Is Snopes pushing Adware? Urban legend or fact?

Is Snopes pushing Adware? Urban legend or fact?

Summary: Claim: The popular urban legend debunking site Snopes is pushing Adware on to its readers.Status: True (No longer true since their shaming from Alex Eckelberry and this blog on 1/28/2008).

TOPICS: Malware, Security

Claim: The popular urban legend debunking site Snopes is pushing Adware on to its readers.

Status: True (No longer true since their shaming from Alex Eckelberry and this blog on 1/28/2008).

Origins: Blogger Adrian W Kingsley-Hughes pointed out this post from Alex Eckelberry of Sunbelt reporting how Snopes is pushing Zango Adware.  Apparently it's 1 of 2 popups that Snopes runs and the other popup is some sort of "registry cleaner" according to Eckelberry.  I checked the site myself and confirmed the Zango popup and Eckelberry says it's been there for at least six months and that Snopes has ignored him all this time.

Zango CTO Keith Smith responded with his own blog including talkback comments here at Zero Day.  Alex Eckelberry posted this response.  I appears that the pressure from Eckelberry's blog with the help of Zero Day has pressured Snopes in to dropping the Zango Adware ads.

Last updated: 3 February 2008

Topics: Malware, Security

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  • Pop up blocker

    Hence why I use a pop up blocker, and No script ^_^. Kinda of pitiful on their end. I know they have to pay bills, but would rather a banner ad.
  • RE: Is Snopes pushing Adware? Urban legend or fact?

    Pop-ups are SO last year. Looks like I'm headed to from now on.
  • Well, ...

    Employ a popup blocker, as I do, or ignore the obnoxious things. I will still continue to visit the site, along with other truth/fiction sites. I figure that most folks who use Snopes are bright enough to realize that most of what is received unsolicited over the internet (web/email) is junk so they would ignore it. Of course I could be wrong...
  • Don't most people block pop-ups?

    Doen't most people block popups anyway? It's pretty simple to do, and the web becomes a lot nicer place to surf.

    When I vist an unverified web site, click a link, and I get a popup warning, I instead right-click to open the link to a new tab, and thereby avoid most popups. I allow popups only from trusted sites. I "de-trust" the very rare site that abuses it.

    Much ado about nothing :-(
    • That isn't the point

      Even if 95% of the public doesn't fall for it, it doesn't matter. Snopes should not be adding more Adware bots to the Internet.
      • What is ZDnet pushing?

        Oh my GOD! There's a big hairy ad for Best Buy, who ZDnet KNOWS were caught red-handed scamming their customers with fake websites!!

        I don't begrudge anyone their advertising. ZDnet has some adware on its download site. And lots of ads for products that may be evil. Who would have guessed that the Astros would be so embarassed to play at Enron Field?

        Seriously. Dude. Websites have ads. It's ok.
        • We're not doing popups with Zango Adware that's for sure

  • Face up to Facts!.

    They have bills to pay! Popups are an effective form of advertising because every popup blocker I have ever tried causes more problems than it prevents and eventually has to be disabled.
    There are sites which do similiar work; however, none is as effective and current as Snopes (IMO). Tell the people at Sunbelt to send Snopes some money.
    • reality bytes

      Gene, try Firefox. I'm up to and the popup blocker works just fine without being obtrusive or annoying.

      Though I certainly don't begrudge Snopes any income they might derive from Zango. These folks do an excellent job.
  • RE: Is Snopes pushing Adware? Urban legend or fact?

    When I go to Snopes I get the alert that popups are block etc. Click here to enable, or whaever

    I always keep 'em blocked.

    Meanwhile I used to copy and paste segments to email to hysterical friends.

    They blocked that! Support explained it was to get more people to the site and I should link to that. Now I see why
    • How to Copy from Snopes

      <a href="">Get Firefox</a>, if you haven't already, then install <a href="">Noscript</a>. Problem solved. And lots of other problems that websites force upon you.
    • RE: Is Snopes pushing Adware? Urban legend or fact?

