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Solved: Zone Alarm Product Line and it's User Forum

Discussion in 'Tech Tips and Reviews' started by escalader, Feb 6, 2007.

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Evaluate your experience in the Zone Alarm User Forum

  1. Solved the problem/issue

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  2. Some Advice was good

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  3. Tried to help, but failed

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  4. No Responses received

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  5. My Problem was made worse, unsolved

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  1. escalader

    escalader Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2007
    Messages:
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    Does anybody here have comments and actual experience good or bad with:

    1) The products themselves? which ones? give examples please
    2) The level and quality of support from the User Forum? give examples please
    3) The level and quality of support from firms Technical Support group? give examples please

    Regards to all
     
  2. Larrylesq

    Larrylesq

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2007
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    0
    To all:

    I used ZA Security Suite - and was a loyal customer for about 7 years. Recently, I had a issue with a product that they sold to me (System Mechanic) & a problem with their new version 7 of their Security Suite.

    The System Mechanic messed up my system. After getting my money back & clearing up the problems that it caused, by reformatting & reinstalling everything, I upgraded to their new Security Suite ver.7. I had tons of install issues w/ the new version. (ver. 6.5 installs nicely btw) Once I got the computer to boot I discovered that ver. 7 disables Windows Security Warnings/Notices. Plus, it was a drag on the CPU running about 10% increase over the previous ver. 6-6.5.

    So I posted on their forum for assistance - and like so many others - I noted my displeasure & overall frustrations with the new version & the System Mechanic. Another user (an advanced user) was very kind to provide assistance to me. However, I couldn't communicate back with the user because I was quickly banned from the ZA User Forum for conveying my frustration (which was polite compared to the other postings). I later found out by e-mail that the advanced user that was offering me the much needed assistance was also banned. Its kind of interesting that some users only post once or twice on the site & are never heard from again - its apparently because Zonelabs censors users & their views by quickly banning them from the site w/o a valid reason or w/o warning.

    So all of this got my attorney feathers up in a bunch and I called Zonelabs customer service & demanded that they either provide proof of me violating the forum rules or lift the ban. A week later they lifted the ban - but I recently found out that they did not lift the ban on the kind soul (escalader) that was generously trying to help me.

    I have since removed all ZA products from my firms computers. I just can't stand censorship. It's too bad that Zonelabs (I guess under new ownership) is taking such an abrasive attitude toward its customers and are releasing product versions that pale in comparison to their previous product versions - to say nothing about the other competing Security Suites that are available to the public. And, here I used to be a huge champion of Zonelabs - even going as far as recommending their products to other law firms in my state via the state bar association.

    Bottom Line: To me Zonelabs behavior smacks of consumer disrespect and is ultimately short-sighted. So in the end for me removing their product is a matter of principle along with my general dislike for corporate arrogance. One dollar - one vote (as someone famous once said). This does not mean that I suggest others do the same - it just means that my personal choice from my personal experience was to end my (and my law firm's) consumer relationship with Zonelabs.

    My product experience was that version 6 & 6.5 are good - but have a weak virus scan. Version 7 pales by comparison - that is: if you can get your computer to boot properly after install. Then it uses more CPU & disables Windows notices. On the bright side, version 7 has Kasperski antivirus which is a great addition - but the other disappointing aspects of the version doesn't make the upgrade worthwhile. Also, apparently Zonelabs does not subject its firewall to independent testing or certification (ICSA or W.C.L) while other competing companies do. See: http://internet-security-suite-review.toptenreviews.com/

    Thanks go to escalader for making the effort to form a ZoneAlarm thread that encourages open & honest product dialog without the prospect of censorship from the small minded. As usual he is a huge help to all.

    I hope this helps.

    Larrylesq
     
  3. Larrylesq

    Larrylesq

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2007
    Messages:
    0
    :mad:I just came across a user review posting on Cnet that I found very disturbing that would likely be very helpful here. It reads as follows:

    ZoneAlarm Security Suite 6.5:

    "Improvement Needed"
    by w chester (see profile) - February 10, 2007

    Full user opinion
    I had been using Norton Internet Security 2003 without any problems whatsoever and decided I should upgrade to a current version of internet security because of newer security threats (e.g., rootkits). I changed to Zone Alarm Internet Security Suite 6.5 because of the recommendations on CNET, Windowssecrets, etc.

