Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Incredimail Woes (05/2006)

Q: OK, a weak moment I hit the "Yes" instead of the "NO" on "Incredimail" cuties! I have looked for and deleted/recycled every reference to Incredimail that I can find. I have looked up cures that don't work. I still get (error messages) every time I boot up. How do I get rid of this thing or am I doomed to look at those messages every time I boot up for the remainder of the life of this computer (and it's new). Help! JM

A: I get a large amount of questions concerning problems with IncrediMail. First, for those who don’t know, IncrediMail is a “free” email program that operates similarly to Outlook or Outlook Express that allows the sender to add (from IncrediMail’s website) “beautiful backgrounds, 1000’s of emoticons, animated email folders, exciting 3D effects in your email, funny animations and cool sounds.”

Imagine this article with a floral pink background, yellow jumping smiley faces scattered throughout and some rap music playing through your cheap computer speakers and you’ll get the general idea of IncrediMail. I know what you’re thinking: My column is annoying enough without all those other distractions. Now you know how I feel about IncrediMail. Obviously, many people like IncrediMail but they should know about some disturbing aspects of the program before they send another email.

First, once you receive an email from an Incredimail user, your email address is evidently added to IncrediMail’s spam list. People who receive mail from IncrediMail users report that they subsequently receive “promotional” offers from Incredimail.

Secondly, another bothersome aspect of Incredimail is contained within their legal agreement that almost no one reads when they install the software. Part of that agreement reads “Any confidential, secret or proprietary information or other material submitted or sent (through) IncrediMail (…) will be deemed to be not confidential or secret.” Translation: They can and will read your email. Granted, this statement could be simply something their legal staff came up with due to the fact that email is the electronic equivalent of a postcard and, by nature, is not confidential. However, given some other aspects of IncrediMail’s legal agreement, this statement sounds almost sinister.

Lastly, if I haven’t convinced you that IncrediMail is a bad thing, the following excerpt form their legal agreement ought to convince you once and for all: “IncrediMail is free to use any ideas, know-how, concepts or techniques you (...) post on the Service for any purpose, without any compensation to you or any other person.” Translation: This shouldn’t need a translation but y’all holler at me if you don’t understand the scary ramifications.

Back to the original question; I am sorry to say I don’t have an easy fix. I suggest you re-download Incredimail, install it fully then try to uninstall it the normal way. If that doesn't work, try your "System Restore" function built in to Windows XP in an attempt to restore your system to a previous date before you installed IncrediMail.

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