MSG+ is not spyware, nor an adware bundler


Mark Randall

I agree on this one - it seems pretty pointless to identify uninstalled
features as spyware - it would be like norton saying...

You have a virus... only if you click 'install virus' on this upcoming

- Mark R

Steve Wechsler [MVP]

Anonymous said:
On the MSG+ forums
they say the Messenger Plus! is detected as an adware
bundler. But it only installs an OPTIONAL sponsor. There's
no reason to mark MSG+ (Messenger Plus!) as spyware because
you can deny the sponsor and then it's still mark as an
adware bundler. The program should detect the sponsor, not

Maybe the question that should be asked is WHY is the MessengerPlus
sponsored version bundled with the well known adware variant Lop ?
Understand that it is optional, but does that garner faith with the
typical User who doesn't read the EULA closely enough ? Maybe if the
EULA explained the consequences of installing the sponsored version in
more detail then it would not be considered adware.

If you lie down with fleas ...

Steve Wechsler (akaMowGreen)
MVP Windows Server

Mark Randall

The MSG+ installer makes it blindingly obvious as in great big bold text
about installing, or not installing the sponsor. Its by far the clearest I
have seen and credit to them for making it optional, and stressing its

- Mark R

Johan Brune

During the installation of Messenger Plus! there are TWO
screens that inform the user about the sponsor and what it

At the first screen the "next" button will be disabled for
a few seconds so the user can't skip this message and will
notice it. It clearly syays the sponsor (adware) is
optional. And tells you that it WILL add a searchbar to
your Internet Explorer. Also it tells you how to remove the
entire sponsor (adware) in case you do not like it after
you have installed it. Finally it tells the user to read
the license agreement for the full details.

After that you can press next and you will see screen 2.
This screen shows the search toolbar that the sponsor will
install and should give the user a visual warning. Also you
HAVE to choose if you want to install Messenger Plus! with
or without the sponsor. The Sponsor agreement itself
clearly states the this sponsor is a product from C2Media.
The EULA contains all the information like that sthe
sponsor product name ( and what it does (Provide
you with additional content, promotional offers,
advertisements and other web browser enhachements bases, in
part, on keywords in the websites you visit).

The sponsor (adware) isn't installed by default, the user
will always have to choose if he/she want's the sponsor
(adware) or not. What could be done to make this even more
clear? I know Patchou (creator of Messenger Plus!) made a
lot of changes to his installer to avoid accidental sponsor
(adware) installs by his users.

Another thins is that Messenger Plus! is also detected by
Microsoft AntiSpyware Beta1 even AFTER the user installed
Messenger Plus! WITHOUT THE SPONSOR and deleted the
installer from his/her system. This means the Microsoft's
new product detects spyware in Messenger Plus! even when
the spyware isn't on the user's system at all. It would
make more sense to target the sponsor (C2media's package)
itself and give a low threat warning at the Messenger Plus!
INSTALLER, not Plus! without the sponsor.

- Johan Brune ([email protected])

Bill Sanderson

There's no need at all to discuss this in these forums.

The developer of Messenger Plus! can simply use the form linked to at the
end of this KB article: Microsoft Windows AntiSpyware (Beta)
identifies a program as a spyware threat (Listing criteria and Dispute

to read the criteria for inclusing and ask for a change. Lots of folks here
will have opinions one way or another but this is between the developer and
Microsoft, and posting long threads here will have little effect on the


How is it that there's no need to discuss this here when
this is a newsgroup to report bugs and false positives
(SIGNATURES category anyone?) with this program?

Definitely agreed on this. This software needlessly scare
users who chose not to install the completely optional
and pretty obvious adware (see setup screenshots above in
the thread) that comes with Messenger Plus! and leads
them to believe that it has installed spyware even when
they chose not to.

More information about Msgplus' sponsor:

Walter Clayton

There's a large difference between a false positive and something that some
one considers misclassified.

For instance, I had the AOL toolbar detected as the GonnaSearch toolbar.
I've also had cookies detected when cookie detection is not
currently enabled complicated by the fact that Gator is no longer Gator but
rather Claria. This are false positives and a mislabel.

