The debate over the definitions of adware and spyware has been going on for months. None of the spyware/adware companies want their software to be labeled spyware and many don't even want it to be labeled adware. Within the anti-spyware community there's been a lot of discussion about the terminology as well, and many of us would like to move away from the word spyware, but the difficulty lies in deciding what exact to label the mysterious "stuff" that appears on users' computers: they-don't-know-where-it-came-from-or-how-they-got-it-and-they want-it-off-right-away-ware.
Joel Walsh of WebProNews.com just might have inspired the solution. Sneakware! See Beating Adware, the Sneakiest Software. He contends that adware is "something reasonable people don't want on their computers ". There are those who would argue that, but I think for the most part he's right.
Other labels that have been suggested are Potentially Unwanted Programs (PUP), Potentially Unwanted Software (PUS), Greyware, Advertising Supported Software (ASSware), Mysteryware, Junkware, Parasiteware. Of course the adware industry will object to those with any negative connotation, so the discussion continues. I invite readers to post their favorite term or label and/or make suggestions in the comments.
Anti-Spyware Coalition Spyware Definitions and Supporting Documents (PDF)
Freedom to Tinker What is Spyware?
Eric Goldman Some People Like "Spyware"?
Link via SpywareInfo news