Norton 360: Whatever You Are, People either Love You or Hate You

SymantecBack in December 2006, I did a review of Norton 360 (the beta version) and pointed out a bunch of minor annoyances with the product. Since then, it has been met with glowing reviews by the big boys at CNET and PC Magazine. Interestingly enough, my 360 review is often the most popular article at Computers.net any given week.

I found that it shows up on the first page of Google results for “Norton 360” and is the only site on that first page that has anything really bad to say let alone a place to leave anonymous comments. And there seem to be plenty of people frustrated, looking for some way to be heard.

This isn’t the first time this happened, either. Back in 2005, I did a little blurb about Norton AntiVirus 2006 being released. I didn’t even get into review mode for that one, but it still attracted readers and comments like crazy (was and often still is in the top 5 posts on Computers.net). In terms of the underground misunderstood consumer base wanting to spread a bad reputation of an otherwise reputable company, I feel like Microsoft may need to step aside and let Symantec take over as king.

Why the disconnect? Every major tech publication seems to love Norton products. The company (Symantec) definitely has the largest market share of the software security market. But is it really the best option? Are all these frustrated users blaming the wrong product? Hardly, it seems. Here’s a sampling of comments from my previous mentions of Norton products (after reading through these, let me know what you make of it):

Anil:

“Having been very happy with the earlier anti-virus programs from Norton, when NAV 2005 expired, I went and bought NAV2006 from their site. And as there was a special offer on a 2 year subscription , I went the whole hog and bought a 2 year subscription. After all Norton is Norton right ? WRONG !!!!!! After 2 days of head-scratching, rebooting, formatting the disks etc etc, I decided to google for problems with NAV.

Now I am formatting my desktop again and plan to run AVG Free. I wonder whether I will get my money back.”

Joe Shingles:

“Norton 360 is about as useful as turning an old condom inside out, and as enjoyable as committing suicide with a lawnmower. It’s over invasive, will slow your computer to a crawl and CANT BE TURNED OFF!!!!”

Leanne:

“I bought Norton 360 and installed it on my nice new machine, thinking I was doing the right thing.. however, after installing it, it started to slowly kill my machine, it would shut down IE as I was running IE7 with the Google Tool Bar, so I removed that, then it would come up with useless JavaScript (blank) errors, so I tried uninstalling it, nope didn’t fix a damn thing..

After an hour on the phone to their “technical” support (IN INDIA) with no results and them telling me that it was a “coinsidence” that my computer was crashing.. And being told that Norton does NOT effect any program running (and somehow magically corrupted IE7 because of a phishing filter problem and decided to kill my JavaScript functions – inc Windows Explorer).. I demanded a refund.. I had to reformat my machine and I’m STILL trying to fix the problems that it had caused!!”

Jonathan:

All you guys who think Norton is great – LOOK OUT! I fumbled with it for 4 years but since I hadn’t had any major problems – I decided to go ahead with the Norton 360 upgrade. Now I have a computer that runs slower than my old Radio Shack Model 4 did and is about as useful. How does this company get away with this. Everyone I have talked to says how great they are to take your money but the program is garbage, over priced and is now actually distructive. And to think I paid them for all this!