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Hotbar sent us a Cease and Desist letter yesterday. Read it here.

I have forwarded it to our high-priced lawyers and an appropriate response will be filed in due course.

Of course, we won’t remove them from our database under any circumstances. Clearly, the folks at Hotbar didn’t read our listing critieria.

Here’s what’s odd about all of this. Hotbar is what we label “low-risk adware”. We list them in our database, we display them in the scan results, but we tell the user “This is not a big deal” and we put the default action as “ignore” (as opposed to “remove” or “quarantine”). While Hotbar is clearly adware, it is not nearly as destructive to the system as something like CoolWebSearch.

So we are telling the user it’s on their system, but we’re letting the user decide if we should remove it or not.

Now check out this little snipped from their letter:

Click to enlarge

As most people know, we get spyware database updates from Microsoft. We did notice a while back that Microsoft had removed Hotbar, but we didn’t remove them from our version of the database. We figured Hotbar had gone after them and now we can see that it looks like they really did.

You know, you can get farther with a bit of with molasses than a lot of vinegar.

Contrast Hotbar’s vehement attack with WeatherBug’s kindler, gentler style. The WeatherBug Chief Privacy Officer Dan O’Connell and I had a respectful interchange (and we both blogged on the matter of listing WeatherBug). They didn’t like the fact that we were listing them in our database, but respected our position. While we continue to list them, at WeatherBug’s request, we are making changes in our UI to help users understand that having WeatherBug is not the end of the world.

In other words, a little bit of molasses sure is better than a lot of vinegar.

Alex Eckelberry