenty. I had originally elected to upgrade to Reader 7. The "upgrade" link takes you to a page that asks you to select the patch level of your operating system -- in my case, Win2000 SP4 -- and when you click a red "Continue" button some text and a big red "Download" button appear.

My first time through the page I had apparently clicked "Download" almost by reflex. On this visit, though, I read the text:

It was, I admit, absolute stupidity on my part. If I had read it, I would have briskly unchecked the boxes and said something to myself like, "Aha, take that, you evil marketing . . . persons." And I would never have written the blog entry I did.

But I didn't read it. And you know what? I don't feel bad about that. Adobe laid a marketing snare for me and I stepped right into it. In my original post I said Adobe had sneaked adware onto my PC. Clearly Adobe has a defense. It didn't sneak. It told me right up front it was going to put adware on my PC. I just hadn't seen the warning.

And that is precisely what Adobe had to be hoping for. My guess is the 80/20 rule applies: 80 percent of the downloads from those two checkboxes are done entirely by accident, like I did them by accident. And that is bad marketing, terrible marketing, because all it did was make me angry. And judging from the reader comments, I'm not alone.

So here's the deal, Adobe: I apologize for the "sneaked" in my blog post, and I thank the comment posters who made me aware of my error. Now, Adobe, when you apologize for those two sneaky checkboxes and take them off your download page we'll call it even.

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