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Thread: Do NOT install Words with Friends (Installs Images in Your Gallery w/o Permission!)

  1. Master Droid
    Jer's Avatar
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    #1

    Do NOT install Words with Friends (Installs Images in Your Gallery w/o Permission!)

    A while back I installed this game on the advice of a buddy. What a fun game it ended up being. Then, some time after installing I had a random folder in my gallery with images from the movie Thor. After some digging I found it in a folder called millenniamedia and promptly deleted both of them. I didn't give it much thought because I thought maybe I accidentally downloaded it somehow while browsing although that doesn't seem like a mistake I would make. Then a short while later I notice not only is it back but I now have another folder with advertising crap from the TV show Sons of Guns. Now I know something is up and I narrowed it down to most likely being the app WwF since I don't have a lot of games installed nor to I play them very often but this was the latest one installed plus the most often I played a game. I deleted those only to find another one with Winnie the Pooh installed a while later. I wanted to get to the bottom of this because this IMO is some awfully shady marketing and if you want to have ads in the game (which it does) then fine, that's understandable to bring a free product to users. Even those can be overly obtrusive and make people to not want install/use their apps. To me there's a thin line and whoever has done this has crossed the line.

    To get to the bottom of this I Googled millennialmedia and came across this website discussing how to install the advertising into applications. I then took the apk of WwF from my /data/app folder and copied it to my PC to be able to poke around in it. I renamed the .apk file to a .rar and unzipped it to examine the files. After doing so I did a search for the MMAdView.jar file mentioned in the MM website and wouldn't ya know it... there it was! It was a file found in \res\values called: attrs.xml and had the following text:

    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8" ?>
    - <resources>
    - <declare-styleable name="MMAdView">
    <attr name="apid" format="string" />

    <attr name="acid" format="string" />

    <attr name="adType" format="string" />

    <attr name="refreshInterval" format="integer" />

    <attr name="accelerate" format="string" />

    <attr name="ignoreDensityScaling" format="string" />

    <attr name="age" format="string" />

    <attr name="gender" format="string" />

    <attr name="zip" format="string" />

    <attr name="income" format="string" />

    <attr name="keywords" format="string" />

    <attr name="ethnicity" format="string" />

    <attr name="orientation" format="string" />

    <attr name="marital" format="string" />

    <attr name="children" format="string" />

    <attr name="education" format="string" />

    <attr name="politics" format="string" />

    <attr name="goalId" format="string" />

    </declare-styleable>


    </resources>

    Right near the top. So I think it's safe to say that Words with Friends is the culprit and Zynga has made my boycott list as a result. I encourage everyone to do the same and spread the word because this sort of pervasive marketing should NOT be accepted by the end users. Keep in mind that devs will do whatever WE allow them to get away with. I used to love Angry Birds by Rovio until they blindsided users with updates that included pop-up video w/loud audio that is not only intrusive but even caused some devices to crash losing game progress.

    I pay for some apps and I don't pay for others. Not paying for an app doesn't mean that I want to relinquish all control of my device to an application developer and it's awfully arrogant of these unscrupulous developers to take it upon themselves to do so and I'm sure there are good devs out there that agree with me and feel this is something that gives a black eye to the entire dev community. If making money is the most important thing to you and you can't find a way to make some money with standard advertising then you need to find something else to do.

    I feel awful that several people installed this game after my recommendation and now have all sorts of garbage in their gallery they didn't put there and I shouldn't have these kinds of feelings about suggesting a friggin Android video game app.
  2. Master Droid
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    #2
    I have this game... no unwanted folders in my gallery or even on my SD card.

    Tappin and talkin on my DROIDX
    Hell on Heels
  3. Master Droid
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    #3
    Quote Originally Posted by debrad0307 View Post
    I have this game... no unwanted folders in my gallery or even on my SD card.

    Tappin and talkin on my DROIDX
    It seems to be hit or miss. One of my other friends says they don't have any either so I don't know what the variable is but they've clearly worked something out because it doesn't install deleted and new folders on any sort of predictable schedule either.
  4. Rescue Squad
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    #4
    Me neither... the free version has been installed on my phones for months, first my og droid, then my incredible, now my charge... never any foriegn pics, folders, apps, advertisements or the sort on my SD card or phone. Maybe it is some kind of malware or malicious adware.

    I would check to see if they show up again after a few days without WfW installed, and go from there.

    Sent from my SCH-I510 using DroidForums
  5. Senior Droid
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    #5
    I have this game as well and have no unwanted images
  6. Senior Droid
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    #6
    Thanks for researching and writing this up. I don't (yet) have mysterious folders with advertising images, but really really don't like the occasional video ad with loud audio while my fiancee is sleeping. I hope they do offer a paid version, but that doesn't seem to be Zynga's model. And as reluctant as I am to use anything with their name on it.. this one hooked me like crack... and I'm too deep

    There's got to be a way to strip out some of this stuff, no? I recently updated adblocker and it was successful in blocking ads for the first handful. But then reverted back. I don't know exactly how the hosts work, but I'll check the logcats and do a little research. Anyone else have ideas?

    I haven't tried Droidwall yet with WwF... but have a feeling it'll just disable the app (like Fruitninja).
    Circle me on Google+ : gplus.to/decalex


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  7. Senior Droid
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    #7

    Words with Friends - No Ads MOD

    Looks like someone has figured out how to remove the ads.
    He doesn't explain the method which he used to do it, so I'll look around in the apk before trying it out

    EDIT: only 4 relatively simple smali edits.. pretty cool

    I'll attach it here in case anyone wants to look (or if you aren't an xda member)

    Here's the post:
    [app] words with friends - xda-developers

    So far, it works great-- ads don't appear at all. All games are stored in your account (off phone), so you won't lose anything.
    Uninstall your current version first, then this one.

    Words With Friends - No Ads MOD
    Last edited by decalex; 07-23-2011 at 06:01 PM. Reason: Confirmed - works
    Circle me on Google+ : gplus.to/decalex


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  8. Senior Droid
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    #8
    Circle me on Google+ : gplus.to/decalex


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  9. Master Droid
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    #9
    Quote Originally Posted by decalex View Post
    Whoah! I clicked your link and while it may work that's WAY too many steps for something that can be done easier. Go to the millennialmedia folder using your favorite file explorer (EStrong File Explorer, Astro... etc) then create a new file with the menu option. Name it .nomedia just like that and for most devices this will cause the OS to not scan it for the Gallery. This doesn't stop it from downloading all the files it wants taking up your space but if you truly want to continue supporting Zynga and playing this is your best bet. For me it's more than this and I'm creating this thread more on principal than anything. It's just a damn word game and I can live w/o out. In fact there are several others just as popular and if this is Zynga's approach then they'll lose market share to the others until they're no more.

    The funny part is there's an update from MM now for devs that will make it so the advertising does NOT show up in end user's Gallery. Looks like Zynga may just lazy themselves out of a lot of followers/users.
  10. Senior Droid
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    #10
    Haha, agreed, but check the post above that. Much simpler. I'm aware of. nomedias s but that's just hiding from view.

    . . NS4G . . CM7 . .
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