    Zone Alarm (ZA) doesn't tell you that it writes multiple files to the C:\WINNT\Internet Logs directory. These files are continually added to by ZA and quickly become very large (i.e., many MBs). I stumbled upon this phenomenon because I noticed the free space on my hard disk kept decreasing day after day. After a rigorous search of my C: drive, I found the culprit.

    This problem is also thoroughly discussed in the ZA User forum. And many unsuspecting users have expressed their frustration over having their hard disk space cannibalized. These files can be deleted from the Internet Logs directory only by booting into safe mode. Another problem is that the storage space used by System Restore is also consumed because these files are backed up when a restore point is created. Therefore, the registry must be edited to keep these files from being included when System Restore creates a restore point.

    I should have stayed with Norton Internet Security.

    http://reviews.cnet.com/ZoneAlarm_I...ID=7&messageID=2372739&cval=2372739&tag=uolst
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Boy, I'm really glad I removed it from my systems now as I was always wondering why HD space would get eaten up over time.

    I hope this helps

    Larrylesq
     
  4. escalader

    escalader Thread Starter

    Joined:
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    Messages:
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  5. Larrylesq

    Larrylesq

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2007
    Messages:
    0
    Escalader: Thanks for the link to the ver 7 reviews. You are right, the reviews do speak for themselves.

    But, you know, one thing that I have noticed on Cnet when they review Zonelab products is that the Editor review scores track much higher than the customer/user reviews - usually by two or more points. Editor reviews are usually in the 8 range (getting the Editor's Choice Award) but user reviews are in the 6 point range with mixed experiences.

    To me, user reviews seem much more meaningful than that of an Editor from a site that receives advertising dollars from the corporation that it is reviewing. I may be wrong here, but it seems to me that the product is developed for the "typical" user and that their experiences (good or bad) are the ones that people should pay attention to.

    Is there something about the value of "Editor" reviews that I might be missing?

    Larrylesq
     
  6. Larrylesq

    Larrylesq

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2007
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    0
    In the interests of being fair to Zonelabs I feel compelled to post the following update:

    I was reading about ZA Security Suite version 7 on the ZA User Forum (no longer banned) to make sure that I wasn't missing something about my recent comments or review. I take the responsibility for my comments seriously as other people may rely upon them (& others') in making purchasing decisions.

    I discovered in my research that other people are having problems with Version 7 & that these install, system resource, and critical error lock problems are likely attributable to a conflict with the very popular Spyware Sweeper program. As I also use this product & experienced the same issues with ZA SS version 7, I feel compelled to post this follow-up as a possible explanation for the product issues that I experienced.

    It doesn't change my mind about Zonelabs corporate behavior toward its customers, but it does offer an explanation for the problems that I (and apparently a lot of others) experienced. I'm kind of curious though, that since Spyware Sweeper is so popular, why Zonelabs didn't work around the conflict before releasing it to the public?

    Bottom line: Zonelabs should have developed a work around for the conflict & other issues (like Windows security notice disabling) before releasing it to the public. Further, the lack of independent third party testing & certification is also a major issue - and may have prevented the problems described above.

    Anyway, I hope this helps and provides clarification.

    Larrylesq
     
  7. escalader

    escalader Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2007
    Messages:
    123
    Larry:
    I know zero about how the editor evaluates products.

    Understand the point on advertising $ but won't assume that it impacts his/her ratings.

    Like you I tend to favor user comments on all products. One can go paranoid on all this stuff about $ influences, I try to give the benefit of the doubt until proven to the contrary then... stand back! Ha

    On Spysweeper yes, I hear it doesn't play well with their ZA Suite or for that matter Vista.
    Can't grasp not being ready for Vista it's been in beta a long long time! SpySweeper just overcame a major glitch of their own.

    Take it easy! I continue my work and will report in later via a PM
     
  8. Larrylesq

    Larrylesq

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2007
    Messages:
    0
    Oh yes - I definitely hear you. I didn't mean to suggest that Cnet was biased by $$. I only meant to suggest that it may be possibly influenced by it and that overall user experiences seem to be much more valuable - at the very least from a statistical point of view anyway.

    Aside from the obvious randomness issues associated with uncontrolled online sampling, a sample of a hundred users is much more statistically significant than a sample of one. This is why I acknowledge & accept that my personal views & experiences may not be representative of the whole and thus would never chastise, censure, or chill another person's views on the subject even if I disagree. (Dare I mention recent experiences in the ZA User Forum :eek:)

    On the Version 7 issue I guess it involves the use of a third party developer by Spyware Sweeper (& System Mechanic too - as it presented similar issues). Like you, I just can't fathom the issue with Vista - simply no excuse for it.

