The marketing geniuses at Belkin, the consumer networking vendor, have dreamed up a new form of spam - ads served to your desktop, by way of its wireless router.
Uh Clem. a former Belkin wireless router user, was perplexed to find machines on his network redirected to an ad for Belkin's new parental control system, following a software update...
The router would grab a random HTTP connection every eight hours and redirect it to Belkin’s (push) advertised web page.
"It seems the router now supports a parental control and the market droids at Belkin got the bright idea of equipping the router with intrusive nagware," writes Uh Clem. "Of course, I have this strange notion that routers should pass data unmolested by marketeers!"
There is an opt-out link on the advertised page but this failed to appease Clem who, not unreasonably, objects to having to "opt-out from commercials from my router". Because of the ads, he's decided not to buy Belkin products again.
In response criticism, a Belkin product manager came forward this week to confirm the behaviour was designed into the products as a way to make it easier for consumers to sign up to a free trial of its parental control software. Belkin's Eric Deming is keen to allay concerns about the technique which have produced sharp criticism of the company on the news.admin.net-abuse.email newsgroup.
Belkin is aware of some recent postings that claim that Belkin wireless routers are spamming users during the setup process and periodically thereafter. It is not now, nor has it ever been, the policy of Belkin to intentionally spam our customers or anyone else. Belkin offers a free trial of our parental control feature in our routers, and to make our customers aware of the feature itself and to give them the opportunity to take advantage of the free trial, we have tried to direct users to the information regarding the parental control features. However, since this has become a source of concern to our users, and it is Belkin policy to address the concerns of our users quickly, Belkin has decided to remove this function from the routers. Each router's firmware that incorporates parental control as an option will be changed.
My opinion of this? Whoever came up with this idea should be forced to read *every* RFC to date, and to re-read every single one until he has repented. That could take some time if they're in marketing.