Follow-up: XoftSpy - rogue or reputable?
This weekend we were contacted by the principals at ParetoLogic, makers of XoftSpy and asked to reconsider categorization of XoftSpy as a "rogue" product.
Essentially, ParetoLogic's side of the story is this:
1. They released the first version of their software earlier this year. The software had some bugs, as all new software does.
2. They partnered with ClickBank to handle their affiliate program. Soon after, thousands of websites began promoting XoftSpy, sometimes making outrageous claims about its efficacy.
3. The exploding popularity of the product outpaced their ability to correct the initial bugs, and as a consequence many internet reviewers bashed the software.
4. They have been hard at work fixing the bugs, and they are reviewing the quality of their affiliates to ensure that they are adhering to ethical business practices.
In their words,
We welcome all suggestions for improvement, and we will constantly work to make XoftSpy better, and ideally a product respected and recommended between programmers, developers, software companies and among other industry experts. If you think of something that we could improve, then please just send us an email. You will be impressed with the response, and if at all possible you will see the changes take form. Resorting to misinformed bashing is a tough way to appreciate life. Why not help us and others make a real difference for consumers instead. Send us your suggestions, send us your thoughts. We will make changes and improvements happen. Then decide for yourself if these Internet rants and accusations have substance.
We here at Adware Report agree with this sentiment. Because of ParetoLogic's attention and concern about this matter, we are removing them from our "rogue" list and will subject the software to a full review.
The full text of ParetoLogic's reply follows...
ParetoLogic was formed in early 2004 by several software development and marketing professionals. At the end of March our first product was launched. As of this writing, Our Trademarks are new. We will be aggressively defending all legal claims to our product and corporate identities.
Thank you for posting the URLs referencing our company. If deemed necessary, we will have our legal counsel investigate these sites and several others we have identified.
Thanks for your prompt reply to our concerns, as we also take these issues seriously. With regard to matters concerning trademarks, many companies pursue legal action first and let the courts determine the outcome. We however, prefer a more personal and hopefully amiable solution.
We do have an 'alternate resolution'. We do not fit your definition of rogue software, and we would simply like you to not list xoftspy in such a category. Its that simple.
Your website "adwarereport.com" looks great and is very professional. This is surely evidence of a talented and knowledgeable webmaster. ParetoLogic, as you know, has received web references that are not flattering. We have not addressed these accusations until now. :) Feel free to repost this email or any part thereof, on your internet properties as you see fit.
We would ask webmasters, to actually try out the software themselves. Few posters and webmasters have done this. The posts are simply an amalgamation of forum reposts. Those who have tested our initial release unfortunately have not likely followed up and tried any of the updated versions along the way. Ideally it would be nice if posters formed their own opinions rather than piggyback on the musings of another, and then jump to inaccurate and sometimes ridiculous conclusions. Certainly more convenient than standing apart from others. We have found a couple of posters that supported the product, and had good things to say about a new contender in a market amuck with pretenders. Then we read on and saw how these people themselves became the targets.
We would like our newly updated products identity to be recognized on various media by its effectiveness and overall performance, not by inaccurate assumptions, false assertions and replicated postings of many who have not even tried our constantly updated and improved software. We employ a skilled staff that takes pride in their work and marvels in the satisfaction of our customers. This contentment is dually shared by many of our customers themselves, as we are receiving much praise from registered users, a constant stream of referrals worldwide and a growing institutional client base.
ParetoLogic launched XoftSpy with a huge affiliate marketing effort right from day one. We now feel that this may have been an inappropriate venue for marketing a fresh new threat removal technology in such a high profile industry. Clickbank, an independent affiliate network, was used to enhance the marketing base for the product. Dozens of affiliates embraced XoftSpy and thousands of ads began to appear all over the Internet. It was in this process that XoftSpy was presented to the public as a quick cure-all for every conceivable computer malady. We are currently reviewing the XoftSpy affiliate marketing plan, and will be making a number of changes. This will include stringent guidelines and mandatory adherence to our code of ethical and acceptable practices. Early in the product marketing cycle of XoftSpy, a few undetected programming glitches were identified by our users. Our user base exploded quickly with the large affiliate exposure from Clickbank. These glitches were thereby amplified as compared to other products with a more modest sales cycle and a more moderate growth in number of users. The ParetoLogic support staff replied to these user concerns quickly and often in great detail, assuring XoftSpy users that our programmers were diligently searching for the most reliable and effective solution. The latest XoftSpy release is 3.2.08, and is available to users on the site at paretologic.com. Our definition reference file is currently #12. We have updated our definitions often since product release just a few months ago. We believe this new edition has addressed concerns mentioned on our support forum and on various websites. Here is a list of cited concerns and ParetoLogic Inc. comments:
ParetoLogic domain is registered to a Proxy Account
The founders of ParetoLogic desire to retain a degree of privacy for perfectly legitimate reasons. First of all, our directors, management, support staff and all employees are given the luxury of being able to work from home. This affords us the advantage of being able to hire exceptional people from any corner of the world, and gives us the ability to protect our families from any internet spawned imposition on our privacy. We are parents and grandparents, and we have children too! While we operate independently from our homes in various locales and countries, we dont wish to have our personal addresses posted across multiple sites for all to see.
