back to article AVG stung as search revenue from freebie scanners dries up

Security software firm AVG net income has fallen from $24.7m in Q2 2013 to $13.7mn in Q2 2014, according to financial results out Wednesday. The profits slide is explained by the slip in revenue from $100.4m in Q2 2013 to $88m in the three months running up to 30 June 2014. AVG responded to the results by revising its outlook …

  1. PCS

    "AVG - which is best known fro its freebie security scanner software - boasts 182 million active users and 85 million mobile users."

    Hang on, I'll just correct that sentence for you.

    "AVG - which is best known fro its freebie security scanner software - boasts 182 million foolish users and 85 million mobile foolish users."

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Hang on, I'll just correct that sentence for you.

      I was sort of expecting you to correct the "fro" in the sentence...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I was sort of expecting you to correct the "fro" in the sentence...

        Don't mess with my 'fro

      2. jelabarre59

        Re: Hang on, I'll just correct that sentence for you.

        You mess with the 'fro, you gotta go.... Undercover Brother

    2. Inventor of the Marmite Laser Silver badge

      "AVG - which is best known fro its freebie security scanner software - "

      "AVG - which is best known fro its freebie security scanner software - and attendant "Optional" irrelevant parasiteware -"

      More fixes

  2. James 51

    There was a time when AVG was the freebie scanner to have. Unfortunately when I hear non-tech users talk about it now it's because they are confused about popups it is generating.

    1. Lee D Silver badge

      - Build excellent product.

      - Give away for free.

      - Become the "de facto" tool that experts recommend. Get thousands of subscribers just from the quality of your free tool.

      - Wait a year.

      - Spam the hell out of your users, force upgrades to ad-filled versions, bundle spyware, try to trick them into installing the pay-for version, hide the free version on your site so deep that the experts have to dig it out for users.

      If this was Slashdot, I'd add...

      - ????

      - Profit.

      But, as noted above, all that happens is people soon forget about you and say "Ah, yeah, AVG. Was great until they bogged it down in junk."

      1. regadpellagru

        And you forgot one of the worst aspects: false positives on Win XP core libraries !

        Geez, how much time this costed me for local neighbours that failed the "fix/ignore" button !

        1. auburnman

          Was it AVG or Norton that brought XP based businesses to a standstill a few years back with an update that quarantined a critical OS file and locked you into nonstop reboots? I'd thank them for the half day if it had struck a little earlier than quarter past four.

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Tezla P

        Avast doing an AVG?

        @Lee D

        I used to use AVG donkeys years ago until they started going the crapify route, and I've been using Avast for the past few years but they've been going the annoying popup sales route these past few months. So last week I bit the bullet and went with Comodo anti virus alongside their firewall I'd been using for years, which unfortunately decided to nuke all my firewall rules when it installed its combo version but other than that it's been fine. I wonder if I'll have to do this all again in a few years time, I hope not though.

      3. Belardi


        Use the downloader... it installs software without the ad-ware add-ons.

        What bugs me now are the Register ViDEO ADs!! They won't bloody shut up! Really fun when a browser has 3-5 tabs on your site and on top of that - each page has TWO Videos ads?!

        Lets see $35 a year or when I install, I click OFF the option to install add-ins... not hard.

    2. NightFox

      So if they were making more revenue from ad income from their trial version than they were from users who then take out a paid subscription, why not focus on the ad-supported model instead of hiding it and trying to push users to subscribe?

    3. MyffyW Silver badge

      AVG just not very good

      I stopped advising people to use AVG around 2008 after a malware incident it failed to spot. I installed Sophos which cleaned everything up nicely.

  3. Christopher Lane

    I feel a vote coming on...

    @PCS, what isn't the foolish option then?

    Hands up everyone else for your most loved and most hated AV, paid or unpaid. And whilst we're at lets talk enterprise too to protect Exchange et al.

    To summarise: -

    What would you advise your Grandmother to use?

    What wouldn't you advise your Grandmother to use?

    What's you AV de choix for Enterprise?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I feel a vote coming on...

      > What would you advise your Grandmother to use?

      Knitting needles

      > What wouldn't you advise your Grandmother to use?

      Any form of computer

      > What's you AV de choix for Enterprise?

      Does the starship need any antivirus? (NCC-1701)

      1. VinceH

        Re: I feel a vote coming on...

