Hidden default functionality is a problem you find in lots of software products - many publishers assume you have the time, interest and aspirin on hand to struggle through their crappy manuals. The trouble with manuals is that they are usually inadequate in explaining anything beyond the basics.Last week\u00a0we were discussing what was described as "a real concern" by Stephen Mahaney, president of Planet Ocean Communications, an "Internet marketing company" - to wit, the fact that Symantec Norton Internet Security 2004 installs, by default, with ad blocking switched "on" (oh the horror, the horror!).Perhaps I'm out of the loop on this one, but I'm not the least bit concerned that ads are being wantonly suppressed. On the other hand, and the thing that I expressed concern about last week, Norton doesn't tell you what their software is doing, which is what gave my friend Jim the problem I explained.DiscussJump into our forum on this behavior of Norton Internet Security 2004. Reader Jeanne Case commented: "Perhaps [Jim] didn't read his documentation? I usually don't either. . . . I would say he is a smart user who, for the moment, was naive expecting an ad blocker not to block ads. What did he expect it to do?"Jim's response: "I would agree with you 100% if I had purchased an ad blocker, but I did not. I bought a personal firewall and virus protection system. . . . My problem was that Norton provided a feature I had not desired, did not plan to use and was not even aware was included."Jeanne continued: "Norton needs ad blocking set one way or another, and it seems like 'on' makes the most sense."I agree that "on" makes the most sense, but I also believe that if software products don't lead you through a configuration process where you define or accept the settings, then they should warn you in context what default settings are effective. In this case, when the first blocked Web page loads, Norton should make it clear what action is being taken and offer you the standard "Check here if you don't want to see this warning in future" dialog.This hidden default functionality is a problem you find in lots of software products - many publishers assume you have the time, interest and aspirin on hand to struggle through their crappy manuals. The trouble with manuals is that they are usually inadequate in explaining anything beyond the basics.But let us return to the other issue - the "real concern" some Internet marketers have with Norton blocking ads by default.Mahaney\u00a0wrote in his article\u00a0"Symantec almost has a lock on the Internet security business via their Norton Anti-Virus Protection niche. And now, [Norton Personal Firewall\/Internet Security 2004 (NPFW\/IS2004)] is being used on the overwhelming majority of new corporate and personal computers. Furthermore, NPFW\/IS2004 is being bundled with many, if not most, new systems being shipped. It's the No. 1 Internet security software and it's doing its best to torpedo your advertising efforts."Regardless of whether he has his facts right about the acceptance of Norton's tool, as a marketer he believes it is his right for you to see his ads. Forget about whether you're interested, about whether you're giving any kind of permission for him to "pitch" to you, he and his ilk are insistent that you should "have the right" to see their ads.Mahaney says in his article: "The question being asked right now is: Is this legal? ... Especially in light of the fact that Symantec is selling Norton as Internet Security - actually a firewall, not an ad blocker. There are some who feel it violates restraint of trade laws. They may be right."Mahaney's argument sounds like he's accusing Symantec of misrepresentation, which is plain silly. And while I am not a lawyer (honest), I've looked at the restraint of trade laws and I can't see how that argument could stand up in court.I suspect that the rabid Internet marketers are starting to see that their business models based on forcing you to view pop-ups, pop-unders, and the display of countless in-page ads are doomed.So far, telling advertisers "no" hasn't worked. Turning blocking "on" will.