Consumer group slams RealPlayer as 'badware'

A consumer advocacy group is blasting RealNetworks for installing adware and other software without properly notifying its users. In a report published Thursday, StopBadware.org faults the latest version of RealPlayer for secretly installing its Rhapsody Player Engine during the RealPlayer installation.

"RealPlayer 11 does not disclose that it installs Rhapsody Player Engine, and does not remove the software when RealPlayer is uninstalled," Stopbadware says in the report. Rhapsody Player Engine is required to access RealNetwork's online music service. But because users are not told that they have installed the product it could become a liability, using up the computer's hard-drive space or processing power, or even creating a security risk for consumers if bugs are discovered in Rhapsody, said Maxim Weinstein, StopBadware's manager.

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29 Comments

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An engine that let you play music from their online store.... thats it?
If it doesnt get uninstalled then email Real about it to get it fixed. Simple.

I echo the previous posts about RealAlternative. I don't care one whit that it p*sses on Real's copyright. Real deserves to have their copyright kicked around and I'll happily continue using RealAlternative as long as it exists.

We throw virus writers and crackers in jail. Why can we not do the same to spyware writers? I think the world would benefit if everyone in the marketing industry were thrown in jail with the serial killers and rapists, and said serial killers and rapists were free to have their way with the marketeers.

Maybe not on the PC, but on the mobile platform, real player is extremly popular. It even comes bundled with a lot of phones (eg: Nokia).

(YaZoR said @ #15)
Man, I don't believe no-ones done the old ... Buffering

Haha dammit, you got it in before me! I remember seeing a really funny photo where someone stuck a huge "buffering" sign over a Realplayer sign on a building.

Wow, it's realplayer... which has been bloated junk since about 1999. Hopefully people have learned to stay away.

I didn't mind Realplayer 10 so much when it came to simply playing Real audio/video, but version 11 is god awful. Not telling the user that the "Rhapsody Player Engine" is being installed isn't so bad. Apple's iTunes installs an iPod service without telling the user, even though I'm sure there are users out there that use iTunes and don't have an iPod. What sucks is not removing this Rhapsody Player Engine when uninstalled.

Real Alternative rocks. including the quicktime alternative. no spyware/crapware/bloatware crap on my computer. plus they are lightweight too.

Real player was sort of ok back in 1998 or around then. don't remember which version. but it started becoming bloatware later on. stopped using it. i rarely run into real media files anyway. but the real alternative uses the windows media player classic edition which rocks and it's very lightweight.

I totally agree, because is the real truth. When you see websites using real videos is because they never updates the site from the 90's

I'm torn, as much as I hate RealPlayer I also hate the term "badware". Sounds childish, what's next? Naughtyware?

What was wrong with malware?

Because it isn't malware. RealPlayer doesn't intentionally aim to harm the user's computer or put their privacy at risk. Malware is designed with the main intent of doing so.

Badware is just a mashup of the words "Bad" and "Software". What else would you call it? Bloatware is probably more apt, but the word bloatware doesn't convey the message that the software isn't following ethical practices.