Thank you for your question.
I had not heard of this particualar program before so I visited the
usual haunts on SpyWare, ADware and other intrusive programs.
Spyware-Guide.com has the following to say about BonziBuddy:
Full Name: BonziBuddy Websearch
Danger Level: 2
Official Description: Software that installs and monitors your
internet surfing and delivers ads based on what you've searched for.
Looking a bit further for more details uncovers that danger level 2 is
defined as "May profile users and no privacy policies in place. May
make use of "drive-by installation". Removal is possible by end user."
So, the program is an annoyance that montiors your surfing habits and
serves up ads based on your usage of the Internet.
BonziBuddy uses "Stealth Tactics which Spyware-Guide defines as "Hides
itself from the user, no visible icons in the taskbar, or obvious ways
to verify that the program is active. Well designed software should
always provide user's an easy method to uninstall the application." It
also changes your browser and remains resident in memory.
The above mentioned page also includes instructions for removal and
tools that will assist removal if it proves to be difficult for you.
Additionally, PCHell offers a very thorugh tutorial for removing
SmallFish mentions the following for their arguments against BonziBuddy:
"...The following should be enough reason to avoid ALL Bonzi software:
very poor user opinions of two of the four Bonzi programs, and
suspicions of spyware activity..."
There are a number of user experiences reported if you scroll further
down the page. For example:
"...From "Gina" Aug 26-00: "I sent them an email and the following is
their not very reassuring reply. No response to further questions":
Date: Tue, 15 Aug 2000 19:23:16 CDT
Subject: RE: questions about information collected by bonzi buddy
but just haven't been able to get around to it. We assure you,
however, that nothing we know about you is given or sold to any third
party. We use what little information we have, which is mostly just an
email address, only to offer you new products and inform you of
updates. The information that BonziBUDDY keeps track of using his
search feature stays on your computer and is never transmitted to us
in any way. Thank you for contacting BONZI Software Support."
From "Marge" Sept 03-00: "I was doing work on the computer and didn't
have ZoneAlarm set to pop-up warnings. An hour after installing,
however, I noticed my X on ZA going off quite a bit. When I checked
the log it had already exceeded its 500 alerts since I installed the
instrusive monkey. Of course I uninstalled the beast of my PC and
filled out a tech support form on their website to see what they have
to say for themselves."
"I can see where my computer may be contacting their image server to
run the Bonzi Gorilla beast, but the only other time I have seen my
ports sniffed in this fashion was when a hacker was attempting to find
an open port on my PC. [...] I'm also using Hacker Trace and after
uninstalling the beast I added it to my banned IP list. Both IP's
continued to try and make UDP port connections."..."
You might read the other comments and links provided for more first
Pest Patrol has interesting comments on BonziBuddy as well:
Adware. Brings targeted ads to your computer, after you provide
initial consent for this task. Track your browsing habits and reports
this info to a central server.
ConsumerWebWatch refers to BonziBuddy as a "Backdoor Santa": a
stand-alone program that have no links to adware networks or no
ad-serving, per se, but that collect information from users.
Serves adds, frequently prompts users for personal information, tracks
all usage, deposits icons in the startup folder, system tray and on
the desktop, repeatedly resets the browser homepage to BONZI.COM
without asking permission, and leaves components behind after users
use its uninstall program..."
Do read their entire evaluation.
Trusttix details your privacy invasion with BonziBuddy with a little more detail:
"..."Personal information is collected when users voluntarily register
for membership services ... One method of collecting aggregate
information about your activities online (such as the pages you access
most frequently or the search terms you enter), and information
volunteered by you (such as survey or registration information), is by
tracking Internet Protocol (IP) addresses. ... We may receive personal
usage and demographic information from our third-party partners, and
we also collect e-mail addresses from users who send us support mail
... The computers that deliver the Web pages to you automatically
identify your computer by its IP address. When you request a page from
one of our sites, our servers log your IP address. ... As a measure of
user interest, we track search terms that are entered into our sites'
search features. ... Our sites use 'cookies' to record information.
... BONZI.COM shares aggregate information with third parties for
advertising and promotional purposes." See here for more detail.
Security Issues: Will retrieve other unwanted software, such as ClickTillUWin..."
Even CNET Downloads, which usually prints favorable reviews of
shareware and software has the following user comments prominantly
"..."Virus! Its a monkey virus!!"
I see this thing at school pop up I'm like what the h*ll!! I'm about
to turn it off and it says: Hi I'm bonzi Buddy! It kept on inturuping
me when I was doing my work....I was reading when: "What does a
bannanna do when...." 3 weeks later: schools network shus down!! Its
because of that purple FREAK!! It almost crashed all of the students
work!! Don't download him, You'll be sorry!!...
...You guys who want to download this are crazy. It goes deep into the
registry *NO, NOT GOOD* and updates itself automatically and
stealthily. It collects your information, sends it to marketers, and
then spams you like crazy. if you do not want to take an hour removing
this (or maybe you will not even be able to remove it, you need
special software), DO NOT DOWNLOAD IT BECAUSE IT ISN'T WORTH THE TIME,
EFFORT, ENERGY, ELECTRICITY, INTERNET CONNECETION!!!...
..."Spyware + Bad Coding = Huge Headache"
I was charged with removing this monster from school computers, and
man, is it nasty. First, it's spyware, so it harvests all kinds of
information from the network, then clogs traffic severely by sending
it all out constantly. Most spyware comes bundled with other spyware,
and this is no exception: at least fifty different and highly malovent
programs will end up on your computer with it if you have the little
parasite for any length of time. It's adware, too, so expect lots of
popups. On a side, spyware and adware are clumped with viruses,
trojans, ect. ect., under the category "malware". Mal shows up in
MALovent (hostile), and MALlo (evil in spanish), and probably some
other unpleasant words too, so you can guess whether these are
beneficial. Then their's the horrible coding. The Bonzi monkey is
spurting RAM from all over his furry body (memory leaks, people), to
the point that everything starts crashing or at least slowing down and
showing weird glitches. Thirdly, the uninstall program is a clever
decoy to keep you from taking any decisive action while it spawns more
of it's fellow vampires. It won't work: you might think it's gone at
first, but soon enough it'll be back and crawling all over..."
Enough? I could go on, but you would find just more of the same. This
is not a program that is recommended and yes, from all appearances it
is Spyware and more. Fortunately, the links above provide instructions
and links to utilities for removing this program if you have it
installed. You can also searh for bonzibuddy +uninstall and locate
even more if your particualr installation is persistant.
I trust my research has provided you with useful data and opinions on
the value (or lack of) of Bonzi Buddy. If a link above should fail to
work or anything require further explanation or research, please do
post a Request for Clarification prior to rating the answer and
closing the question and I will be pleased to assist further.