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We're investigating. It will take at least a couple days, because we'll need to meet with the founders in person.

FWIW, the install window Patrick overlaid on top of InstallMonetizer's site in that screenshot is not actually InstallMonetizer.

But the Babylon installer is from one of IM's advertizers, so it is possibly indicative of the types of pages that IM inserts in other installers. If nothing else, the poor reputation of Babylon is indicative of the types of software that IM wants to co-install.

In the end, we don't have much information about what IM adds to installers--I suppose they don't want it too well known. We'd need to find an app that uses their installer to get a screenshot of it. Their website does give us some clues: one image shows an offer that is made to look like a license agreement, thus duping people into clicking Agree. Another clue is how they repeat that they "manage all optimization and conversion to ensure highest earnings," which I take to mean their wording and choices are designed to trick people into installing items they didn't ask for.

PS: installmonetizer.com website is down for now

It is back up as of now: http://installmonetizer.com/

This is an important point, something that wasn't completely apparent from patio's screenshot. Babylon is a client of InstallMonetizer. Of course, if they were involved in creating that installer, then I'd say they are partially responsible.

Thanks for at least acknowledging the concerns raised here. That's all we can reasonably expect a responsible investor to say/do at this point.

FWIW, I pulled a shot of Babylon being offered through InstallMonetizer and it's almost identical. Sorry, but Patrick wins this round :)


In the screenshot of Patrick, Norton appears as another of the clients of InstallMonetizer.

Norton is well known to have a preinstalled version in new computers that it's almost impossible to uninstall. I don't have a screenshot, but there is one in these articles: http://www.zdnet.com/blog/bott/can-microsoft-cure-pc-makers-... http://hothardware.com/printarticle.aspx?articleid=1731

(Perhaps the version that they install trough InstallMonetizer is more user friendly, but I'm at least a little afraid to try it.)


I believe he means that he needs to discuss this issue in person and will need a physical meeting, not that he invested without meeting them.

Ah crap, parse error, missed "with".

Either way, strikes me as a dubious and reputationally dangerous model for YCombinator to get involved with.

YC funds enough founders now, with few enough partners, that it's entirely possible for someone to be doing something sneaky and YC wouldn't catch on right away.

Initially, YC just has the business model / product description statement from the founders, a video (do they still do that?), an MVP if one exists, and maybe a meeting with the founders.

The only way this could really negatively reflect on YC's integrity -- if that's up to us to judge anyway -- is if the accusations turn out to be true and YC either chooses not to investigate or chooses not to counsel the founders against doing something like this. (Remember, YC does not have a controlling interest in the teams.)

Since pg has said they're checking in to it, I don't think "YC is turning evil" is a reasonable narrative here.

Indeed - didn't say they were turning evil, just playing with fire!

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