    I'll shut up for now - I think I've run the gamut on what I have to offer on the subject for now. I'll let others begin to contribute to the discussion.

    As always - thanks Escalader for your assistance and thoughtful viewpoints.

    Larrylesq
     
  9. escalader

    escalader Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2007
    Messages:
    123
    Larry:
    I agree completely, with your view on the $. It was clear to me that it may be a factor and of course S tends to talk don't they!

    Where you could help is if you dare, invite your contacts in this forum and other forums you can still post in to visit here and respond to the ZA Poll. 2 of us is a poor sample size but very few find it 4 levels down the chain.
     
  10. gara56

    gara56

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2007
    Messages:
    0
    Larrylesq,
    I just got banned from ZA Forums as well. I have no clue why they did it but I sent an email to ZA Forums moderator and ZA Customer service. I agree with what you said. I can't afford to put my users at risk because a company doesn't like to receive negative feedback about their products or inability to keep up with technology (i.e., Vista). We're slow about implementing new technologies in the Department of Defense because of certain security requirements--but software companies like ZA and others are looked at as being at the forefront of new technologies--or at least I thought so. I'll let you know what I get back. I have four licenses with them but I might move my business elsewhere and make sure our organization is warned about their business practices. :(

    Glenn
     
  11. Larrylesq

    Larrylesq

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2007
    Messages:
    0
    Dear Gara56:

    I am so sorry to hear that you were banned from the ZoneAlarm User Forum site. This is not a unique experience with ZA customers seeking assistance. So don't feel bad about it. The ZA User Forum has "gurus" or so called "experts" that don't like it when somebody disagrees with them. As punishment for disagreeing with them - they will have the forum moderator ban or restrict your access to the site.

    The problem is that these "gurus" aren't really experts. They are persons appointed by the moderator to assist the moderation of certain threads in the user forum. They think that they are experts and coincidently think that they know it all - when in fact they don't. When somebody points this out by disagreeing with them they act childish (as if they don't have better things to do in their lives) by banning you from the site.

    But what they don't realize is that:

    1) product complaints or issues posted by consumers go a long way in informing ZA programmers so that they can release better product versions in the future,

    2) that without this feedback they are shooting themselves in the foot, and

    3) by banning customers that express their frustrations or disagreement they are sending a message, not only to that customer but to other potential customers, that they are a company that lacks any respect for consumers.

    One dollar - one vote. And like you, I have chosen to vote for a different security software company. :)

    With Respect,

    Larrylesq
     
  12. gara56

    gara56

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2007
    Messages:
    0
    Larry,
    Just wanted to include the emails that I sent to them and received. The initial email is at the bottom. Notice the wording they used. Obviously, they didn't have anything on my posts so they used the excuse that people were complaining. What's unfortunate is that they just can't handle light criticism. Too bad. I'm now looking for another application that will protect my Vista x64 machine and other three XP machines. I really had high hopes but I guess it wasn't meant to be.

    Regards,
    Glenn
    -------------------------------------------
    From: gara56
    Sent: Friday, March 09, 2007 11:36 AM
    To: Forum-Moderator
    Cc: [email protected]
    Subject: RE: Removal from ZoneAlarm Forum (ltcolglennr)

    Sir,
    Thank you for taking the time to respond. I believe your use of the term "bashing" is serious compaired to the term I used "getting its act together." If you reviewed every one of my posts in your forum--I provided people with feedback on how to install ZA Pro on a machine that has another firewall/antivirus program. Obviously that doesn't count nor the fact that I informed several people on your forum that I went from using Norton (on 4 machines) to your product without any problems. I also included a link from Checkpoint's media services showing that obviously the company trying to work on a Vista solution. The fact that the forum itself didn't provide that information was unfortunate. If the fact that I said that Checkpoint is concerned about making sure its latest version works for current users first instead of Vista users--and they are complaining--then you have every right to ban me and I should probably not even bother asking for reinstatement. I know by reading your forum that there are a lot of XP users who are very concerned about ZA Pro Ver 7 and the last thing they want to hear is someone like me (using Vista and XP) pushing for answers for Vista. I would probably do the same--complain about that person. Just tell me that I used foul language and you can ban me forever. I'll completely understand the move and search other sources for information. I'll recommend to our perspect buyers/users to look elsewhere. That's the nice thing about my work--we get to go online and evaluate companies, test/evaluate their technologies and report back to fellow IT colleagues. This experience has allowed me evaluate part of Checkpoint's processes as well as some of its other support structures (i.e., like the forum).