        "Does the starship need any antivirus? (NCC-1701)"

        ISTR an episode of TNG in which NCC-1701D's computer was exposed to a virus (which had already led to another starship being destroyed), so I think it probably does.

        1. Chris King

          Re: I feel a vote coming on...

          It's more serious for a starship - you get pop-ups on your screens, they get exploding consoles.

        2. stephajn

          Re: I feel a vote coming on...


          Thumbs up for the awesome TNG reference!

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: I feel a vote coming on...

      I would say Avast for granny but lately that's been getting spammy and confusing to novice users.

      Wouldn't advise AVG for anyone.

      For enterprise, Sophos or F-Secure. Neither of which have free versions, oddly enough.

      1. AndrueC Silver badge

        Re: I feel a vote coming on...

        I would say Avast for granny but lately that's been getting spammy and confusing to novice users.

        Yes, it has. I use that on one of my home machines and am getting fed up of it offering me various products. I'd remove it except that I hardly ever use it and as you ask - what do I replace it with?

    3. Stuart 22

      Re: I feel a vote coming on...

      Q. What would you advise your Grandmother to use?

      A. Linux - probably ChromeOS

      Q. What wouldn't you advise your Grandmother to use?

      A. Anything from MS. I might have suggested MS Essentials until they left XP people high and dry.

      1. future research

        Re: I feel a vote coming on...

        " I might have suggested MS Essentials until they left XP people high and dry."

        Damn, going to have to move my sister of XP now, but it was going to be happening soon anyway. She decided it was about time for a new laptop.

    4. Alan Edwards

      Re: I feel a vote coming on...

      I'm using AVG at the moment, but I'm open to suggestions for anything better.

      I had AdAware for a while, but got sick of the free licence expiring every few weeks. MS Security Essentials was before that, but that seems to be nearly useless these days.

      The work machine has McAfee, which is not brilliant IMO. Gets the job done I suppose, but slowly, and mcshield.exe regularly pegs the CPU.

    5. future research

      Re: I feel a vote coming on...

      What would you advise your Grandmother to use?

      Microsoft security essentials, can tell people about it over the phone and they can google for it themselves and manage to find the correct free one to install with problem just clicking next. Used to recommend AVG until Io struggled to find the free one myself hidden on their website.

      What wouldn't you advise your Grandmother to use?

      Most of the ones that pretend to be free, plus norton & mcafee.

      What's you AV de choix for Enterprise?


    6. PCS

      Re: I feel a vote coming on...

      What would you advise your Grandmother to use?

      BitDefender Free Edition

      What wouldn't you advise your Grandmother to use?

      AVAST, AVG, McAfee

      What's you AV de choix for Enterprise?

      Emsisoft Anti-Malware for Server

      1. Christopher Lane

        Re: I feel a vote coming on...

        Hmmm...interesting so far. Not one mention of Trend WFBS (Advanced) which I have inherited at my employ, and where's Sophos? Only two mentions. It all seems very varied. 10-15 years ago Enterprise would have been Norton or Sophos and that was the de facto standard. Now there doesn't appear to be one stand out product.

        1. Don Jefe

          Re: I feel a vote coming on...

          My Granny uses a mixture of exotic chemicals, fetal stem cells and witchcraft for anti-virus protection and, apparently, immortality.

          For enterprise use I recommend a systems security chief with the ability to develop and enforce business friendly security policies and communicate the importance of good security practices to staff. If that person can't control the staff and manage pushy executives without the pushy executives knowing they are being managed they aren't ready to be selecting enterprise security products. If that person can do those things it doesn't matter what security product they choose, as long as they make it work.

          System security is a staffing issue, not a technical issue. The only way to resolve staffing issues with technical measures is illegal almost everywhere and always results in carpet having to be replaced and walls painted.

    7. captain veg Silver badge

      What would you advise your Grandmother to use?

      A tablet.


      1. Captain Scarlet

        Re: What would you advise your Grandmother to use?

        For myself I've come to the conclusion free AV's just aren't worth it.

        I currently have Eset security suite on my parents computers and sisters which I renew yearly and do as part of their Christmas presents. The only issue tends to be renewal costs always cost more than buying from new and for more than 4 devices I am forced to go for a small business edition (Which is £20 more per machine, so at the moment I have a separate license for myself).

