Tag Archives: RealPlayer

Slimy Opt-In Tactics

After upgrading my system, I just tried to view a RealPlayer video file for the first time. As opposed to Flash video players, like YouTube, or the kind I recently launched for MarketingRev, RealPlayer has a dedicated client application that sits on your computer to play RealPlayer files, and oh yeah, communicate back to Real. These pods that communicate back to the mother ship have been abused enough to make consumers leary of them, but if it’s something you really want to watch, you just shut up and let them play.

So I’m forced to go through an initializing wizard with my RealPlayer. Of course, it first tries to take over all my video files by helpfully auto-checking the box "Make RealPlayer My Default Media Player", but I catch it and decline. It’s the next screen that Really pisses me off. It’s an opt-in screen that invites me to subscribe to a list of Spam-bot feeds with lots of FREE RealPlayer content. You can see four  feeds in the small selection box, and to my surprise, they’re not automatically checked for my opt-in permission.


Okay, I’m not being hoodwinked on this screen. I’m about to click "next" when I notice there’s a scroll bar on the selection box. I scroll down, and low and behold, when get below the fold there are a lot more Spam feeds, and these hidden feeds are auto-checked for opt-in permission.


Those scum sucking slimebags.

There is absolutely no question in my mind that this box was set up to purposely deceive users into opting in to email they had no intention of subscribing to. The unchecked subscription boxes are shown to users so they let down their guard, while the auto-checked boxes are hidden in a way that the vast majority of users would never notice. This kind of tactic is a tacit admission in my mind of an inability to effectively market information people actually want so they have to resort to deceptive tactics in order to fool people into subscribing. I can only imagine what their spamming tactics are like.