How the mighty have fallen.
There was a day when Kazaa was the must-have file-sharing program for anyone interested in digital music. It helped launch the file-sharing and digital music revolution. It forever changed the way that people treated their music.
Then recently, it was named the leading pest on the Internet by Computer Associates, who own Pest Patrol anti-spyware software. Computer Associates call Kazaa the leading pest not only because the software is bundled with spyware, but because of its high “clot factor” — in the words of Computer Associates “how much a pest ‘gums up’ a machine by adding registry entries, files, and directories,” and so slows a PC down.
The truth is, Kazaa was always a pest, even while it let you share files with others. It always installed spyware on your system, but because it also offered benefits, people were willing to overlook that it. So Kazaa was a pioneer in both spyware and file-sharing. In fact, it was many people’s first brush with spyware.
All in all, I think computing history will treat Kazaa badly. It wasn’t the first file-sharing application, and not even the first big one, because Napster came before it, and had a larger influence than it ever did. But because of the massive number of people who have Kazaa on their computers, and the big spyware payload it carries, it will probably have done more than any other program to spread spyware and pests.
And all for the sake of sharing music. There must be a better way.
What do you think of Kazaa? Let me know.