AVG update set to fix things?

I’ve not had this confirmed from any of my contacts at AVG via the Google Group I belong to, but this post on the Australian Whirlpool Broadband Forums, suggests 9th July might bring the release we’ve been waiting for.

I’ve also found Lloyd Borrett posting the same info here.

If I hear any further confirmation from AVG, I’ll let you know, until then we’ll see what happens on the 9th.  Interestingly Lloyd doesn’t see to know what day it is, either that or my calendar is wrong –

In working with the web master community, AVG has responded immediately and on Tuesday, July 9th, AVG will issue a product modification to address the spikes that a few individuals have seen with their web traffic.

Tuesday? I make it Wednesday, ah well, we might see something Tuesday or Wednesday then 😛

Nice use of “a few individuals” there Lloyd, I wouldn’t class it as a few myself.

Now confirmed by Pat Bitton at AVG, see comment below.

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AVG LinkScanner Updates User Agent

The Register are running a further follow up article “AVG disguises fake traffic as IE6“, which states that AVG are now using a “new” user agent for the paid version of AVG’s LinkScanner.

This has been confirmed by Roger Thompson in the AVG Webscanning Google Group, to which I’m a member.  When asked if it was true Roger said –

..Yes, it’s true, but it’s not quite what it seems. It was a planned
service release that was already in the works when we found out about
the issue, and fixed some other critical issues at the same time.

It changes the User Agent string to SV1, but it leaves some of the
other request headers so that they’re different enough that you can
still parse them out of stats if you want to..

I personally don’t really see this as a “new” user agent, as I’m already filtering my logs for this one.  From what I’ve read, this is the original agent used by LinkScanner before they were purchased by AVG, so it’s already mentioned in my initial AVG log spam post.

That aside, it’s still not a great move from AVG at this point.  They are supposed to be working with the community (myself included) to resolve this from a webmasters point of view, switching (well mixing in another) user agent at this point is a little silly.

At this point I need to credit Michael Ducy who tipped me off this change yesterday, he however claims it’s affecting the free version also –

AVG changed the user agent with the latest release. They now use “Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.1; SV1)”. I confirmed this by downloading and installing AVG free this morning and using wireshark to sniff the traffic.

The saga continues..

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Posted in Avg, Spam, Technology. Tags: , , , , . 1 Comment »

Invited to join closed AVG discussion group

Over the weekend, I had an email from Karel Obluk at AVG inviting me to a Google Group they have set-up for discussions around the AVG logfile spam issue.

..I would like to invite you to participate in a group dedicated to discussion
about AVG LinkScanner technology, its advantages as well as potential impact
on web sites, the nature of recent web threats and ways of protecting both
users and web masters. Your input and feedback will be highly appreciated.
The group is closed and by invitation only..

I have accepted the invite but unfortunately now have to be re-approved as I used a different email address (my Google account).

Hopefully we’re getting somewhere on this issue.

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AVG confirms Adwords unaffected

El Reg have a follow up article AVG fake traffic spares Google AdWords confirming that LinkScanner does not ‘click’ Adwords links, it follows them but parses out the ‘real’ URL behind the sponsored link.

The article fails to mention if this is true for all PPC providers though.  I know clients who’ve seen an increase in Yahoo!/Overture spend since this came about.

Anyone have any further clarification?

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AVG’s Roger Thompson gets in touch

I’ve had a response from Roger Thompson overnight

Hi Adam,

Thanks for your thoughts and offer. I’ve passed this along to our product managers. They are really the right guys to coordinate this.

Sorry for the delay in replying … we’re a bit busy. 😉

Cheers

Roger

Let’s hope this means things are moving from the AVG end and we might get somewhere with sorting this mess.  I’m not holding my breath though.

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Posted in Avg, Spam, Technology. Tags: , , . 1 Comment »

Contact from AVG

I’ve had a response from Pat Bitton (Head of Global Communications) at AVG, who I emailed earlier following their comment on The Register.

…we’ve been working since then to
figure out exactly was going on and how we might fix it with the best
results for everyone. Your offer to assist is much appreciated, and I’m
copying this reply to Roger Thompson* so he and his team can contact you
directly…

So, it looks like we’re getting somewhere and hopefully this’ll mean a change to the way LinkScanner operates to keep webmasters and site owners happy.

* Chief of Research at AVG and designer of LinkScanner while serving as CTO of Exploit Prevention Labs

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Posted in Avg, Spam, Technology. Tags: . 1 Comment »

My name in lights

… well, not quite.

A week has passed since I email The Register about the AVG logfile spam problems, but, after lots of emails between myself and their Internet Editor, they’re now running the story.

I’m a little annoyed that they don’t acknowledge that I brought this to their attention, but ah well. All I really wanted to do was let the community know that this happening and see if together we can sort this.

I’m really pleased to see that an employee from AVG has stepped up within the comments of the article on El Reg and wants to work with us (webmasters/site owners) to see if we can improve the situation. I’ve already emailed them and await a response.

I’ll keep you posted.

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