As a non-pg entity, I feel vicarious indignation. Who are these random nobodies who think they're entitled to question how/where you spend your time and effort?
And the people who get up on their soapbox about the ethics of YC or how you've tacitly endorsed deceptive practices? Ugh... eff the eff off
EDIT: to head off the obvious criticism, yes I do think there are legitimate questions about IM's business model. My point is: show some humility and circumspection when asking them. Unless you've had to earn $1 directly from a customer (no boss managing and organizing your work) you're an outsider looking in at a completely different universe. Act accordingly.
The reason all the "random nobodies" are questioning IM's business model is that they have deep-seated feelings about the scammy business and the evilness of Windows installers. They spent hours cleaning up mountains of crap from their relatives' and friends' computers. They understand how non-tech users feel helpless in the face of sneaky bullshit artists piling that crap onto their hard drives, and they feel enraged when they think about it, and for a good reason too.
So in fact, nobody who's in business of building installers that distribute crap toolbars deserves humility and circumspection. They might possibly be that rare exception, a flower blooming on a dunghill, but asking sharp questions to establish that is neither impolite nor inappropriate. It comes with the territory they've chosen to grow on.
Your moral indignation is as laughable as it is corrupt. Just as much of it would be appropriate defending an actual spammer - I can see you directing people to get off their soapboxes and telling them they don't get to judge the spammer's business until they earned $1 from a customer. A "completely different universe" indeed. Get a clue.
In my case (by extension, my business), the appropriate units here would be "months" (assuming 720 hrs/month).
Yet I still don't see this as a YC issue, I don't see anything more justifiable than a quibble over PG's response to it, and I'm a little stunned at the vitriol here.
Still though, the response seems disproportionate. It's not like YC has recently developed a pattern of funding distasteful businesses (or teams); why did everyone automatically assume YC was behaving badly?
There still seems to be a problem in people jumping to conclusions before having enough information at hand. A lot of the comments on Aaron's case were symptomatic of this (the fallout too).
I'm not sure if this is a new problem here or not, but it seems to be getting a lot uglier recently.
Sure, there may be factors here we don't understand here but I think now would be an excellent time to unveil whatever grand plan they have to head off the PR shitstorm this is in the process of creating.
As I have mentioned elsewhere YC have gained significant nerd-cred which has no doubt been beneficial to them. This seems to be largely because they appear as a company that has strong driving principles about the sort of changes they want to see in the world.
No it doesn't mean that. What it means is that you, as a non-doctor, should excercise some discretion and humility wen choosing your words. Expressing harsh condemnation and judgment when you have a small piece of the picture is an unbelievable asshole move. None of these Tough Guys throwing around words like "crapware" and "spammer" would ever call anyone out like this in public, I guarantee it -- it's all keyboard courage and nerdrage.
This seems to be largely because they appear as a company that has strong driving principles about the sort of changes they want to see in the world.
IMO it's more due to the fact that YC asks for nerds to come as they are -- the entry process asks you how you're a hacker, and if you're selected you get an interview where pg wants you to geek out with him about your product. No flashy pitches or navigating social networks to get the right intro -- it's a process that cuts out all the BS that doesn't appeal to nerds.
The idea that there is some violated goodwill is just backwards rationalization. And it doesn't change my point, which is, essentially: who are you to question where YC invests?
A free man, in a free country, on a message forum where all are free to post their opinions?
Maybe the business shouldn't stay afloat, maybe it should wind itself down.
I say this as someone who was approached by InstallMonetizer in 2011/2012 to add IM to the installers of my Windows apps. I declined, of course, because I wouldn't want to trick my customers with the tactics that InstallMonetizer uses. Tricking customers with EULA-like 'offer screens' to install browser toolbars is wrong.
I would rather close down my business than treat my customers that way.