What’s up with Stop-Sign and Firefox?

In: Mozilla

14 Mar 2005

I was browsing the documentation for the awesome Web Developer Toolbar extension today and for some reason noticed a Google ad that was headlined “Get Mozilla Firefox”. It probably caught my eye because Firefox ads on Google were new to me and I wondered if it wasn’t some sort of sfx initiative of some sort.

I spotted the ad on this page (will not necessarily appear for you, of course, since Google rotates ads – try surfing around the documentation pages if you’re interested in seeing the ad for yourself).

Screenshot of the Web Developer Toolbar documentation page


Here is the ad itself (it’s the bottom one). Er, www.stop-sign.com?

Screenshot of Stop-Sign's Firefox ad


The ad brings you to this landing page (incredibly small screenshot below) which apparently is part of an ad campaign of eAcceleration to promote its Stop-Sign product (which from what I understand is some sort of virus scanner cum spyware remover).

Screenshot of Stop-Sign's Firefox ad landing page


Well, they seem to be blatantly riding on the coat tails of the Firefox name. And they even offer Firefox (a firefox.exe file) for download which I just don’t have the guts to try. And their message is ambiguously misleading enough, seeming to convey the idea that Firefox is a product of eAcceleration.

If you are new to Firefox and eAcceleration, you will be offered a Stop-Sign computer protection package with the Firefox download. Please use it to make sure your computer is virus, spyware, and adware-free.

Very scammy. I don’t know if anything should (and could) be done about this, but this is surely an unpleasant and rather underhanded way of online advertising. Whether the authorities (er, Mozilla Foundation) should be alerted is something I’m not really sure of…

31 Responses to What’s up with Stop-Sign and Firefox?

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John Stone

March 14th, 2005 at 10pm

Stop signs sucks… But more importantly… YOU’RE ALIVE! YAY!

*lol*

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Andreas

March 14th, 2005 at 10pm

Hmm. As far as I can see, the Firefox.exe file is exactly similar to what you get when you download their Stop-Sign software (ss_tscanner.exe): a 46.4 KB executable which I didn’t feel like installing.
I think it’s a good idea to contact the Mozilla Foundation about this.

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B.D.

March 14th, 2005 at 10pm

Stop-sign appears to have had some spyware attached to it at one time. It also appears to have been involved in “drive by” install incidents for a while. According to:

http://www.spywarewarrior.com/rogue_anti-spyware.htm

“eAcceleration’s Stop-Sign anti-malware scanner was listed on this page primarily because of the company’s history of employing deceptive advertising and drive-by-downloads (1, 2, 3, 4). The company was also known for removing and/or disabling competing apps. These objectionable business practices were employed primarily during the years 2002-2003.

Sometime during 2004 the company underwent reorganization. Not only have the worst of the company’s download and installation practices been halted, but the company has completely overhauled its stub installer application, giving users much more control over the software modules to be installed on their systems (1, 2).

While testing indicates that the “threat scanner” is still slow and has occasional problems with false positives — in large part because of the use of heuristics, which cannot be turned off by the user — we can no longer classify this application as “rogue/suspect.” Nonetheless, this anti-malware application — at least in its current state — cannot be recommended, given the many excellent competing anti-virus, anti-trojan, and anti-spyware applications that are available (some for free).

(Note: other domains associated with this outfit include: accelerationsw.com, buttonware.com, buttonware.net, clicksales.com, downloadsales.com, homepageware.com, oodlz.com, signupsales.com, webcelerator.com) [A: 6-26-04 / U: 8-7-04]”

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Anthony

March 14th, 2005 at 10pm

I’d contact the Mozilla Foundation about this ASAP, it’s blatant hijacking.

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James

March 14th, 2005 at 11pm

Heh, B.D. I was just gonna say “They look like the kind of anti-virus company that’d give you adware” until I read what you wrote.

I’d say that the Mozilla Foundation should be, without a doubt, contacted.

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B.D.

March 15th, 2005 at 1am

Might want to contact Google as well. They might care about this if it is fraudulent advertising, as it appears to be.

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paul

March 15th, 2005 at 1am

I have seen awful STOP-SIGN TV ads, sometimes during the day or weekend afternoons…on the major networks, including WB, UPN, FOX. The ads seem to be targeted towards naive PC users who know little about anti-spyware software…more like a scare tactic ad

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Nathan Wong

March 15th, 2005 at 2am

Wow, you ARE alive!

Anyway… very strange. I wonder if Mozilla is aware of this?

