Author Topic: Avast: Please Curb Your Marketing Department  (Read 4512 times)

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Avast: Please Curb Your Marketing Department
« on: September 11, 2016, 01:47:26 AM »
My humble opinion, FWIW...

I have been a paying Avast user for ages and have encouraged others to check it out. Despite issues here and there, I have always liked Avast AV software and there's still much to like about it. In recent years however, I've seen a few disturbing new trends that threaten to have me (and the PC users I support) shopping for alternatives. It mostly boils down to borderline aggressive/deceptive marketing.

Past that, I would say that some user interface screens have been oversimplified and yet somehow counter-intuitive. It can be quite frustrating sometimes to do basic things. For example, finding the quarantine, or even adjusting scan settings. In other places it's the lack of choice that chafes. I don't want a "Fix Everything" button. I want a choice of what to fix or not fix.

Back to the marketing concerns... I recently installed a fresh copy of Avast Internet Security on my Mom's new laptop. Today she emailed me a screenshoot of the results screen after doing a Smart Scan, wondering if she should click on Resolve All.

My response to her:

The Resolve All button scares the hell out of me. ...but I clicked it anyway so that I could give you an informed answer.

Three things:

First, clicking Resolve All ultimately leads to "Activate your PC Optimization Tool!" ...for $36/year. Maybe it's just me, but I think that's a rather nasty bit of marketing there. No matter how good it is, I'm not going buy it because of the deception involved in trying to sell it to me. In my humble opinion, there's something fundamentally wrong with products that want to scan my PC for issues, but can't fix them without $$. That's something scammers do.

Second, clicking Resolve All leads to a screen detailing the dozen or more fixes/tweaks it intends to apply, some of which are kinda pointless and disruptive. There's no option to choose which ones you want. But of course, this isn't the actual optimization tool, is it? It's a marketing tool. Maybe the real PC Optimization product does allow you to chose. But I will never know that, because I will never buy it. (See Thing #1 above.)

Third, there are other products that can do all these things, quite possibly better than Avast. The downside is they aren't integrated into Avast under a Smart Scan button.

Before clicking Smart Scan again, I would recommend:

1. Open Avast
2. Click settings (the little gear, top right)
3. Scroll down to Smart Scan and click the arrow on the right to expand.
4. Disable "Scan for performance issues" and "Scan for weak passwords."

If either of those two scans find a "problem", they cannot fix it. They will instead try to sell you an add-on product to do that. I don't know if any of the other scans employ the same strategy. I guess we'll find out, if/when they detect something.


C'mon guys. We pay for these products to use them, because they serve a purpose for us. We do not buy them to serve as a marketing platform for you to try to sell us additional products. I'm sure some will disagree, but by my reckoning, this kind of marketing behavior is disruptive, deceptive and crosses a pretty clear line.

Thanks,
        Charlie

REDACTED

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Re: Avast: Please Curb Your Marketing Department
« Reply #1 on: September 11, 2016, 10:52:48 AM »
yeah and the whole purchase internet security yet the interface keeps asking you to upgrade. would expect that from the free version not the paid version


Offline Rednose

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Re: Avast: Please Curb Your Marketing Department
« Reply #2 on: September 11, 2016, 05:47:22 PM »
@ cwilkins : If you don't want to be bothered by the Avast Passwords - and Cleanup modules, simply uninstall them :)

1) Start - Control Panel - Add/Remove Programs - Avast - Change.
2) Modify.
3) Under Privacy uncheck Passwords, and under Performance uncheck Cleanup.
4) Change.
5) Reboot.

@ awstam : Personally I have no problem with the upgrade button. It is your own choice if you click it.

Greetz, Red.
« Last Edit: September 12, 2016, 01:01:57 PM by Rednose »
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Re: Avast: Please Curb Your Marketing Department
« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2016, 01:30:16 AM »
@Rednose: Thank you for the tip! I was surprised to find that indeed, when I got to Settings->Apps->Avast->Modify (this is Win10), there are checked checkboxes next to Passwords and Optimization, even though they are obviously "crippleware" installed for marketing purposes and not fully functional products.

Now imagine me trying to talk my 75 year old mom through the uninstall process. :)

If the button under the Smart Scan results said "Upgrade" or "Purchase _____" instead of "Resolve All", I'd be ok with it. But it's pestering me and it's misleading. That's my point.

I have been considering those products, especially the cross-platform password keeper. (I also have Android devices.) But their choice to market to me like that (wasting my time scanning for things they won't fix without more $$) has me questioning what other bad choices they have made (with the design of those products, or whatever else they'll try to shove at me next) so I'm not biting at this time.

@awstam: Sounds llike we're on the same page. I have purchased 5-PC licenses for AIS for ~10 years because I wanted the "whole enchilada."  ...only to get hit up (via sketchy practices) to purchase additional pile-on products in more recent years.