Contrast that to specific detection of a product, let's say WhenU or even
MSG+, correctly by name, and that product is called out as a real nasty.
Product detection is correct, the classification is in dispute and that is
outside the scope of this newsgroup.


False positives do not exclusively refer to names
incorrectly detected. But if every file (even simple .INI
language files) of a completely spyware-free instalation
of a program is detected as "spyware" (see below), that
is, undoubtedly and by definition, a false positive:
something that is classified as something that it is not
(albeit in a half and half way (see below)).

While furtherly in the threat description (after the user
scrolling, which in most cases won't happen due to lots
of real adware or spyware found in most average users
systems) it's a bit clearer that the installation is
optional and that the user could have chosen not to
install the spyware -therefore why even list it, by the
way-, this application always describes EVERY ITEM as
spyware, saying, e.g., "15 spyware found", when it could
say "15 potentially dangerous items found".

I'm not talking only about Messenger Plus! here, but
about the contradictions that AntiSpyware and its scan
results contain, which are fated to confuse users (simple
people who download freeware software which is clear
about the option to install adware AND even commercial
users who pay for products only to be later driven into
the thought that the author could have been spying

Probably many denomination improvements will help this
situation. I'm gladly not a developer so I'm not directly
affected by this, but I'm annoyed at the response this
week-old beta has caused within simple frightened users
that logically believe what a product from a well known
company says about such a delicate subject (spyware).

I'm not blaming anyone, just suggesting improvements
here. And it's not Microsoft's fault, but it is
Microsoft's responsibility to solve this confusing issues
before releasing this GIANT derivate officially.

That said, the download is already on's
homepage, so it's already a bit late.

Thanks a lot.


I am going to agree with Guido on this on.

The only files that this tool should be locating are ones
that are actually in fact from the OPTIONAL sponsor program
if its installed. With this screenshot
this tool is detecting a txt file as apart of the threat
like come on, how stupid is this. You guys know for a fact
that none of the software created by Patchou come close to
being adware. What happens if the sponsor isn't installed,
you guys are still going to say that a readme file is apart
of the adware. Give me a break! Take a look at much more
popular adware removes like Ad-Aware or Spybot, do they
detect Messenger Plus! as spyware? No they don't, they
detect the sponsor as adware but not Plus! itself. What
does this say about the software Microsoft is creating...
nothing good in my eyes.

This is the end of my rant
Trust you me, Plus! is not spyware and is far from it. I am
an offical Beta Tester of it.


Jim Byrd

Well, for a different view by another MVP, Sandi Hardmeier: - check out the writeup on Messenger
Plus (Select under 'M" on the left.) I think that the kindest thing that
can be said about it is that it's generally somewhat deceptive in nature
with respect to disclosure about its Sponsor programs (which are certainly
spyware, at least in part), even with the recent actions by Patchou to
"clean up his act" and is not particularly user friendly. I support the
MSAS view and call at this point in time, until some additional substantial
changes are made. YMMV, so I'd recommend that everyone read very carefully,
make up their own mind and if you decide to use this program, proceed with
great caution.

Please respond in the same thread.
Regards, Jim Byrd, MS-MVP



I don't exactly see your point. That page talks about the
adware that comes with Plus! and about the Plus!

None of these are detected by Microsoft AntiSpyware. The
program instead says that a completely adware-free
installation of a freeware is a threat with a "high"
danger rating.

Our point is that, in any case, the antispyware should
search for spyware (as its brand implies) and not for
installed applications that gave users the option of
installing adware or not during the setup in cases where
that decision has already been made and the user already
chose not to install it.

This affects Msgplus and many other applications.

Bill Sanderson

And I don't see the point of continuing to belabor this here.

If the developer of Messenger Plus! feels that the listing is incorrect, he
should contact Microsoft directly, via the contact page which has been
posted many times. That's the route needed to change the situation.

Discussing it at great length here is not likely to have any effect at all
on that listing, I suspect.

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