Kazaa Plus: No Ads, No SpywareMarch 8, 2008 – 2:40 PM
Sharman Networks has released a premium version of its Kazaa peer-to-peer file sharing software. The new software, Kazaa Plus, does not come bundled with the advertising spyware applications found in the free version. Kazaa Plus sells for $29.95 (USD).
In addition to being free of advertisements, Kazaa Plus also sports several new features. Kazaa Plus enables users to start searches that run every 30 minutes for a 24-hour period, offering potentially up to 9,000 results; customer email support by Avalon Online Distribution; faster and more effective search and download capabilities, allowing users access to up to 3,000 results per search; download files from up to 40 sources at one time, up from only eight in the advertising supported version; set the default homepage of your choice; enhanced virus protection, courtesy of the built-in antivirus program, BullGuard.
Please note that I have not tested this piece of software and cannot verify the claim that it is free of all adware and spyware.
In what I presume is an unofficial part of their marketing strategy, Sharman Networks recently issued a DMCA violation notice to search engine giant Google. The notice asks Google to remove fourteen specific web sites from any search for the keyword “kazaa”, claiming that those sites host software that infringes on their copyright. In fact, six of those sites are download mirrors for various versions of Kazaa Lite, an unauthorized copy of Kazaa which users have decompiled to remove the bundled spyware.
Google did remove the web sites listed in Sharman Network’s letter, but they also sent that letter to Chilling Effects, a web site that archives threatening “cease and desist” type letters. A search for Kazaa on Google now includes a notice about the listings that have been removed, including a link to the DMCA letter. The letter lists the address of every single site that Sharman wanted removed from Google’s search results. Sharman’s attempt to censor Google’s search results actually has resulted in far more exposure to those sites than they otherwise would have received.
Does this mean that I recommend Kazaa now? No, it does not. I still recommend WinMX, which has never included ads or spyware, and hopefully never will. It is also free.