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Vanilla 1.1.4 is a product of Lussumo. More Information: Documentation, Community Support.

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    • CommentAuthorHill
    • CommentTimeMay 26th 2012
    An open letter if you will:

    I have just unchecked the category "Adware" from my web content filtering.

    I do this because I recently was made aware of an issue in accessing's online videos, I finally determined it was not adblockplus (which I had previously disabled on this site when it first started being used and was noticed to cause a problem). It was not noscript or firefox either...

    It was OpenDNS. A certain advertiser of theirs had been flagged as adware and hastily blocked.

    Reviewing my stats I have noted that a address had been flagged as (and BLOCKED as) ADWARE, the one appears to have since been unblocked.

    (The site in question was it does analytics as much as any advertising; some consider this spying or invasion of privacy, I may not like it myself... BUT it is NOT adware!!)

    This is not acceptable, what I believe must be happening is some cubbyhole, trigger happy set of reviewers is going around and incorrectly flagging things.
    (A breakdown in moderation or failure to impose stiff enough consensus requirements?)

    Or else your definition needs updating, because according to it, sites in the Adware category: "distribute APPLICATIONS which display advertisements without user's knowledge or choice. Does NOT include sites which serve advertising"
    (I'd welcome anyone to look up the definition of an application in software and say it might be applicable to cookies or something ridiculous.)

    Your site has a faq that mentions that opendns should not be used to block advertisers (for performance reasons for one).

    OpenDNS is a great service, but until this type of thing can be sorted out I'm going to have to leave Adware unchecked and stick only to the (hopefully) more black and white categories.
    • CommentAuthorrtrappman
    • CommentTimeMay 26th 2012

    "" has been suggested for the "Adware" category, but OpenDNS will not block it until it has been "Decided" or "Rejected" in the category by Moderators like myself.

    As far as the definition and criteria for "Adware": I personally consider (along with several Anti-Virus companies) tracking cookies, and other persistent behavior monitors a form of "low-risk" adware. When moderating, I will place known tracking cookie sites (advertisers who have not shown good privacy practices) into the "Adware" category. Java Scripts, etc. are considered to be web-based software.

    The categorization of these "low-risk" adware scripts, web bugs, becons, etc. should not interfere with the main content of websites, only the advertisements.

    Please review your logs and see what sites have actually been decided in the "Adware" category and are being blocked on your network. If you can post those domains I would be more than happy to review them and either explain why I believe they were blocked, or have Vinny (OpenDNS Staff) de-categorize the domain.

    Rhett Trappman
    • CommentAuthorrtrappman
    • CommentTimeMay 26th 2012
    You can check the block status of a domain here:

    Or Contact OpenDNS Support for more information:
  1.  permalink
    Rhett, the official definition of Adware according to OpenDNS is currently

    "Sites that distribute applications which display advertisements without user's knowledge or choice. Does NOT include sites which serve advertising."

    By that definition, sites that serve up cookies shouldn't come up. This is really what the 'Advertising' category is here for, surely?
    • CommentAuthorrotblitz
    • CommentTimeJun 5th 2012
    No, cookies are related to Adware and to Advertising in no way either. Cookies are used for much different purposes.
  2.  permalink
    I agree that cookies are not necessarily related to advertising, although one of the more common uses is to track users between sites to serve up more relevant advertising.

    Rhett chooses to call this Adware, which I completely disagree with.

    The sited doing this would legitimately be tagged Advertising. Perhaps there should be a further category for those sites that do tracking cookies.

    Although if I want to avoid tracking cookies, I will (and I do!) do so through browser settings and not mess about with DNS filtering.
    • CommentAuthorrtrappman
    • CommentTimeJun 5th 2012

    A tracing cookie, by your own definition "...common uses is to track users between sites to serve up more relevant advertising." and the Adware definition "Sites that distribute applications which display advertisements without user's knowledge or choice", mesh very well for some abusive advertising companies.

    Clearly the "Advertising" category is suitable for the majority of ad servers, and I don't place very many ad servers into the "Adware" category unless they are known privacy violators, usually having a history that is re-searchable or listed as known bad by a security company (such as an anti-virus scanner).

    I hope that you can come to an understanding that some "Advertising" companies are also "Adware" companies. Feel free to research any domain that I have tagged as "Adware", and you will find that the security community would agree. I hope to be open with the community, and I welcome this feedback and concerns.
  3.  permalink

    OK - here's one:

    This one popped up in the domains log on my parents' network. There's nothing from any reputable sites in Google to suggest that this is a particularly bad one, but you approved it in the Adware category. Amazingly it's only just now undergoing voting for the Advertising category, where it belongs.

