Previous 1 2 Next 20 Replies Latest reply: May 26, 2014 12:06 PM by jakebogo
Adam A. Lang Level 1 (135 points)

My girlfriend is quite certain that she did not install it, but sometime around the end of last year/beginning of this year, several pieces of software appeared on her MacBook Pro that seem to have some relation to Nielsen ratings and their NetSight software. Some of it is actual resident software on the machine, some of it appears to be some kind of Safari plugin. (The Safari plugin is called NielsenWebKit.bundle and the program is in /Library/NetSight among other palces.)


There appears to be no easy way to uninstall it, and no way to even find out what it's doing. When I do a web search for NetSight Nielsen Macintosh I find some old articles about how Nielsen is going to develop their software for the Mac, but nothing about them actually doing so, nor any support information or anything like that. There is literally no indication that anyone else has ever seen this before, except for one person on the forums here that mentions that the plugin is installed. I have tried to uninstall it, and it appears to heal itself at least somewhat. I've deleted it in four different places and think it's finally stopped, but it took a lot of effort and digging around on the computer. And it's staggeringly badly written: it ***** up lots of CPU time, it causes the machine to overheat, it leaves gigabytes of files lying around on the hard drive, and it often spews thousands upon thousands of lines into the system.log file. I can't imagine how anyone could NOT notice that this was running.


She did lend her computer to a couple of people briefly around the time it was... I want to say 'infected'. It's possible one of them installed this. But I can't even imagine where they got it from, if that's the case.


Does anyone know anything about this, not limited to: where she got it, how we get rid of it, and who we sue over it? It made her computer nearly unusable for months before I found it, and it took me weeks to finally manage to root it all out.

  • Don Archibald Level 10 (101,340 points)

    I wonder if it may be related to one of those make money at home - be a secret shopper - review products at your leaisure and make a ton of money deals. I've seen them popping up now and then on various websites, though can't recall seeing one in the last week or so, nor at what site it may have been (probably a news site, though, given my normal web travels).

  • babowa Level 7 (29,940 points)

    Here is something I found by googling:



    I would contact these people and ask for uninstall instructions. I would not allow such software installed on my computer; I would assume it tracks your every move - possibly even keystrokes - to learn what exactly it is that you do with your machine. My elderly neighbor got suckered into a similar deal with his TV - the Nielsen people added their own box and the box records anything and everything he watches - all in the name of "research".

  • Linc Davis Level 10 (192,431 points)

    If software has been installed on the computer without your knowledge, then you have no way of knowing what state it's in. The only thing to do that makes sense is to back up all your data, erase the boot drive, reinstall and update the OS, then restore only your documents from backup and reinstall your third-party software from known-good copies. You can do nothing else and still be able to trust the machine.

  • Adam A. Lang Level 1 (135 points)

    The only thing to do that makes sense is to back up all your data, erase the boot drive, reinstall and update the OS, then restore only your documents from backup and reinstall your third-party software from known-good copies.


    Sadly, this is not practical at the current time. She is away from home, in a place with modem-speed internet access, without access to install media or her backups (which are on a hard drive at home.) I was able to operate on her machine by sshing in, and I did the best I could to remove the crap. The rest will have to wait until she gets back.


    Here is something I found by googling:



    Thank you, I will try them. I doubt they will know anything (since there are no Mac instructions on that page) but maybe they can at least send me to the US center. I have tried the US Nielsen Ratings contact form, three times now, but it appears that either they don't read it or they don't respond to it. It also has a maximum message size of about 250 characters.


    I wonder if it may be related to one of those make money at home - be a secret shopper - review products at your leaisure and make a ton of moneydeals.


    I would tend to doubt it, if only because they are clearly quite effective (or nobody would be running those ads) and yet nobody has reported this anywhere else that I can find.


    I'm going to send some emails and see if I can find someone who knows something.

  • Michael Babin Level 1 (25 points)

    If the software was installed on the machine (which requires admin privileges), then there should be an uninstaller placed in the /Applications folder (under a "Nielsen" folder, or similar). Running the uninstaller (which also requires admin privileges) should remove all of the components. Rebooting the machine should completely remove all running/loaded components. At least this was my experience as of several months ago.