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jenett.radio

March 15th, 2005 at 4am

WordScatter-031405

Explosivo
Lucrexia
Unremembering
Scammy
Tsunami

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Neil T.

March 15th, 2005 at 4am

That’s an abuse of Mozilla Foundation trademarks – the names and logos are all their intellectual property. Let’s hope MoFo unleashes a can of whoop-ass against them.

(Nice to see you blogging again, by the way :) )

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Martijn

March 15th, 2005 at 5am

Bart recently noticed the same on Google: http://www.decrem.com/bart/archives/000235.html

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antrix

March 15th, 2005 at 7am

As Neil T. pointed out, this is clearly trademark abuse. Mozilla Foundation is so concerned about this issue that it wouldn’t even let Linux distributions, which repackage Firefox, use the official Firefox branding in their packages.

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James

March 15th, 2005 at 10am

This company is gonna feel so much wrath from Mozilla and Google. I hope they get crushed.

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Gaurav

March 15th, 2005 at 11am

I think Mozilla may be REQUIRED to defend its trademarks or it will lose them… legally. (Perhaps I am confused with another type of IP?) If so, this blog could be looked at as proof that Mozilla knew or should have known about the infringement but did not act. I think they would then really need to act fast.

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kevin brosnan

March 15th, 2005 at 1pm

Well as of midnight EST the stop sign Firefox site is redirected to their main page and there are no longer any Google Adwords for Firefox by stop sign.

A lot of people complained about the harsh licensing that Mozilla.org created for the Firefox brand. However it is because of the trademarks that sites such as stop sign and others such as http://firefoxoffice.com were shut down.

Firefoxoffice was a site that had a hybrid SFX/mozilla.org look and was selling CDs with Firefox, Open Office, and Gdrive for $30. The site was shut down within a day or two of my reporting.

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Eric Coleman

March 23rd, 2005 at 2am

I was browsing the site, and I noticed a different firefox ad in google. It looks like it’s more than just the stop-sign site.

– Eric

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Andrea

March 28th, 2005 at 10pm

I made a lengthy-ish comment before your site went MIA for a couple of days and I assume it vanished in the moderation queue, so again and just for the record:

http://www.oooff.com — OpenOffice + Firefox for USD 49,95 29,95.

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rolandog

April 1st, 2005 at 2am

That’s why I always try to download everything from a company’s homepage.

Nevertheless, messing w/Ffx is bad. Mmmkay?

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Adrian

April 2nd, 2005 at 5am

Stop-sign works where norton, adaware, etc all FAIL: after 4 years of using it, with NO pop-ups or viri, I say you don’t know what you are talking about — get the free scan, pay the money, and relax. Only install the scanner. It is the best product out there. it Works! My customers are happy. Some are so amazed that they have finally found relief. Aren’t you tired of getting “delete failed” msgs from norton and ad-aware?

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London

April 4th, 2005 at 10am

http://www.oooff.com/firefox.html

Almost as if they are claiming that they made Firefox. x_X

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James

April 5th, 2005 at 12pm

Tired of this stuff? Why get it free when you can GIVE US MONEY!

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Nick

April 7th, 2005 at 7am

That’s a really crummy thing to do. Next thing you know new’s site will report firefox as spyware.

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Nathan

April 8th, 2005 at 12am

I can’t seen to see it, is it still there?

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Tom

April 12th, 2005 at 4am

I found another scam on Google adwords…
ads.peel.com/peelMedia/sectionServer.php?ws=11209

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Andy White

August 23rd, 2005 at 2am

Stop sign is a rip off. I don’t know much about virsues, but their people couldn’t remove trojanfurootkit from my computer and they refuse to refund the 49.95

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Buck Naked

February 1st, 2006 at 10am

I for one do not like some of the things Stop Sign does with my desktop. Nifty little windows come up from my sys tray area like an add and slide quietly into the abyss if I just leave it alone. I guess this is what you get when you go looking for shareware. It’s not like it once was. I’ll keep looking.

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Jim Harper

March 24th, 2006 at 2am

I don’t want stop sign,or anything else I didn’t ask for,on my computer. This kind of thing wastes time/money.

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michael

August 3rd, 2006 at 7pm

Stop Sign Got Me Grounded Ug

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Lou Raymond

March 14th, 2007 at 6am

No comment

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Alex

April 25th, 2007 at 11pm

Thank You

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naisioxerloro

November 29th, 2007 at 10am

Hi.
Good design, who make it?