    Put simply, a cookie is not an application. People like me who want to block the Adware category are doing so to block sites like this:

    Not just ad servers.
    • CommentAuthorrtrappman
    • CommentTimeJun 6th 2012

    The main reason this site was approved by me in "Adware" because it was listed by SpyBot Search and Destroy, and on several other anti-malware blacklists.

    Besides Tracking Cookies, There are also reports that an application is inadvertently installed by some scripts on this server. The main goal of this block is to prevent the installation of "atdmt.exe" and "atdmt.dll", considered by most to be "adware" containing.
  4.  permalink
    "atdmt.exe" and "atdmt.dll"

    This might qualify as Adware, although the definition of Adware would have to be changed for OpenDNS tagging purposes, and probably everywhere else as well. Fuzzing out the definitions of terms by loose usage does not help, but a standardized redefinition might. This is what should have been mentioned as the basis for any argument in the first (and only) place. Adware has always been defined by "locally installed application". Javascript and CSS are not installed. They should be blocked via script blockers and not domain blocking from an external service that many people use and will not understand when something doesn't work properly because an adserver domain was blocked.

    I would rather suggest a separate category for unapproved installation (and how is that happening?) of advertising tracking software, whatever that category might be called, should there be a need for it. Personally, I don't see why "the cloud" should be taking over local administration of every little thing.
    • CommentAuthorrtrappman
    • CommentTimeJun 7th 2012 edited
    @all the above,

    I will be contacting Vinny (OpenDNS Staff), as to hash out official criteria for a "Adware" block. It seems that there is community consensus against my listing criteria, so in the sake of being professional, I will request that Vinny review my submissions and possibly De-categorize (if necessary) some of my submissions from this category.

    Domains currently under review for De-categorization:

    Please post any other domains of concern, so that they can be officially reviewed.

    Edit: Vinny invited to this discussion on 06/07/12
    Thankful People: libertyfarms
    • CommentTimeJun 7th 2012 edited
    We are aware of the miscategorization that's been happening in the Adware category in the past month or so and and the problems that this has been causing. We're working diligently to amend this issue and we apologize for any problems that this may have caused.

    Most of the top advertising domains have been removed from the Adware category, so it should be safe to enable it for filtering on your network again.
    Thankful People: zelus, john_m_leeds
  5.  permalink
    (edited - while I had some blocked sites in my stats last night the domains are no longer blocked - thanks!)
  6.  permalink
    @rtrappman, probably because it is unfortunately named, was flagged as adware. It is most definitely *not* an adware site. Companies use this site to post their jobs on Indeed and manage those postings. They can also sponsor those jobs through the application for premium placement. Indeed is helping people find jobs and being listed as adware makes it difficult for HR departments and recruiters to use the site. Please remove the adware classification.

    I have added a more appropriate classification of Jobs/Employment a little over a month ago that is awaiting votes.

    • CommentAuthorcvalentine
    • CommentTimeJul 10th 2012

    @fatts can you assist?

  7.  permalink
    I would suggest opening a support ticket, cvalentine.
    • CommentAuthorcvalentine
    • CommentTimeJul 10th 2012
    Based on your suggestion, I just did. Thanks @maintenance!
    Thankful People: maintenance
  8.  permalink
    Best way to get official support! The user (user-to-user) forum is described as supplementary, and although there is a mod presence, you cannot rely on it.

    I hope your issue is rectified soon.
    • CommentAuthordogweather
    • CommentTimeJul 16th 2012
    Can someone point to the definitions of all these categories? I've just gotten started and also noticed many sites mis-categorized "adware". I.e., because they simply seem to display ads. But I wanted to see the definition of the term and couldn't find a reference.

    All I could locate is this page, via the "Categories" tab:

    It makes no mention of Adware. Maybe some of these docs need to be updated?
  9.  permalink
    Those would be the definitions.

    "I've just gotten started and also noticed many sites mis-categorized "adware"."

    Yeah. Some people have a thing for a particular category, beyond a practical interest, which compels them to tag all sorts of domains according to their personal definitions, which are also sometimes extreme. You wouldn't believe what has been submitted to be categorized as Pornography by some people, for instance.

    But do read the whole thread, or at least the mod post above by fatts for some reference. Which also explains why you don't see Adware. Which is exactly the result of docs (and the dropdown combo box in Domain Tagging) being updated, in fact. Work in progress.
    Thankful People: dogweather

This discussion has been inactive for longer than 30 days, and is thus closed.