        Of course you can use whichever AV you like, Eset means the username and password needs to be set and that's it unlike other renewals from other popular AV suites which require a new cd key. I've seen the cloud product from Symantec and although looked interesting is only really for businesses.

        Yes it costs money but means less spam (AVG being one which confused family members whenever they released a new version).

        1. Irongut

          @ Captain Scarlet Re: What would you advise your Grandmother to use?

          Whoever you're buying Eset from is ripping you off. I buy the small business edition for work and they charge us about £6 per machine. Admittedly I do buy 40 copies and renew for 3 years but still that's one hell of a price difference.

    8. Bloakey1

      Re: I feel a vote coming on...

      I would tell Granny to use contraceptives and also to use Avast as a freebie.

      I would advise granny to steer clear of fiberglass sanitary towels, Norton, McAfee and AVG.

      Enterprise would be Sophos at the moment as that couls change at end times as is always the case.

  4. Lionel Baden

    I stopped recommending AVG

    When the core size of the program became larger than a standard windows installation !!!

    Seriously AVG all i wanted was AV, hence why i now use Security essentials. Unobtrusive and quiet, and halfway decent detection rate. I would even pay for that product !!!

    Left BD due to product bloat as well :( which I did pay for.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I stopped recommending AVG

      Security Essentials seems to be a rare occasion of Microsoft getting something right.

      Of course at some point in the future they'll wreck it so you can only use it by communicating with it via inteprative dance or something. Usual stuff.

      1. Lionel Baden

        Re: I stopped recommending AVG

        I'm Just dreading the first step on the road to destruction for a AV solution,

        "We can scan your emails !!!!!!"

        That sentence is the death knell for any AV solution as they decide to branch out.

    2. Crazy Operations Guy

      Re: I stopped recommending AVG

      I tend to recommend MS-SE for the fact that it gets updates through Windows Update. I've found that the fewer things that need to be done to update a machine, the more likely the machine will stay healthy and protected.

  5. Mark Allen

    Ad revenue down?

    That annoying toolbar that AVG install was one of the (many) reasons I stopped using it with my clients. Even the paid for edition did not let you control the tracking in the bar.

    Is there any coincidence that sites like disable this toolbar in their installers? (And we'll quietly not mention the security bugs found with this toolbar...)

    Over the past years AVG seems to have been heading the route of bloatware like Norton. Adding in more and more "features" which then bring the older PCs to a crawl. For some reason, AVG don't get their head around the fact that people who are using "free" anti-virus tend to have old, slow, underpowered PCs. AVG only makes these worse.

    Funniest thing I have seen AVG do in the past couple of years? Their "PC Tuneup" product that they try and sell did a "tuneup" on one of my client's PCs. It correctly identified what was slowing the PC down badly and disabled it. Yes - you have guessed right - the Tuneup software disabled AVG!!

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Toolbar install

    Their nagging and toolbar install was annoying (not that I would install it but I would come across PC's with it on).

    However the arrival of Windows Security Essentials was the nail in the coffin. It renders AVG pointless.

    1. AndrueC Silver badge

      Re: Toolbar install

      However the arrival of Windows Security Essentials was the nail in the coffin. It renders AVG pointless.

      I thought MSE had been shown to be the worst AV of the lot?

      1. Christopher Lane

        Re: Toolbar install

        In my experience, McAfee would at the bottom of the list. If I have ever had to visit an ailing machine, it's nearly always been running McAfee.

      2. jason 7

        Re: Toolbar install

        Not so much. MS has recently said that MSE due to it being installed as standard on 8/8.1 and lots of other Windows boxes that in effect it has to be the 'baseline level' of security. That vendors of other products should be striving to produce software that gives higher levels of security.

        Basically - MSE - It will cover the major nasty stuff out there but as its the most popular, its the level to beat. Nature of the beast. It's a good product but as it's so common it's going to be the one that sets the standard.

        Amazing really that all it would take is someone to come up with a simple AV product that behaves to the user in a similar manner to MSE but with even higher protection and costs say £10 a year.

        Instead they all offer over complex and troublesome suites that cost far more but actually offers less to the customer.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Toolbar install

          Have a look at Eset's Anti-Virus. That is just anti-virus. Nothing else. No extra gimmicks and toys. (They are reserved for the full Smart Security product).

