It’s been a month since we showed you how Digsby was using your PC to make money, and today they’ve responded with a new version that actually bothers to ask your permission before using your PC.
The Good: Research Module Finally Asks for Permission
Our single biggest complaint about Digsby was that they were using your PC to make money, while burying that fact into the terms of service that (almost) nobody bothers to read. That type of sneaky behaviour is, as we pointed out, despicable, and you will now have the option during the installation process to uncheck the box for “Allow Digsby to use idle CPU time for grid computing”, as well as a link to a page that explains more. Much better.
We would prefer if that option was unchecked by default, but at the very least the option is now there, and they’ve added a new tab to the Preferences panel to allow you to configure when it kicks in, the amount of CPU and bandwidth it can use, and there is a very clear definition of exactly what the module is for. This is exactly how they should have introduced it in the first place!
The Bad: Crapware Installer Replaced with the Awful Ask Toolbar
When it comes to (legit) bundled crapware that nobody anywhere wants, the Ask Toolbar is the one you’ll see almost everywhere. Digsby isn’t alone—loads of mainstream software like Java, Skype, Foxit, DivX, uTorrent and Winamp all bundle toolbars that nobody wants, in the hopes that they can trick somebody into using their alternative search engine and making them money through ad clicks.
Digsby also offers during the installation process to replace your home page with “Google Powered Digsby Search”, and “Add Amazon and Ebay Search” to your browser, which means every time you use those search engines and buy something or click an ad, you will make them money. Thankfully, all of these items are optional so you can choose whether you want to support them in that way or not. (They’re not the only people who make money this way, and it’s certainly among the less intrusive options.)
The Ugly: Trust Is Hard to Earn, Easy to Lose
Digsby’s response to this debacle is a huge step in the right direction, and we’re thrilled that they appear to really be making an effort to increase transparency with their users. We put our reputation on the line by recommending Digsby in the first place, only to find out they were abusing their users. Now that they’ve turned things around—which we’re thrilled to see—the decision to reinstall is yours. For my part, I’m going to stick with the open-source Pidgin client.
So what say you, former (or current) Digsby users? Are these changes enough to make you re-install? Voice your opinion in the comments.