Updated: BitDefender slams McAfee 'dirty tricks'

Do Google ads suggest hidden agenda?

Do Google ads suggest hidden agenda?

Romanian antivirus company BitDefender has hit out at what it claims are dirty tricks from industry giant McAfee.

The company has cried foul over McAfee's sponsored ad links on Google which it claims suggest 'BitDefender' is a virus which users need to clean up. However, searching on McAfee's own website for any information on any such named virus returned no results.

Mihai Radu, communications manager at BitDefender, believes the listing is a deliberate attempt to damage his company's brand, but McAfee claims to have no idea as to the source of the advertisements, which Radu suggests may be placed by an affiliate of McAfee.

Radu told silicon.com: "This way of doing business is not appropriate for such a reputable name." He added that he has already contacted McAfee and demanded they amend their search listing. I personally believe this could be some desperate action of one of McAfee's affiliates. Still, this does involve McAfee's name and they should be aware of it."

Sarah Whipp, senior director, EMEA marketing at McAfee, said: "McAfee has been made aware of sponsored ad links on Google.com referring to antivirus company BitDefender as a virus. These links do not comply with the policies and principles of our advertising. We do not condone this practice and have therefore launched an investigation into the source of these sponsored links."

Radu said manipulating paid-for search results was once common practice, until Google prohibited it.

"Most of the software producers used competitors' names as Google keywords in order to get more visitors. But saying 'BitDefender is a virus and should be cleaned' - that is a totally different 'approach'," he said

BitDefender has expressed anger at the McAfee link which suggests it shares its brand name with a virus