There’s a new irritant spreading in the AOL Instant Messenger network, pretending to be a web-based game named “Night Raptor” from a service named “BuddyLinks.” DON’T CLICK ON IT! Once installed, you are barraged with popup advertising, which is bad enough – but it also starts bombarding everyone on your buddy list with ads, which is unforgivable.

Repeat after me: If you’re online and any new window appears on your screen asking you to do something, you should always say no.

The AOL IM “game” is installed by browsing to a web page and clicking “Yes” on a window that pops up asking for permission to install the game. Here’s what you agree to in the license agreement when you click “Yes”:

Services; Modifications to Your Instant Messaging Client. The Software provides you the opportunity to access Content for no charge. In return for the right to access this Content, you acknowledge and agree that the Software contains additional software products provided to PSD Tools by its suppliers which will periodically deliver additional Content such as, but not limited to, advertisements and promotional messages to your Computer and programs that may alter your home page to offer you Content. In addition, the Software will interoperate with your current instant messaging client so as to permit the automatic sending of advertising messages originating from your Computer to your contact or “buddy” list regarding Content offered by PSD Tools or its suppliers. If you desire to stop this activity, you may elect to stop the messages by navigating to the “” entry in your “Start Menu”, selecting the “ Configuration” item, and unchecking the appropriate option. You may also refer to PSD Tools’ website at for an uninstaller.

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