      How about this workaround: hit the prtscn (print screen) button on the keyboard, then paste into a new picture file, save and send the picture in email. Guaranteed virus/malware free for the recipients. If it is a long report, start a long blank picture and just paste overlapping print-screen captures. Or use photoshop of course.
    • wayyy too much work folks

      load up a companion product? screen print and cutnpaste??

      you folks have wayyy too much time on your hands

      just copy the URL and paste it into your email(s)

      your friends are smart enough to be running Firefox with popups blocked so it won't be an issue ... if they aren't ... why bother sending them anything anyhow! ;-P

      • Talk about too much time

        on our hands. Exactly how many separate responses did you leave here?
        • whereever possible

          Oh yeah, lots of spare time. That's the beautiful thing about turning 50-something and learning that your employer ... your local area ... oh heck, even globally (as evidenced by recent articles in local papers and the Wall Street Journal not to mention personal asides from a couple local HR people who I am not allowed to quote) ... that your engineering talents that were oh so valuable last quarter are no longer needed (even though our department has had a 30-day or more backlog for years) and you can now live out your pre-golden years competing with real retirees for jobs at Walmart and Home Depot. Oh, did I mention that a year later my previous employer advertised an even better position that I am qualified for but, since my age hadn't decreased, they refused to even discuss it with me. I would love to go back to school but that takes ... oh yeah, money. And that comes with ... oh yeah, a real job. I am so looking forward to SS after missing a decade of real earnings. Sorry I didn't take time to properly Powerpoint this but does it really matter?

          P.S. Sorry. Yeah, it's a little frustrating. I get depressed sometimes. But then I play with my grandson for a while and all my problems seem to pale in comparison. Then I'm good again. For a while at least. You have a great day now. :-)
    • Sure you can Send Snopes text!

      To copy/paste from Snopes is a little awkward but easy (at least in Firefox/Thunderbird): View the Snopes page as source (CMD+U), then highlight and copy just the paragraphs with desired text (use CMD+F to find the first word or phrase); Open a new email message and choose "Insert/HTML" from the tools menu; paste the previously copied source code into the popup HTML box, Click on Insert button, and voila! There's your Snopes text. Delete any extraneous content, add your own commentary, and send away! It looks more complicated than in practice, but it works!
  • Master Joe Says...

    This is the kind of thing that deserves way more attention than it gets. Having adware infected pop-ups on a web site should be ILLEGAL. The fact that Snopes is continuing to leave known threats on its web site should be against the law. And, don't give me that free speech garbage. The right to free speech does not allow for speech which infringes on others, which is what adware does. If it were up to me, all adware, spyware, maleware, SPAM, and telemarketing would be outlawed, with penalties far too steep for any advertising agency to ever hope to afford. There are SOME alws on the books, but they are neither affective, nor are they enforced. This kind of stuff has to stop, before the Internet becomes even more of a breeding ground for malicious programs and apps.

    --Master Joe
    • Use Send Page to copy

      I've had some success in using the email "send page"
      option and then copying the body into another message or into a reply to someone that had sent me the urban ledgend.
    • Way to go Joe

      Out of 8 posts, you are the one who gets it. It isn't about the pop-up, it's about the MALWARE.
    • a little off base you are

      don't get me wrong, I hate SPAM etc as much as anyone


      Zango is actually a free advertising system. A web site provides links to Zango. Zango pays them if you download and install Zango. Zango provides free content (movies, games, tunes, whatever) with advertising on the side. The advertisers pay Zango when you click on their ads.

      Don't confuse it with most of the junk you see going by. It only installs if you intentionally do so. And it only displays the content you've specifically clicked on. Yep. You have to actually do something specific to get content. And then you only get the content you've asked for. Most uses are for on-line movies, games and junk like that. Don't believe me? Check it out for yourselves:



      I think what most folks are running into is CastleMedia popups and they are not part of Zango last I heard. And Firefox blocks them quite nicely so no harm, no foul.

      No. I don't have any connections to Zango or any other advertising entity in any way shape or form. I just like to debunk the junk ... sort of like Snopes. ;-)