Glubble Complaint - Glubble- great idea, if only it worked

Review by Sarah May on 2008-01-09
Glubble is an add-on for the web browser, Firefox. Firefox, for the record, is an incredibly safe, user-friendly browser and I whole-heartedly recommend using it with your PC rather than Internet Explorer.

Now let me state, for the record, that I am not an irresponsible parent and always oversee my child's browsing rather than depending on software to do it for me. No software is a replacement for good parenting. That said, on with the review.

The concept behind Glubble is fantastic; it's an add-on for your browser which restricts your child's browsing abilities using a good-list rather than a bad-list. In other words, it allows your children to visit ONLY the sites which you add to an allow list and nothing else. Great, right?

Well, not quite. The thing about Glubble is that it rarely functions like it's supposed to. When you first open Firefox, you see a "Firefox is locked" home screen, which requires either you or your child to sign in using a password. If you sign in, Firefox opens with no restrictions. If your child signs in, Firefox opens to their homepage. Now, signing in has, in my experience, about a 50% success rate. By that I mean that half the time, when you click "Start" after entering your password, nothing happens and you have to restart Firefox and try again. On your second attempt and each thereafter, you've got about a 50/50 shot of actually getting signed in.

Once your child manages to get signed in, the children's home page is very confusing. It's full of clickable images of characters but clicking on them doesn't actually take you to the site they suggest, but only to a list of sites in that category.

Possibly the most frustrating thing about Glubble is that it prevents Adblock from working. Adblock is another add-on for Firefox and it's great. Adblock will remove pretty much every ad you see on pretty much every page you visit. The first time I used Adblock, I was amazed at what I no longer saw. I highly recommend this add-on. With Glubble, however, Adblock is installed but simply doesn't work. Signed in as either parent or child, ads are everywhere, completely unfiltered. And if you've ever been on a child's page like Nickelodeon or Disney, you'll notice that at least half of the site is made up of ads. Most of the ads are flash files and look very similar to games. Of course, when a child clicks on an ad in Glubble, they can't visit the site that the ad wants to take them to, which is good. However, every time a child mistakes an ad for a game and clicks on it, Firefox locks up. The back button works about 50% of the time with this situation. And it could all be prevented if Adblock worked with Glubble, it would prevent the child from seeing the ad in the first place.

The straw that broke the camel's back for me was when my daughter's password for Glubble was lost. Everyone loses a password now and then and it's typically very easy to have it sent to you or to change it. Not so with Glubble. I had an option of changing mine as a parent, but not hers. As far as Glubble "help" goes, the only option was a help forum. So I attempted to post a topic in the forum. I got a confirmation screen which said my topic had been posted, but it was nowhere to be found. I tried again with the same results. Finally I just gave up and uninstalled Glubble. It was useless at that point, considering my daughter could only sign in as a parent and her browsing wouldn't be restricted at all that way, and considering Glubble won't allow Adblock, it'd be even less restricted than it would without Glubble!

So in my opinion, Glubble is a great concept. It's got far too many glitches and goofs and not enough help to be worth it at this point, though. I can see it being improved over time, so maybe I'll try again in a few YEARS!
Comments:13 Replies - Latest reply on 2008-03-04
Posted by Principissa on 2008-01-09:
Goodness that sounds so complicated and frustrating. My son loves to go to Nick.com and to Jetix.com. We use firefox as our browser as we trust it more than internet explorer, what we did that worked for us was add our son onto our windows log in screen and set up his account. They have a box under user accounts that allows you to put in restrictions, we just typed in the websites that he was allowed to go to, firefox, nick.com, and jetix.com and checked block everything else. Of course we monitor him on the internet and we never allow him to chat or click on ads on the top of the screen. As you said no matter what you use responsible parenting is the only way to keep your child off of sites that you don't want him to see.
Posted by Anonymous on 2008-01-09:
Firefox is a good product, but you should be aware that many software applications that are browser based will not work in Firefox. This includes several of the companies that provide online banking applications.
Posted by Sarah May on 2008-01-09:
Yes I've come across a few sites that will not load properly in Firefox. I do have to grudgingly open IE every now and then, but it's a rare occurrence.
Posted by jktshff1 on 2008-01-09:
Sarah May's right, I've used Mozilla since they came out and have had few problems. Not like I had with IE though.
Posted by Ian Hayward on 2008-01-22:
Hello Sarah,

My name is Ian Hayward and I’m the founder of Glubble.

Thank you for saying that the concept behind Glubble is fantastic that is very kind of you so do so.

Thank you also for your fair and truthful review on the 9th of September 2008 of your experiences with the Glubbe BETA version that was released last July 2007.

The version you were testing was our proof-of-concept version, it was intended to trial if the concept of ‘signing into’ Firefox as a child or a helper was well received and also to trial if the ‘personalized’ good-list concept was popular. Over 40,000 families have helped test drive the BETA since that time and they agree with you and I that it is a good way to give our children the best of what ‘we’ want on the web.

Anyhow, this is just to let you know that we’ve had a team of Glaxstar engineers working on further developing Glubble for the past six months, they have done a great job and I’m sure you’d like to know you don’t have to wait years for the final version because we launched a preview for our BETA testers yesterday! Super timing for you eh? :)

To explain, I’m also the co-founder of Glaxstar who specialize in building Firefox Add-ons for blue chip companies. One of the reasons for the delay in getting the final Glubble version out to you is because we’ve recently authored Firefox eBay edition for eBay GmbH.

So please rest assured even though the BETA was buggy I’m sure you’ll find the final version of Glubble “Family Edition” a whole new word!

All the best,
Ian Hayward
Posted by Anonymous on 2008-01-22:
Ian Hayward, thank you for posting the info. We seldom get replies back from the defense. It sounds like you guys are on the right track and intend to do the right thing and produce a quality product. We are in the IT business and I have bookmarked your link to have our guys check it out for possible addition to our recomended vendor list.
Posted by Ian Hayward on 2008-01-22:
@superbowl, your welcome :) Thanks.

You'll notice I didn't post a link in my comment to where the preview version is available as I am unsure of this sites policy on that, but it would be great if Sarah wants to get in touch with us to preview the final version to see how it compares.
Posted by Anonymous on 2008-01-22:
Ian, that is why Admin gave us the IM feature. You can send a link to another member without getting blamed for free advertising.
Posted by Sarah May on 2008-01-22:
Mr. Hayward,
Thank you so much for taking the time to respond to the review and for standing behind your product. That's refreshing! I'm looking forward to testing out the new version and I hope that it will be compatible with Adblock. :)
Posted by Sarah May on 2008-01-22:
What's this? I got my first star? Hooray!!
Posted by Anonymous on 2008-01-22:
Way to go Sarah!!! Congrats.
Posted by jktshff1 on 2008-01-22:
Congrats on the star, and congrats to Ian Hayward for such a great reply. I'll be setting it up for my grandson.
Posted by BvF7734 on 2008-03-04:
To assist with using FF and still get the IE only pages, I use a extension called IETab. What this does is allow you to use the IE engine to render the page in FF without leaving FF. You can also set rules that whenever you visit page XYZ.com that it will use IETab exclusively. You can also switch back and forth if you wish. My companies ticketing system that I use for my work is IE only and I only use FF so I can personally attest that IETab works perfectly. Rarely I do end up finding a page that won't work even with IETab but those are rare and very far between.

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