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Saying goodbye to AVG Internet Security

My two year subscription to AVG Internet Security has come to an end so I can finally say goodbye to the annoying advertising pop-ups.

My subscription to AVG Internet Security expires this month and I'd already decided that I wouldn't be renewing it. It's not that I wasn't happy with the product - it's fine, it's the fact that they cause advertising pop-ups to appear on my computer from time to time.

AVG Pop-up

Let's be clear, I'd already paid for the full product so by what right do AVG put these pop-ups on my computer and how do I opt-out? I contacted AVG about this and they said:

We use popups to send to our customers to let them know about any upgrades or any new versions of AVG that may be available and of interest to them. AVG free users also receive these popups inviting them to join millions of other users to the benefits of the paid version that you do not get with the free version of AVG.

But as a UK-data subject I can legally opt-out of all marketing that is directed at me - by whatever means, so where's my opt-out? AVG sell to a UK customers so I take it that they want us to buy their product but they don't want to comply with our rights as UK data subjects?

Don't get me wrong; if I were using AVG Free then I totally accept that AVG would want to make me aware of the benefits of purchasing the full product but I'd purchased the full product. Furthermore, the way that AVG go about getting people to sign up to other services is sometimes misleading in my opinion. I don't have a slow computer. My new computer scores 7.5 on the Windows 7 benchmarking so when I see a pop-up like this asking me about my computer being slow, I take it for what it is... an annoying, intrusive and often misleading attempt to get me to buy software that I probably don't need at a premium price. Unfortunately, there are people - particularly the elderly, or those who are not very good with computers who might be duped by these pop-ups and I'm not happy with that. I don't want to do business with a company that would do something like this so AVG won't be getting my money again. I particularly despise AVG because they're clearly targeting the elderly with these misleading pop-ups.

As it happens, the AVG pop-ups have actually done me a favour. It's likely that I would have remained with AVG indefinitely if the pop-ups hadn't forced me to look for an alternative solution and that's when I came across Bitdefender - which gets lots of good reviews.

Bitdefender

I've been using it for about three weeks now and there are no pop-up ads.

However, I do keep getting pop-ups asking me to register and activate Bitdefender:

Bitdefender

I contacted Bitdefender about this and they said:

Kindly be informed that the MyBitdefender account is intended for you to securely and conveniently manage certain Bitdefender features that require the web application called MyBitdefender. This app can only be accessed using an e-mail address and password from any device that has an Internet connection. These features are:

- Anti-theft
- Parental Control
- SafeBox
- SafeGo
- Remote Management


They went on to say:

Please be informed that you cannot disable the registration pop-up that requires you to create and log into a MyBitdefender account. Even if you do not wish to use Bitdefender's online features, in order for the MyBitdefender pop-up to stop appearing, you will have to create a MyBitdefender account and log into it directly from your product.

However, I'd purchased Bitdefender 2014 and so I was entitled to a free upgrade to Bitdefender 2015. I upgraded last weekend and I've not had the registration pop-up all week. And, looking at the new control panel, there's now a button to activate my online profile so I'm wondering whether they've actually replaced the registration pop-up with a button and the customer service person didn't realise. So far so good anyway.

Bitdefender

In conclusion, not only does Bitdefender get excellent reviews, there appears to be no annoying and intrusive pop-up ads as far as I can tell.

So long AVG!

Update: 12.11.14

I've still had no pop-ups asking me to sign-in so it looks like they've made this optional in the 2014 version. The only pop-up I get is when Bitdefender is starting up and it just says, "Bitdefender awake". So far Bitdefender is giving me exactly what I want - it's one of the best internet security products on the market so I'm confident that it's protecting my computer, and it's doing this without interfering with the operation of my computer to promote other products services. I'll continue to use this product until that changes.

UK laws should be changed so that any company wishing to use paid for computer software to promote their other products or services should be making this clear in the packaging and marketing so that consumers are clearly informed. This way one can seek a refund if they start manipulating your computer to promote their own services.

Update: 10.05.15

I've got 119 days left on my licence and I've started getting these annoying pop-ups on my computer:

Bitdefender advert

It looks like these pop-ups kick-in when one has 120 days left on the licence as I had one yesterday and one today. I contacted Bitdefender about the adverts and they informed me that if I have Total Security 2015 I can disable the adverts in my settings. To do this you just need to hover over the person icon at the top of the Bitdefender control panel, select General Settings from the dropdown and disable Display special offers and product notifications. Excellent!

Update: 15.11.15

I'm getting down to the last few days of the licence now and I spotted a few annoying things.

bitdefender

At the same time that the licence countdown turned red, the icon on the taskbar changed to make it appear that there was a problem. Hovering over the icon and you can see what it's saying.

bitdefender

There were no issues affecting my PC though, so this was misleading in my opinion. Why is it that anti-virus companies are so keen to mislead their customers? Where's the trust? Instead of incorrectly telling me that there are multiple issues affecting my PC, why can't they just say that your licence is about to expire? Why mislead? There should be a law against it so I've contacted the Advertising Standards Agency about this to see whether they can deal with complaints about this kind of intrusive and misleading advertising.

The other point that I'd like to make is that the cut-price renewal offer on Bitdefender's website was about 70% more expensive than buying the licence from Amazon. The full price for Bitdefender Total Security 2015 on bitdefender.co.uk is currently £59.95, the renewal price on bitdefender.co.uk is £29.98 but you can get the exact same product from Amazon for £17.79. These prices are correct as of 15.11.15. I actually bought it for £17.83 from Amazon in September. The only difference is that I had to take delivery of the CD as I couldn't find the option to download electronically from Amazon.

Finally, I noticed that the option not to Display special offers and product notifications had been reset so that I was once again opted in to receive adverts. I'm not sure when this happened but I've just disabled it again by following the steps outlined above. I'll keep my eye on it.

Hopefully this will conclude my analysis of Bitdefender. Apart from they way they've dealt with the licence renewal I'm fairly happy with the product and the lack of advertising. In contrast, my brother told me the other day that he was getting fed-up with AVG putting pop-ups on his computer. It's one thing displaying pop-up ads when you're using a free licence but not once you've paid for a full licence, and they shouldn't be misleading. Up yours AVG!

Update: 13.02.16

it's all good. I've had no pop-up adverts with Bitdefender so I'm happy. I was out hill walking with my brother this morning and he was telling me that he couldn't wait for AVG to expire so that he could switch to Bitdefender because he was fed-up with the misleading pop-up adverts. He seemed to indicate that the pop-up adverts are happening more frequently but I can't be sure.

Update: 08.08.16

I received an unexpected pop-up this morning so I've contacted Bitdefender to ask them why. I noticed that I've got 30 days left of my licence so I suspect that this is their way of reminding me but I'm opted out so I shouldn't be receiving marketing. My decision to renew has got nothing do do with Bitdefender and they shouldn't be putting adverts on my computer if I've opted out. I find these types of advert seriously annoying.

Bitdefender Photon

And here's confirmation that I'm still opted out:

Bitdefender settings

Added: 29.09.2014 | Updated: 08.08.16