          As a bonus, Eset's AV seems to have a better clearup rate on those dodgy bits of malware than many other products I deal with. It is pretty aggressive on the Snake Oil software that claims to make your computer faster, etc.

          Last night I had to laugh when an Apple client of mine called me up. He had a snake oil infection. A pack of scam products (MacKeeper, Conduit, VSearch) had got onto his Mac. He claimed by "accidentally clicking something". The worrying part was how hopeless the Apple Support guys were - all they could do was advise "Bit Defender" which was pretty hopeless. (I don't want to sound like a broken advert, but you can guess what I used to do the final clear-up on that Mac)

          1. jason 7

            Re: Toolbar install

            And if they were selling it for say £10-£15 a year I'd be there but £60? Hmmmmm.


            1. jason 7

              Re: Toolbar install

              Actually issue with the webpage updating. It's £30. Better!

  7. Craigie

    AVG? Pfft

    That's long-since been discarded as spamware/scareware. MSE all the way.

  8. Paceman

    Like many others I gave up on AVG years ago, due to bloat and the adverse performance impact it was having on my PC. I've tried Avast and ZoneAlarm both were much better. I'm pretty happy with ZoneAlarm for the time being.

    1. Lee D Silver badge

      Just to add my two-penneth...

      Comodo I find pretty good, the free and commercial versions. Of course, there's an option or two you have to turn off but that's par for the course nowadays.

      1. Boothy

        I'm a recent switcher from Avast to Comodo. Got fed up of the seemingly constant Avast popups that couldn't be disabled.

        I was going to use AVG, but after reading a few current reviews, seems it had the same type of annoying user issues as Avast!

        As you mention, you have to watch the installer for Comodo (as you do with everything these days!), and switch a few things off, (I always take the Advance install option for everything anyway), but otherwise it's been quite good so far, and a lot less intrusive than Avast.

        1. Steven Roper

          I run Avast on my home PC and there is a simple way to stop the popup spam: set it to Silent/Gaming mode and leave it there. I've never seen a single advert or popup except for the once-a-year "you need to re-register" thing, at which point you just confirm your email address on the form and forget about it for another year.

  9. captain veg Silver badge

    muppet show

    My favourite anti-virus strategy is "not being a muppet". Don't run software whose provenance is unknown, don't click on random hyperlinks, disable autorun and the fetching of external embeds in emails, etc. This has the advantage of being very efficient in terms of machine resources and does not require regular updates.

    Sadly it seems to be beyond most non-technical types, and a good few techies too.

    Alas, for work purposes Windows with an "approved" AV is required to connect to the VPN. To my surprise, does the job while being fairly lightweight.


    1. captain veg Silver badge

      Re: muppet show

      Insert "MSE" after the comma in the last sentence.



    2. IHateWearingATie

      Re: muppet show

      Impressive. Someone who never ever makes mistakes. I take my hat off to you - clearly a new step on the evolutionary ladder.

      Meanwhile, for the rest of us some kind of AV is a pretty good idea - I still use AVG as its nagware doesn't annoy me too much. i think I've now worked out where the controls to switch off almost all of the nagging, that stupid tool bar and the AVG search home page it keeps trying to make me use.

    3. auburnman

      Re: muppet show

      Everyone has off days, even when something dodgy has wound up in your downloads folder and you're trying to get rid of it, the delete and return keys are only half an inch apart

  10. Vince

    I'd like AVG more if they stopped trying (very very aggressively) to push "cloud care" when actually I don't want that, at all. Never. Ever.

  11. Oh Bother

    What app to use?

    After reading this:

    I'd not really advise anyone anymore.

    The presentation slides are worth a skim.

    1. enerider

      Re: What app to use?

      I had a read of the slides, and agree wholeheartedly.

      Although I'm not sure if chucking the AV off a system is throwing the baby out with the bathwater, I'm rather perplexed by the relative lack of security-minded programming in what is sold as a security product.

      Some method of sandboxing really is required.

      ESET and Malwarebytes were my usual toolkit for rooting out infections on Windows machines, with MSE being the backstop for those who didn't feel like shelling out for an AV. After that point, CCleaner and Defraggler were used to get rid of any toolbars and other cruft that could bog down a system.