  • _Jenny Level 1 (0 points)

    UGH, Nielsen is such a PITA! I downloaded their Digital Voice software as part of a paid survey site and have regretted it ever since! I recall deleting the program a few days after I downloaded it because I realized I didn't want to be tracked. About 4 months later I had a strange icon pop up next to my audio icon. I tried command+drag and it didn't work. I tried spotlighting the program, didn't work. I found this thread and I found a Nielsen file hiding in my Library. Funny thing is that Nielsen's website says that the file is in the Apps. I deleted just about all of my Safari plugins, too. After deleting the creeping Nielsen file in my Library and restarting, the icon finally went away.


    Are you having audio problems at all? Because the Nielsen program basically took over all of my sounds and I didn't have any sound at all for the past two months off and on. If so, check your settings in the Audio MIDI.


    Have you tried contacting Nielsen at all? I still feel like their program is creeping around on my computer somehow.

  • clickclickclickify Level 1 (0 points)

    I know this thread is dead as a doornail, but Linc's answer worked (duh - uninstall from applications!  Why didn't I think of that??), and then I searched "nielson" and "insight" and deleted all of those files.  Then restarted.  This stupid program had been changing my sound settings a million times over.  What a pain - learned my lesson this time.  Then repair permissions, restart, and the sound will never have a problem again.  We've been a Nielson family for years on the TV end, but this program is super onerous.

  • ZengVang Level 1 (0 points)

    Hey I have it too.....I've tried Cleaning my mac with CleanMyMac app. but it didn't work....I can't get rid of it too....

  • jl22 Level 1 (0 points)



    I cannot get this crap off of my computer.


    Tried posting on the firefox forums without much luck..

  • Adam A. Lang Level 1 (135 points)

    So, I got a response from Neilsen eventually. (It took about three weeks.) It contained a set of instructions which did not actually do anything. (And, indeed, most of the files that they told me to remove had not been there to begin with, and the one that was was just a text file that didn't do anything. Pretty awesome.


    What I eventually did was upgrade her to Lion with a fresh install, and then migrate data over, and then went looking for the Neilsen crap. Fortunately, it did not actually show up, so it appears that the Apple Migration Assistant doesn't copy that stuff over. That's all that worked for me, unfortunately.

  • jl22 Level 1 (0 points)

    Ugh, that's discouraging, but thanks for the update.


    Weirder still, I realized in my system preferences > sound > output, I have some speaker called "Nielsen Audio."

    I've been having sound issues with my Mac for the past few years 17515776

    where my sound will suddenly stop working, and then work perfectly after I restart my computer.  I'm wondering if this might have something to do with the Nielsen Audio thing.


    It's kind of creepy, I feel like Nielsen is possibly tracking literally everything I do on the internet?  If this is legitimately from Nielsen.  Otherwise god knows what this stuff's doing.  Why on earth would I ever have installed this?

  • jl22 Level 1 (0 points)

    I got it off!!!!!


    I went to the Nielsen Digital Voice website here

    I logged in - username is your email, and it allows you to reset your password if you forgot it.  Then I clicked the "reinstall button" and reinstalled the software.


    After reinstalling, I went to Applications>Nielsen and there was an "uninstall" button, which I clicked, and now everything is gone!!!


    Of course this won't work if you didn't install the software at some point yourself with your email address.

  • ZengVang Level 1 (0 points)

    I got it off too

  • Smallu71 Level 1 (0 points)

    I've been trying to get this effing thing off of my computer for YEARS! Years ago I was able to delet the application but still had a SUPER ANNOYING pop-up window appear every time I started my computer that made me identify myself. Recently after an update, every website asked if Nielsen could track it and I was remotivated to remove it. Googled how to remove it, came across this post and followed your instructions step by step. This time when I uninstalled the software all of it is gone. Annoying pop-up gone. Also gone, the annoying Nielsen sound-setting that kept taking over and cutting off my audio. I FEEL SO LIBERATED!!! Thank you for figuring it out and taking the time to share.

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