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Spector Pro
Net Nanny


(Windows XP, Windows Vista)*

IamBigBrother IamBigBrother has a long history in the monitoring software arena, having been around since the beginning of monitoring software industry's infancy.

It was once a unique and innovative program that offered parents a way to monitor their child's PC with some level of reliability.

Regrettably, its history of innovation is long gone.

IamBigBrother has fallen off the radar of most parents and consumers for good reason.

The software developers at IamBigBrother really seem to've let their once noteworthy software be outpaced by the competition.

Sure, IamBigBrother still performs basic parental controls, and has had a new facelift, but the overall effectiveness just doesn't compete with more robust parental control software and more versatile PC monitoring software.


IamBigBrother Monitoring Software Features:

  • Chat/IM monitor
  • Email recording
  • Record viewed web sites
  • Keystroke logging
  • Screen captures
  • Program monitor
  • Stealth mode
  • You must provide a list of "bad" keywords to monitor
  • Terrible support (virutually no support)
  • Only does the minimal monitoring
  • Doesn't block sites
  • Doesn't limit computer use time

IamBigBrother Software Highlights:

Chat/IM monitor
This feature monitors and records chat and instant message conversations.

IamBigBrother focuses on the main IM and chat clients: Yahoo, MSN, ICQ, AOL, etc.

However, it can't monitor non-standard chat rooms or smaller third-party IM applications, which many kids are turning to for many reasons, including the ability to unify different chat software in one program.

Email recording
IamBigBrother records incoming and outgoing emails. Again, this is standard for any PC monitoring software.

It works with all the popular email clients including Outlook, Outlook Express, and Thunderbird.

Record web sites visited
This feature provides a list of all websites visited. Buyers are able to click on a listed URL and see that site.

There are several problems with The IamBigBrother setup, most of which fall into one category: Buyers aren't able to do anything about what they see.
  1. You can't block URLs
  2. You can't target a specific page
  3. You can't see details, for example how much time was spent on any given site

  4. (Buyers will be forced to ask, did their child just happen upon the site accidentally and immediately navigate away, or did they spend hours there?)
Website blocking
IAmBigBrother lacks any website blocking or web filtering technology of any kind.

Keystroke logging
When it comes to monitoring software, we've found a good keylogger should provide a reliable "last-ditch" method to see what was happening on the computer you're monitoring.

The reality is that during our tests, there were several instances where the software inexplicably failed to monitor what we'd typed or outright stopped logging keystrokes altogether.

Thus, IamBigBrother's claims of allowing you to monitor and record all keystrokes made on the target PC were all out the window.

If keystroke logging had been fully functional, it would be useful for buyers to capture logins and passwords that their child may be using to access unauthorized sites.

Since it was inconsistent for us, we're left wondering when and what it was recording.

Screen captures
This feature lets IamBigBrother take a screenshot anytime a "naughty" word is typed.

This can also be used to see if anyone is typing personal information about the buyer. When the PC user types in one of these pre-entered keywords, IamBigBrother takes a screenshot.

The major downside here is that buyers must provide a list of all the potentially "bad" keywords that trigger the screenshot.

As you might imagine, this can amount to a very large list, and most people won't even be able to generate every possible keyword.

Other, more advanced PC monitoring applications like WebWatcher maintain an extensive database of "bad" keywords that trigger a screenshot.

This means you don't have to anticipate which exact keywords to look out for, which is a major flaw with IamBigBrother.

Program monitor
IamBigBrother keeps a running list of all programs and applications that are run on the PC in question.

While this feature may seem handy at first, there isn't actually much IamBigBrother can do about an inappropriate program that's been run.

For instance, IamBigBrother will alert you when your child runs a gaming program, but IamBigBrother can't limit time spent on that program, or block its usage like some of IamBigBrother's competitors in PC monitoring software can allow you to do.

Stealth mode
One nice feature we do like is the automatic stealth mode.

Regrettably, while the software's instructions explicitly instruct you to remove a desktop shortcut labeled "IamBigBrother Instructions" from your account, what it doesn't tell you is you'll need to remove it from all accounts on your computer.

What this means is, if you're trying to do things surreptitiously, and monitor someone without their knowledge, you have to remember to remove this icon to fully cover your tracks.

There's no need to set the stealth mode since the software automatically defaults to stealth. So, you no longer have to worry whether or not you set this feature.

However, this stealthiness isn't without its own problems, as most major antivirus/antispyware applications easily detect IAmBigBrother and label it accordingly.

Technical Support
Unfortunately, there's no real tech support to speak of for IamBigBrother.

This means there's no phone support, no real FAQ pages, or knowledge base to speak of.

They do offer a support ticket system, but it's very clear that IamBigBrother doesn't want to be bothered with your questions and haven't updated their help page in ages.

As of the writing of this review, they still haven't updated their drop down list of 'Windows Versions' to include Vista. Further, their IamBigBrother Version drop down proclaims 9.1 to have been released back in April 2005.

And they don't even offer their physical address.

While IamBigBrother covers the basics in monitoring software, its lack of reliability or tech support are major dings against it as a viable monitoring solution.

It falls short of the numerous advancements this type of software has made over the years. We wouldn't say that it's as if IamBigBrother is only doing the bare minimum to get by, but it's clearly not up to par with the competition.

This software is also highly inadequate for employee monitoring, and only suitable for monitoring young children at home. In other words, not a good solution for corporations or parents with teens.

If you're looking for real PC monitoring software, check out our top monitoring software reviews this year like WebWatcher and NetNanny.

System Requirements

  • Windows XP / Vista
  • Internet Explorer
  • or
  • Mozilla Firefox

PROS  $29.99
Chat/IM monitor Email recording Record viewed web sites Keystroke logging Screen captures Program monitor Stealth mode
Inefficient keyword monitor Very poor support-no support Minimal monitoring Doesn't block sites Doesn't limit computer use time
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