Cybersecurity

John McAfee's run from the law made John McAfee's company look really bad

Software company founder John McAfee

Software company founder John McAfee // Moises Castillo/AP

Since John McAfee first ran away from the Belizean police following the murder of his neighbor on on November 12, the public perception of his anti-virus software giant has lost credibility with consumers. At least according to the latest research trend from BrandIndex, which calls itself the "authoritative measure of brand perception." The new survey data found a notable decrease in public perception of McAfee, the company founded but no longer overseen by the renegade tech guru, between his first run-in with the law and the madness that's ensued in the month since:

BrandIndex puts together what it calls a "buzz score," based on a sample of customers. The surveyors asked the following question about McAfee: "If you've heard anything about the brand in the last two weeks, through advertising, news or word of mouth, was it positive or negative?" The chart above tracks McAfee against its chief competitor Symantic, with a noticeable dip in November, when both Gizmodo and Wired and pretty much everyone else ran rather lengthy articles and updates about McAfee's rather absurd run-ins with the law, the media, international waters, and everything in between. 

The other noticeable dip comes around December 2, which also matches up with the media attention that McAfee received. McAfee made headlines when he reportedly escaped Belize to Mexico on December 1. That turned out to be false, but McAfee remained a popular topic of media conversation, as he made it to Guatemala with the help of Vice, after which Guatemalan officials arrested him.

McAfee, of course, has nothing to do with McAfee Inc. anymore — he resigned in 1994 and two years later sold all his stake in it — but this is brand association we're talking about here. Maybe it's time the software company got a new name? 

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// September 30
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