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Many of us who aren’t particularly computer literate will from time to time turn to our nerdly friends for help and advice. But we do so on the basis that these Dungeons and Dragons playing uber geeks will provide us with advice we can trust. But following this trend of asking nerdly friends to stop playing with each others Broadswords, and give us a bit of assistance, a website that offers advice written by nerds for regular folk is actually a really good idea. Better yet, let’s make it searchable, so we can type in our questions in our language without resorting to their level which is one of my most hated popular trends 'l33t 5p34k'.

But like the roll of a 20 sided dice, it’s not without peril. Unless your Wisdom modifier can improve your chances of a good result, you might fall victim to a less than genuine response.

AskNerd is, by their reckoning, “the place to find all the answers to your technical questions. From the basic to the complex, chances are you'll find a direct, easy to understand answer right here”.

Unfortunately, this is remarkably misleading, and with the skill of a Level 2 Rogue [OK I'll stop the references to Dungeons and Dragons now], the website is in fact a bunch of static articles, written to specifically recommend a certain range of products. Interestingly many of these recommended products are from the same company and those that aren’t, are recommended using affiliate links. Affiliate links meaning, if you buy the software, they get a percentage of that sale.

With no privacy policy, no about page, no contact page, there is very little information on the website to work with. We have a bunch of previously mentioned articles and a Site Map. The Site Map at least tells us that the last time a page was updated was the 3rd February 2007. Which is handy to know when you compare this against the text on their website which reads “Updated Daily”. To act in their defence however, I think I can point out that by ‘Daily’ they meant ‘Never’.

A token WhoIs lookup, (and on my newly installed Kubuntu this is even easier from Konsole)
registrant-firstname: Oneandone
registrant-lastname: Private Registration
registrant-organization: 1&1 Internet, Inc. - http://1and1.com/contact
registrant-street1: 701 Lee Road, Suite 300
registrant-street2: ATTN: asknerd.net
registrant-pcode: 19087
registrant-state: PA
registrant-city: Chesterbrook
registrant-ccode: US
registrant-phone: +1.8772064254
registrant-email: proxy160858@1and1-private-registration.com

It’s a private registration, meaning the owner of the website has paid a little extra to hide their true identity from the public. And with good reason, if you are going to mislead and deceive people, I think hiding behind these services is paramount to protecting yourself from liability.

So a quick look then at the products they recommend.
XP Medic - http://xpmedic.com
"XP Medic is owned and operated by the Post Media Network."
Registry Patrol - http://registrypatrol.com
"Registry Patrol is owned and operated by the Post Media Network, a division of Veritext Media."
Identity Patrol - http://patrolsoftware.com/identitypatrol.html
"Patrol Software is a subsidiary of the Post Media Network"
History Patrol - http://patrolsoftware.com/historypatrol.html
"Patrol Software is a subsidiary of the Post Media Network"
BackUp Patrol - http://backuppatrol.net
"BackUp Patrol is owned and operated by the Post Media Network, a division of Veritext Media."
Firewall Gold – Affiliate link into http://firewallgold.com
I am Big Brother – Affiliate link into http://www.software4parents.com/iambigbrother.html
My Nabyoo – Affiliate link into http://www.mynabyoo.com

Now, to be clear. 'I am Big Brother' and 'My Nabyoo' is not software I know of, and it could well be useful. Firewall Gold uses an affiliate system that is common with rogue software that isn't anywhere nearly as useful as they say it is....certainly software I would avoid. The point not to be missed is that AskNerd is receiving money for these recommendations. Like most review websites, they don’t care what you really want, it’s all about the gold coins, dollars [OK so maybe one more]. These articles aren't updated daily, they don't offer you much in the way of choice. If I were to hedge my bets, I would say that AskNerd is more likely some kind of front for PatrolSoftware, or a badly designed attempt at making users fall for 'recommended advice'.

Here’s a couple of unhappy customers from RipOffReport not receiving their product either.

I was refered to asknerd.net by a popular computer store employee who inturn refered me to a web site called XPMEDIC for a Registry Cleaner program. Asknerd.net went as far to say that this was the most trusted site and even offered the link to the site. Trusting this site I payed the $34.95 to recieve my unlock code...after recieving this code the program locked up and never worked again. I emailed their 24/7 support site aprox. 15 times over a 3 day period with absolutely no response!

As far as I am concerned the site ASKNERD.NET and XPMEDIC should not be trusted for any reason what so ever! Please do not make the same mistake I made...its a terrible feeling to be ripped off I hope this helps some of you not to fall into this same scam!

North Windham, Connecticut

RipOffReport by GWH
I found xpmedic.com through AskNerd.net, who acts like an expert for those not computer saavy. I downloaded the software at AskNerd's recommendation. xpmedic.com gets their payment only through Paypal (I am currently disputing the transaction with Paypal). After paying through Paypal, I returned to the xpmedic site and never received the software or the key code to 'open' it. I have not received any replies to my emails.

Oak Ridge, New Jersey

RipOffReport by Jackie

If you want solid, reliable, and most importantly non-biased computer related advice, head over to www.castlecops.com They have a massive community off friendly computer literate folk with no hidden agendas.