How Norton Fixes it’s Software

As you may know, Norton and Symantec were originally rivals in the anti-virus software market. Then, Norton bought Symantec and the two anti-virus products merged into Norton Anti Virus. Yes, I know, I’m talking PC here. Bare with me on this one.

If you are the “you do something with computers, don’t you?” free computer repair guy to a lot of people around you, you have probably uninstalled Norton Anti Virus Trial Edition from more than a few newly bought PC’s. And it was painful. Admit it. I know. I’ve been there. Several times.

A few months ago I discovered that maybe Norton is fixing this. But strangely enough, not in their software. They’re using the community to solve it. And no, it’s not by open-sourcing it either. It’s by buying user opinions. Yes, you’ve read that right.

effectiveness of Norton PropagandaCheck out the screenshot. It’s an Amazon’s Mechanical Turk “HIT” (Human Intelligence Task). Here, the requester asks people to post positive reviews of the Norton Anti Virus products as part of a French scientific research project. (no, it’s not photoshopped)

Norton is not really the requester, and I am probably blowing this out of proportion. But next time you’re on a forum, and people start telling you how wonderful Norton Antivirus is, stop and think for a minute. They might be getting payed to tell you this. Doesn’t that feel awfully close to a mini-propaganda? Yes, I know, this is not news. But this screenshot reminded me of how easily some people trust information on the internet.

Online forums are great for sharing information. I really like the internet, and hey, I wouldn’t be blogging if I didn’t, now would I? But for all you know, I could be an Apple execitive trying to get people to buy an Apple computer. Or a Seagate employee trying to sell you a drive instead of repairing your old one. Maybe I’m Bruce. Maybe I’m Steve. Or maybe I’m just a FireStarter 🙂


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