MacKeeper’s Sleazy Marketing Tactics

The “security” program marketed by Zeobit called MacKeeper is a controversial program, especially because of Zeobit’s aggressive marketing tactics. The company advertises everywhere, and uses pop-ups and pop-unders, as well as ads mentioning other programs. You may see ads that suggest that you’ll click through and find information about a different security program only to find that you end up on a MacKeeper page. You’ll find lots of affiliate websites vaunting the merits of MacKeeper. The company has people who post bogus forum comments and reviews about the program. And they even have fake websites set up using the keywords “MacKeeper scam,” that tell you all the great things about the program.

I recently starting using Google AdSense ads on this site, and one of the first things I did was to block MacKeeper so their ads don’t appear here. I was surprised to receive an e-mail the other day from someone representing MacKeeper who offered to let me download the program and try it out. This person, writing from a Gmail address, said the following:

The reason for the email is to request you to do a review of the product on your site. You could download and test the product for free at [URL redacted]. If you like the product, you could feature it on your site. We are willing to discuss whether the review should be free or paid in light of your personal thoughts on the product.

The key phrase there is “whether the review should be free or paid.” The company is therefore seeking bogus reviews on legitimate sites and willing to pay for them. Today, I got the e-mail addressed to another site I manage, a site with a much larger audience. The company is not hesitating to contact Mac-related web sites of all sizes offering to pay for reviews.

If you’ve even considered buying MacKeeper, you should think twice. The program itself doesn’t seem to do what it promises, but above all, the aggressive marketing tactics of the company are such that I would stay away from them.

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3 replies
  1. David Toub says:

    Very timely. Just a few days ago, I was looking into ways to defeat their pop-under (which is not blocked by Safari’s popup blocker, since it isn’t technically a popup). The solution so far seems to be the AdBlock extension (http://safariadblock.com). I’ve also read about MacKeeper’s dubious practices online, and am glad you’re calling them out.

    Reply
  2. Dave says:

    After experiencing a concerted effort by the company that owns Mackeeper to persuade me to renew my license, I had already decided to give them the boot. Now I’m determined to get their software off of my machine right away. Their marketing effort — for a single user like me — was to pop up Growl-like messages over whatever program I was using. Each message reminded me that my deadline for renewal was drawing closer, and each had to be clicked on to get them to disappear.

    Sorry, but these attempts had the opposite effect on me. So long, Mackeeper. I’ll find other ways to do whatever it was you were supposedly doing….

    Reply
  3. Peter Pearson says:

    I gave up on MacKeeper not because of the aggressive marketing behaviour, which is tedious but not lethal, but because I could not confirm that the software was actually carrying out important jobs like updating the virus database and performing virus scans due to lack of clear logs. I now use a combination of MacClean and VirusBarrier, both of which provide a clear reporting of what they are doing and have achieved. I wish I had seen your earlier comments on the incompatibility of Spell Checker with Mountain Lion sooner. I have been using Spell Checker for many years with great pleasure and it would have saved me a lot of time to come to the same conclusions you did on its incompatibility with the new OS.

    Reply

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