    Thanks again for taking the time to respond.

    Regards,

    LtCol G.R.
    -------------------------------------------
    Subject: RE: Removal from ZoneAlarm Forum (ltcolglennr)
    Date: Fri, 9 Mar 2007 08:08:15 -0800
    From: [email protected]
    To: gara56

    Hi,
    I am showing a note on the ban - "Using other firewall just bashing us
    for no Vista product". That means that several users reported complaints
    about your posts. If you agree to follow the ToS and User Guidelines, I
    can talk to the other moderator about lifting the ban. But if we need to
    ban a second time it WILL become permanent. Just let me know if you are
    willing to do that.

    Forum Moderator
    Marcus
    ________________________________

    From: gara56 [mailto:[email protected]]
    Sent: Thursday, March 08, 2007 4:56 PM
    To: Forum-Moderator
    Cc: [email protected]
    Subject: Removal from ZoneAlarm Forum (ltcolglennr)

    To whom it may concern,
    I find it interesting that your forum has decided to ban me from the
    site without any type of notification or reference to that part of the
    terms of service (customer agreement for the forum) that might have been
    violated. I currently have four licenses of ZoneAlarm Pro on my
    computers. I find it unfortunate that your censorship efforts make it
    difficult for customers to convey their concern/frustration on a product
    when little information is being provided and we're new to your product.
    As an 18-year network security professional and someone who evaluates
    future technologies for our organization-when we ban people from a
    network-it's because there was a clear violation of a Department of
    Defense regulation (like sending a piece of classified information over
    an unprotected network). I have to say that I'm somewhat disappointed
    with your decision to ban me even though I've only posted a few times.
    If this is what customers (potential customers) can expect-please let me
    know so I can let potential users know what they can expect when using
    your forum or for that matter your product. Thanks for your time.

    Regards,
    LtCol GR
    United States Air Force
     
  13. Larrylesq

    Larrylesq

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2007
    Messages:
    0
    Dear Glenn:

    Wow! These Zone Alarm people just don't know which side is up! I took a few moments to review your posts on the Zone Alarm User Forum (I am no longer banned as I caused Zonelabs CS tachycardia fits with my response).

    I have to say that the ones that I read were very helpful to other users (instructions given) and not very critical at all. Of course, they may have deleted the postings that they didn't like - especially regarding Vista incompatibility. But it is very clear from your posts, contrary to their responsive e-mail to you, that you do indeed use their product and are very familiar with it. Thus, they are liars! :(

    Zone Alarm being incompatible with MS Vista is astounding. Vista was available in beta for many, many months prior to its ultimate release in January. So, Zonelabs knew very well what they were dealing with long before Vista was released to the public. This is probably more reflective of Zonelabs' programming capabilities than anything else. After all, if they can't get it right for XP - how can they get it right for Vista?

    I just find it inconceivable that they would treat their customers this way by banning them & then lying about the reasons why in responsive e-mails. They think that chilling speech and viewpoints will create a positive corporate image? This is a non sequitur: does not follow, (absurdism).

    This behavior is very telling as well - only small minds engage in censorship. Thus, this small minded corporate behavior is very informative to us consumers insofar as their inability to provide adequate, trouble free products that are compatible with XP & Vista is concerned.

    I know that with your high degree of IT experience; working with the Air force as a Lt.Col. and the Department of Defense; that you are probably very aware of software alternatives, but the following link may be helpful to others that may be on a similar quest:

    http://internet-security-suite-review.toptenreviews.com/

    You will notice that Zone Alarm is not very well considered as they don't submit their products to Third-Party Independent Testing and Certification - where other, more notable companies do. This is also further evidence of Zonelabs' waning or declining programming abilities. (n)

    I hope this helps,

    With Respect,

    Larry

    PS: Thank you very much for your service to our country! (y)
     
  14. escalader

    escalader Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2007
    Messages:
    123
    Hello All and to you too Larry!:D

    ZA/Checkpoint forum business practices are mind boggling!

    Now they have banned an air force officer? I guess they don't want government business! Quite a price to pay for being thin skinned.

    Is there some way that all banned ZA users customers stories such as these can be posted in one place so searchers for information on their business practices and products can see it all in one place?

    What could be done is a new poll here asking "Have you been banned by ZA User Forum?"

    But what could the categories be other than yes or no? we would need to log the reasons given etc

    I don't want to build another poll myself, another person would be more effective
     
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