I understand that AV companies producing pile-on products has kinda become the norm. Avast may very well have great add-on products and I don't expect them for free. I still love AIS. I'm still a fan. So please consider my criticisms in that light. I'm mostly upset about the intrusive and deceptive way these additional products are being pushed at us, and wasting the time and braincells of paying customers.

And if anyone is wondering what I meant by "pointless and disruptive" optimizations... It wants to delete 57 bytes of MRU (Most Recently Used) data?!? Rly?? I like when I can go into Word, Acrobat, etc. and select from recently opened documents. Really helps when my old, abused brain forgets where it put something. :) So in the face of that kind of thing, it's critical to me, if I install the Optimization product, that I get to choose what to optimize and what not to.

Thanks,
        Charlie
« Last Edit: September 12, 2016, 01:42:26 AM by cwilkins »

Offline Rednose

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Re: Avast: Please Curb Your Marketing Department
« Reply #4 on: September 12, 2016, 01:12:32 PM »
Hi Charlie :)

Yes, I understand your point very well, but I thought some practictal advise would help you more.

Greetz, Red.
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Re: Avast: Please Curb Your Marketing Department
« Reply #5 on: September 12, 2016, 04:03:32 PM »
A quicker way to uninstall components not required or wanted is to use the New Components section in the avastUI.

AvastUI > Settings > Components - click the V (down chevron) to the right of the component and it expands giving the option to uninstall.

I think this is a lot less hassle than the old Control Panel -Programs & Features route.
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Re: Avast: Please Curb Your Marketing Department
« Reply #6 on: September 12, 2016, 04:20:17 PM »
Yes,

But in my GUI I don't see Cleanup mentioned, so neither an (un)install option.

Greetz, Red.
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Re: Avast: Please Curb Your Marketing Department
« Reply #7 on: September 12, 2016, 04:22:29 PM »
In AIS, one has to scroll all the way to the bottom to see Cleanup.
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Re: Avast: Please Curb Your Marketing Department
« Reply #8 on: September 12, 2016, 04:27:39 PM »
Yes, I understand that it should be at the bottom.

But I did a clean and custom install with the last version, and Cleanup is not mentioned in my GUI.

Greetz, Red.

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Re: Avast: Please Curb Your Marketing Department
« Reply #9 on: September 12, 2016, 04:40:17 PM »
More good advice?? You guys are ruining a perfectly good rant!   :D

No seriously... I really appreciate what you're doing -- not just for me, but thousands of other Avast users. My "rant" is directed solely at Avast. If they are even the tiniest bit as responsive as y'all are, then I have nothing to worry about.

So recapping, there are several ways to disable or remove the "crippled" components.

But that got me wondering, is there an easy way to tell which components are crippled? (i.e. asks for money rather than doing its full job.)

As far as I can tell, the nagware/crippleware components included in AIS are:

  • SecureLine VPN
  • Passwords
  • Cleanup

Any others you guys are aware of? I don't necessarily want to disable any fully functional components. (I disable Mailshield and Antispam because I do my spam/virus clobbering on the server.)

Thanks,
        Charlie

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Re: Avast: Please Curb Your Marketing Department
« Reply #10 on: September 12, 2016, 04:44:42 PM »
Safeprice is something I don't install either.

Greetz, Red.
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Re: Avast: Please Curb Your Marketing Department
« Reply #11 on: September 12, 2016, 06:12:33 PM »
<snip>
But that got me wondering, is there an easy way to tell which components are crippled? (i.e. asks for money rather than doing its full job.)

As far as I can tell, the nagware/crippleware components included in AIS are:

  • SecureLine VPN
  • Passwords
  • Cleanup
<snip>
Thanks,
        Charlie

Whilst the Passwords function is available in the avast Free version, it has a limited function set to the paid avast versions.

That said I don't use it as I use Firefox as my browser and use the Firefox > Options > Security - remember logins and accompanying master password feature to handle the logins that I wish to have remembered.

I too don't install the browser Safe Price add-on.

As you can see in my previous attached image, I use a very minimal installation. As a matter of fact if the user does a custom install they can select a Minimal Installation and if I remember it also drops the Mail Shield/
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Re: Avast: Please Curb Your Marketing Department
« Reply #12 on: September 12, 2016, 10:44:13 PM »
The best prevention is to use a custom install when first installing the Program.
The second best thing is to use the Component feature in the settings to disable or, uninstall
what you really don't use or want.
My system also doesn't show Cleanup under the Component (Performance) section but, that's because I
elected not to install it during the custom install.

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Re: Avast: Please Curb Your Marketing Department
« Reply #13 on: September 12, 2016, 11:26:45 PM »
<snip>
My system also doesn't show Cleanup under the Component (Performance) section but, that's because I
elected not to install it during the custom install.

My systems, XP and Win7, both list it in Components, indicating it isn't installed. Like yourself did a Custom install and unchecked it, but the entry is present.
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Re: Avast: Please Curb Your Marketing Department
« Reply #14 on: September 12, 2016, 11:30:27 PM »
This is what I see in my Windows 10 after the custom install of Avast:

Nothing under performance at all....
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