Contestants unhappy with Avecho response

ZDNet UK readers have complained that Avecho has not replied to their requests to participate in the company's £10,000 competition to try and defeat its virus software

Disgruntled would-be contestants for antivirus firm Avecho's £10,000 challenge are saying that the company has failed to respond to emails asking to join the competition.

On Tuesday, Avecho offered Web users £10,000 if they could sneak a virus past its antivirus software. The company urged contestants to sign up for the competition, and said it would provide them with an email account to help them mount their attack. The first person to send a virus either to or from the Avecho account would win the prize money.

But the company's Web site contains no details of the competition, and ZDNet UK readers have started to complain that Avecho is failing to act fast enough.

"I am starting to get the feeling that this Avecho £10,000 virus challenge was just a publicity stunt," wrote Daniel Keller, a student at Illinois University. "I have yet to hear anything back from them, and I even sent a follow-up letter this morning. I find absolutely no mention of this £10,000 virus challenge anywhere on their Web site."

"I got really excited about this competition because I am a poor computer science student who could really use the prize money to finish paying for college," he said.

Avecho said that it will be contacting potential competitors via email today.

"I'm drafting a response which is due to go out this afternoon," said Mark Elliott, vice-president of global marketing for Avecho. "We've had about 50 responses and it's been taken up on a number of Web sites."

Anyone with information on the contest is welcome to contact: dan.ilett@zdnet.co.uk