      For ESET the slides would seem to indicate failings in the engine which were promptly fixed once discovered.

      Not using Windows myself at home, but I am using my ESET licence for the remainder of its life. :-)

  12. MooJohn

    Stop clicking "next"

    Don't ever do a default install, especially of a free product! All you have to do is un-check the options you don't want, like the toolbar, and there will be no popup ads or search data to be sold.

    AVG works fine for a free product. Sure, the attempts to get you to move to the paid version (even the free trial) are a pain when you just want the free product. No AV catches everything. Any decent malware author tests their new creation against all the main scanners before releasing it.

    There's no AV company that hasn't had bad definitions bork a system file. There isn't an AV, free or paid, that I haven't seen "protecting" a horribly infected machine. They are just one tool, not a total immunization!

  13. Cipher

    For my Windows machines I use MSE, Malwarebytes active, and do weekly passive scans with a few products. I have SpywareBlaster installed for a bit more passive protection. is good to evaluate websites and software before installing as well...

    It is my experience that most users self-inflict the damage they see via P2P/pron/to good to be true offers, there is no substitute for good comon sense...

  14. Terry 6 Silver badge


    I'm not seeing any of these nasties.There is a rectangular advert on the page on the few occasions when I need or choose to look at the programme. But it's not intrusive.

    I switched one machine to AVG after it stopped auto-updating Avast ( I couldn't work out why).

    But I have no toolbars/popups/adverts and wonder where they are.

    Where it is a pain is at boot time. It does delay things. Maybe I'll give Essentials a whirl.

    Or one of the others suggested here.

    If Avast starts annoying us I'll switch more machines, maybe even to AVG.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: AVG?

      Same for me. Apart from the occasional pop up which is quickly closed I've never had a toolbar install etc.

      I know they hide the free version on their site but I don't mind a little hunt if I'm not paying for it. It does confuse my parents every year when it wants to install the new version but they just ignore it and ask me when I'm there.

  15. exanime


    Honestly... I would advise my grandma to switch to Linux... actually if I got it onto her desktop/laptop with one of the more user friendly distros (KDE, LXDE, Cinnamon)... and setup a few defaults and shortcuts she probably wouldn't tell the difference... except for it being faster and hassle free ;-)

    1. Cipher

      Re: Linux

      Absolutely agree. A good hosts file, a distro like Mint, and Grandma should be good to go.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    If you must use windows try clamwin. Free open source does the job.

  17. TimChuma

    So that's why

    It was reporting AdBlock Plus libraries as a virus positive, it is cutting into their revenue stream.

    My computer has been getting very slow lately with Chrome especially.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The New Normal...

    First the Symantec Norton CEO goes into a meltdown, then "14 antivirus apps found to have security problems".... Now this.. So what does it all mean?

    People are fed up to the teeth of reading about security scares and having to constantly patch. And patching is the new normal for software and the web. However the harsh truth is, the real problem is shitty software, shitty programming, shitty architecture, and rushing to market too early.

    My users feel companies have no right to be launching defective products on the unwitting consumer. After all, who wants to buy a washing machine that leaks every other patch Tuesday.... Or a car that reboots during driving on the highway. Or a pacemaker or critical medical device made from a software firm?

    If hardware firms aren't allow to get away with this, why should software firms escape end-user wrath? But instead they always get away with pushing the workload and diligence onto the consumer...

  19. JCitizen

    Friends don't let friends do AVG..

    Everyone of my clients that went to AVG against my advice got a hosed computer! Avast has never let me down - I don't get that many popups, but after all you can adjust the alert level to reduce that. If you going to be a freetard, you got to expect some small discomfort. My clients are too indigent to pay for AV.

    One of the worst computers I ever worked on was one that had Microsoft Security Essentials on board - had his MalwareBytes-Anti-Malware not expired, he wouldn't have had a hosed machine! Anyone who runs as administrator all the time is just asking for trouble!

  20. Paratt
    Thumb Up


    Has no one ever heard of Avira Anti-Vir!?! ☆I've used the Free version 4 almost 5 years & I've never had any problems w/Avira products!?! ☆Their products & support is superior 2 others I've used in the past, IMHO!?! ☆I'm Not A Employee or Agent 4 Avira, Just A Home User in Canada.....♡

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