Identifying non-existent items
Our users have informed us of threats identified that do not actually exist. Two such items were Coolwebsearch.svinit. and MSconnect dialer. The XoftSpy engine is more advanced than simply matching items in a definition file. We use a definition file system in conjunction with a more advanced detection system. XoftSpy is programmed with characteristics and traits that are typically associated with known specific threats and threat types. Using a programming algorithm of this type is advantageous because pests are able to be identified quickly before causing problems and without manual intervention. On the other hand, sometimes items are incorrectly categorized or identified. We are not sure if this is what is referred to as a 'false positive' however if this term describes the identification of an item incorrectly, as we've described, then this could be the case, and would also be the case in the development and marketing cycle of any other software product. We have responded to every single issue relayed to us by XoftSpy users and have diligently sought to quickly and effectively correct these errors. Sometimes this includes slight modification of the detection algorithm. Other times it includes a simple file modification. We have done this so that the items in doubt are correctly identified and in the case of non-existent items, are no longer identified at all. It is important to note that as purveyors of parasite applications continue their destructive plight, they will inevitably attempt to change their parasites structure to try to avoid detection. When this occurs we will make every possible effort to decipher their steps quickly and then code the appropriate removal sequence. Inaccurate identifications are inevitable as threats change their character. What we will do is ensure that our system adapts just as fast. All user reports are taken very seriously and we will always work around the clock to resolve customer questions and address each and every product concern.
Identification of items that keep coming back
We have fixed this. In most cases, there shouldnt be items detected and reappearing after removal. In isolated cases the parasite evil-doers have programmed pests that recreate under a new registry key or program name. There is a constant battle between Parasite removal companies and the unscrupulous pest makers. Often the hackers and parasite developers are well schooled but misguided and perhaps underemployed people looking for a venue to showcase their sometimes impressive skill set. Although we recognize their aptitude, we employ the very best to stay ahead of their tricks. One such trick is to generate an auto regenerating parasite that recreates itself under a new handle every time it is removed. Whenever such an item is identified, we will work with haste to outsmart this code and we will effectively update the product as soon as humanly possible.
Affiliate Domains are associated with Spyhunter/Enigma
ParetoLogic is not affiliated with Spyhunter, Noadware, Pal Remover Spyware Nuker or any other product. Our marketing efforts currently include advertising from independent affiliates. Affiliates are free to market whatever products they wish. We cannot control what competing products they do promote, but we can and will control the conduct associated with the ParetoLogic and XoftSpy brands. Our principals and ethical practises are under detailed revision and will be strictly adhered to. This includes a Zero spam tolerance and we will not tolerate blatant inaccuracies and claims about our product. We will not pass judgment on other products. We suggest that people download XoftSpy and see for themselves how well we perform. If you find another product that does something you like better, then perhaps that is the product for you, but please let us know what we can do better. We welcome all suggestions for improvement, and we will constantly work to make XoftSpy better, and ideally a product respected and recommended between programmers, developers, software companies and among other industry experts. If you think of something that we could improve, then please just send us an email. You will be impressed with the response, and if at all possible you will see the changes take form. Resorting to misinformed bashing is a tough way to appreciate life. Why not help us and others make a real difference for consumers instead. Send us your suggestions, send us your thoughts. We will make changes and improvements happen. Then decide for yourself if these Internet rants and accusations have substance.
