My Favorite Gadgets: Another developer gone over to the dark side!

Yes folks, yet another freeware developer has gone over to the dark side, bundling undesirable software with its products. I have stated on many occasions that I have no problem with developers wishing to monetize their efforts, anything which helps keep our favorite freeware free can only be a good thing, right. But there are also three critical provisos… 1) That the bundled software must not be malicious, or indeed suspect in any way… 2) That the bundling must be completely open and transparent, not covert or undisclosed, and… 3) That options to decline must be present during the installation process. My Favorite Gadgets fails on all three counts.

My Favorite Gadgets is a freeware site providing a wide variety of Windows desktop gadgets, unfortunately the developer has decided to bundle Somoto with his freeware offerings. Somoto is an advertizing platform similar in concept to OpenCandy but, unlike OpenCandy, is not considered harmless. You can read more about Somoto in an article we published in July this year: Beware: Solimba and Somoto bundled with freeware. The article includes both FreewareBB’s and DCT’s assessment of Somoto. While there is no absolute proof that Somoto is definitely malicious, there is certainly enough prima facie evidence to suggest it is highly suspect and should be avoided… fail one.

I could not locate any mention of the Somoto bundling anywhere across the My Favorite Gadgets site nor is it mentioned in the EULA or during installation… fail two.

An option to decline ‘suggestions’ proffered by Somoto during the installation process is ignored with only two options available… either agree or cancel the entire installation… fail three.

Remove all checkmarks in an attempt to decline the additional installation and then click Next:

And receive this message:

Gadgets distributed by this developer include:

  • Atomic Clock
  • Barcode
  • Binary Clock
  • Binary Uptime
  • BOINC Monitor
  • Drives Monitor
  • GPU Monitor
  • HTML Guardian Decrypter
  • HTML-Protector Decrypter
  • Keyboard Monitor
  • Metric Clock
  • Mouse Monitor
  • Network Monitor II
  • Ping Monitor
  • System Monitor II
  • System Uptime Full Plus
  • Top Process Monitor
  • World Population Monitor

I downloaded one of the gadgets myself and unpacked the executable, Somoto is definitely bundled. DCT’s advice is to avoid this freeware.

(Many thanks to Marko at FreewareBB, our recommended freeware download site, who brought this matter to our attention. As usual, Marko is right on top of of the situation and all these freeware products have now been removed from the FreewareBB download listings).

About the Author

Jim Hillier

Jim is the resident freeware aficionado at DCT. A computer veteran with 30+ years experience who first started writing about computers and tech back in the days when freeware was actually free. His first computer was a TRS-80 in the 1980s, he progressed through the Commodore series of computers before moving to PCs in the 1990s. Now retired (aka an old geezer), Jim retains his passion for all things tech and still enjoys building and repairing computers for a select clientele... as well as writing for DCT, of course.

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