Sigh. One of my favorite add-ons for Safari, Inquisitor, has unfortunately been removed from my computer.
As reported by TUAW, Inquisitor alters search results to insert the developers affiliate links higher up in the rankings. According to the developer, the affiliate links will gradually move further down the results the more you search for a term and do not click on the links (thus “learning” that you don’t want those links in your search results).
The issue most people seem to be having is that this wasn’t disclosed up front. I have to admit it’s a clever form of displaying advertisements, but I just can’t keep using the app when something as major as altering search results wasn’t disclosed…making me wonder what else wasn’t disclosed.
I, along with every other rational person, understands that bills have to be paid and that some compensation for the developer is a good thing, but transparency in the software business is a necessity if you want people to keep using your apps. Simple as that. People want to know if you’re altering their experience, and yes, altering search results is most certainly altering a users experience without their knowledge.
UPDATE: David was kind enough to drop in and he was correct in pointing out that I left out a link to his response. My mistake. I apologize. Here’s the link to his response about all of this. I would love for David to show where this has been “public knowledge” (implying that this info was easily accessible and known by most people who used the app) before all of this hoopla.