The site is big on ad hype and getting affiliates to sell
As mentioned earlier, ParetoLogic currently uses Clickbank to process orders and to promote the product to various affiliates and resellers. The network of affiliates advertising XoftSpy expanded rapidly, and consumers learned very quickly of this new entry in the Privacy Software market. Over the last months we have learned of various techniques that affiliates use to increase their market share and to dominate available web advertising space. We are currently investigating these practises, some of which are noted as potentially misleading to the user. We will labor to correct any and all inaccuracies brought to our attention. One such issue cited is that some affiliates use domains containing the word spybot. We fully respect this company and their product name. XoftSpy detects and removes 52 known strings that contain the identifier spybot. This term defines a category, just like spyware, just like adware and just like trojan. However, We will warn and/or terminate the affiliate relationships with any who use the actual '4 word product name', developed by Mr. Kolla, to promote our product. Just let us know
How the reference file of definitions is updated
The XoftSpy Detection system has two components. First of all, a basic definition file. Secondly a threat characteristic analysis algorithm resident in the engine itself. In order to update the definition file, simply click the update button at the top of the XoftSpy product interface. The reference file present on your system is compared to the latest file on our servers. If a new update is available then the users edition is updated. ParetoLogic does not have access to any computer, at any time, unless the user chooses to update the software. We are currently designing a new update module and security features whereby the user is prompted to check for updates and update permissions whenever their system is rebooted or the software is loaded. Again, the program will not check for updates unless the user expressly asks it to. Then a check will be done for a newer file. If a newer file is available the user will be asked if they wish to download the update. The threat characteristic analysis components are part of the actual detection and removal modules and are updated only when the user chooses to download the latest release.
Is ParetoLogic a pyramid scheme?
XoftSpy fixes a ton of malware related computer problems and is rapidly improving by constantly adding new protective features. Upgrades and product enhancements are completely free to registered users. Our product is used and loved by tens of thousands of users. Try XoftSpy yourself, if you dont love it too, let us know why and we will work tirelessly until you do :)
Does XoftSpy do a drive by hijack of the users PC?
No - An uninformed guess as to why a users PC is doing weird things. XoftSpy detects and eliminates such harmful applications. If a user cant find a solution to thwart a hijacker or eliminate an adware app, then we will update the software to protect from the problem. If any user has such an experience with a troublesome pest, then on the interface go to settings and then select show logfiles. This will display a history of the logfiles stored only on your PC. Select the recent file and send it to us on our support page located here http://paretologic.com/support/. We will then study the files, fully research the new parasite profile, find a solution and then update the definition and/or software as required.
An application that popped up out of nowhere and associated with questionable domains
As we mentioned earlier the Fast exposure afforded XoftSpy via the Internet and affiliate marketing has been rather startling. We have addressed the concern about the domains earlier; these are operated by affiliates whose websites have promoted different products in the past. ParetoLogic has zero affiliation with any other product or company mentioned.
Automatic re-installation of software
We are not sure where this question came from. If a user wishes to remove XoftSpy, it is very simple to do. Just go to the start menu -> all programs -> xoftspy -> uninstall xoftspy. Alternatively, just go to Add/Remove programs in the control panel. Select Remove and in a few moments its done. The uninstall is as clean and simple as can be. The only way to reinstall is to manually download the software again. We would be very interested in learning the details of any users experience to the contrary.
How to get a refund
There are few companies on the Internet that offer a simple no question asked, no hassle and no problem refund policy. We are such a company. If someone wants a refund and they send us an email asking for one, it is done. If they tell us why then we will make changes to improve our product experience. If we are not told why, that is fine too, remember... no question!
If there are any questions or issues not answered here then please feel free to contact us on the support page or through the appropriate email address on the contact page.
Wishing all a trouble free Computer experience Xoftspy is free to see if your PC is infected with known adware, hijackers and many other parasites. In order to remove infections, registration is required for $39.95. This includes Unlimited Lifetime support. Unlimited Lifetime Updates and a 100% Customer Satisfaction Guarantee.
ParetoLogic Inc. is the Developer of the XoftSpy Anti-Adware, Anti-Spyware & Parasite Removal Software.
I tested the most recent scan on the link provided your adware report site for ParetoLogic.com
After backing up the registry,
I first I had to disable my Hosts file as that site is in hpguru's list of banned sites.
As a pre-check, I scanned with Ad-aware which found one tracking cookie.
Then XoftSpy scanned 41,000 objects compared to Ad-aware scanning 127,000.
Xoftspy found 7 registry items:
The Coolwebsearch and CWS.Oslogo (2) entries are registry entries for sites
in my Restricted Zones that I intentionally put there to protect my system.
The WinPup32 (2) entries look to be part of MS .inet setup.
The Bat/Mumu-A entry is actually part of standard legit video card setup.
The MainPean Dialer entry is part of my VDMSound setup.
XoftSpy got zero out of 7 correct. All false positives.
XoftSpy flagged legitimate applications and system processes as malware.
I backed up the files and clicked Remove. As predicted; the registration screen came up.
Pay up or stay infected with legitimate entries.....
I chose to stay infected with my own system's entries.
Well, I couldn't call any of this encouraging towards removal of XoftSpy from the crapware list.
You might want to try the same procedure and give this product an updated review.
Then again, looking at webhelper's comparision, you may prefer to drop that product altogether.
We can't have innocent victims removing legitimate files from their system
after paying good money for a scam product.
I'll check your site in a few days to see how you are progressing.
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