I recently bought a new computer, and have been enjoying the added speed and memory capacity. However, going from one computer to another also brings with it a lot of mundane tasks such as moving files and installing software.
Well, as I've been in the process of getting my new computer configured, I've also been trying to manage my business. And yesterday, I was in a bit of a crunch and realized that I had a podcast interview scheduled in just a few minutes and I still hadn't installed my skype recording software!
So, I scrambled as quickly as possible to download the software and in the process didn't read the fine print. I ended up downloading some unwanted programs along with the skype recorder! The primary nuisance was a browser hijacker called Trovi.
Today, I want to share how I accidentally downloaded Trovi, how I discovered some potentially shady affiliates, and how to actually uninstall and remove Trovi (its pretty easy).
How I Accidentally Downloaded Trovi
As mentioned, I was in a hurry to record a podcast and needed to install my skype recorder. So, I quickly did a search for “MP3 Skype Recorder” and ended up on Cnet.com to get the download I needed. Cnet is a trusted site, so I didn't pay very much attention as the download process started:
Everything looked good so far, so I hit the Download Now button, and was taken to the next step in the process (where the “fun” began):
If I was paying attention, I would have noticed that this file was from 2011; most likely an old version of the software (it is), but still not major red flags for potential unwanted programs (like Trovi). I hit the next step button:
Again, I was in such a hurry, just a few minutes until my podcast recording needed to start! So, I didn't read the fine print on “Step 2”. If I would have, I would have clearly seen here that “As part of the installation, you can also get Search Protect” (Trovi).
Yippy Skippy! Its kinda like getting a tick when hiking through the wilderness. You get an extra little guy to hang out with you all the time!
Well, I should have hit “Decline”, but instead I hit the “Accept” button. Here's what I got next:
Another unwanted offer! I kept accepting (again not reading anything), and finally got to download my wanted program; right along with the unwanted ones.
After installing it, I immediately got onto my podcast interview; and luckily the software program I did want (the MP3 Skype Recorder) did work. However, I still had no idea for a couple of hours that I had
a tick Trovi as well.
(And for the record, you can get Mp3 Skype Recorder directly from the creator without Trovi here: voipcallrecording.com)
Suddenly after my podcast recording, I noticed that my homepage had changed from Google.com to Trovi.com. What the heck?!?
In addition, every time I created a new tab in Mozilla Firefox, it went to Trovi.com as well.
At first I had no idea what was going on, and was too busy to look into it. However, eventually I was able to retrace my steps and realize how Trovi had gotten onto my computer.
Here's what Trovi.com looks like:
Obviously Trovi is just trying to make some money off advertisements, but the real nuisance is trying to get the program off your computer! Even when I dragged a new homepage to the Mozilla homepage icon, Trovi was still my homepage. Even when I changed the homepage in the Mozilla settings; my new tabs still went to Trovi (even though the official homepage had been changed).
My default search bar in Mozilla was also set to Trovi as well. Just a major pain.
So, I did what any
lazy intelligent person does when they have a problem, I consulted Google. How do I remove Trovi from my computer?
What I discovered was less than stellar advice, and made me decide to write this blog post about potentially unscrupulous affiliates.
Discovering Shady Affiliates
Clearly Trovi is a shady affiliate trying to make money on advertisements; but I also discovered some other shady affiliates in the process of trying to remove it.
After doing a quick search on Google on how to get rid of Trovi, the first 2 websites I went to mentioned that Trovi was extremely difficult to uninstall. In addition, they mentioned that the way you had to get rid of it was to simply install an Ad cleaner program on your computer!
The red flags immediately went up for me.
I could tell that at least these 2 websites were affiliates for the Ad cleaner they were recommending; but they didn't stop there!
They actually gave a 5 step process to uninstall. Four out of five of those steps were to install 4 separate programs to clean up your computer! Those programs included: 1. AdwCleaner, 2. Junk Ware Removal Tool, 3. Malwarebytes Anti-Malware 4. HitManPro
Are you kidding me??! These affiliates wanted me to install 4 programs to try and remove Trovi! Recommending unnecessary products is not only shady, it also would probably create more problems than Trovi would.
I will say that several of the results on Google, did provide clear instructions how to easily remove Trovi; but at least one result only recommended the products I mentioned, and never shared the simple do it yourself method (which takes about 30 seconds).
Here's How to Actually Remove Trovi From Your Computer
So, I finally decided to just go to my control panel, and uninstall any programs I didn't recognize from that day. Luckily I discovered Trovi on the same day I downloaded it, so I only had a few files from the date I knew the issue began.
So, to uninstall Trovi, just go to your Control panel, and uninstall programs:
Look for the file called “Search Protect” and click Uninstall. (It may also be under a different name such as Trovi, Conduit, or something else as Trovi decides to change their name).
To finish uninstalling, be sure to decline their warnings/offers…you really do want to uninstall:
That's it. Trovi is uninstalled.
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You will have your browser back to normal!
Don't Be Like These Affiliates!
Obviously Trovi implements shady practices. It hijacks your browser and forces you to use their service, and makes it difficult to find and uninstall. Unfortunately, these kinds of companies have been around as long as the internet has…and will continue to exist.
They try to find a back door into your computer and make you an unwilling “customer”. You already know not to be like these guys, right?
However, what is perhaps more disappointing are the affiliates that were recommending unnecessary products to people in need. I was able to figure out how to get rid of Trovi pretty quickly, but other people have likely had it installed for a really long time and have no clue how they got it.
These victims are trying to figure out how to remove an unwanted program and need help. Instead of help, they are searching on Google and finding a few shady affiliates. These affiliate sites should simply be honest and tell people how to uninstall the software on their own.
Instead they recommend up to 4 NEW programs to help remove 1. Its totally unnecessary, and is unethical…trying to take advantage of people in need.
A Better Way…
However, I have recently started creating more Amazon Associates based websites. As I do, I really have been trying to make good product recommendations. You can see the process that I used to find the best products in my first niche site project.
You can also see the process the Perrin followed to make recommendations for his site in niche site project 2.
In fact, this is a topic that Perrin and I continue to discuss as our business evolves. We are seeking to provide higher quality content, more in-depth articles, and of course that includes product recommendations that actually makes sense to the searcher.
We feel like the best way to grow a business is to build it for long term success, rather than taking advantage of people or taking short cuts. It's not necessary to be shady to make money.
If you provide great information, create or recommend products that truly resolve the query or issue that users are having, then the money will follow.
I would love to hear your thoughts on the subject. Have you run across other shady affiliates? And how are you running your business differently?
My little experience with Trovi was interesting. I'm glad that I got the issue resolved pretty quickly. And I'm also happy to say that I finally have my computer almost completely up and running the way I want it now!
Overall, if these few words of advice can prevent anyone from trying to create an affiliate business based on shady tactics, then we will be moving in the right direction.