Freeware is a great concept. Advertiser supported software that doesn't cost you anything, but is it really free? All you have to do is give your name, address, phone, e-mail, and some other general information. Not a bad trade-off, right? But, what if your personal information was also stored elsewhere on your hard drive, and transmitted your personal data via the Internet back to advertisers in exchange for more advertising? Ah, now is it free or is it spyware or adware.
Spyware is Internet jargon for Advertising Supported software (Adware). It is a way for shareware authors to make money from a product, other than by selling it to the users. There are several large media companies Web3000, EverAd, and Aureate, just to name a few, that offer to place banner ads in their products in exchange for a portion of the revenue from banner sales. This way, you don't have to pay for the software and the developers are still getting paid. If you find the banners annoying, there is usually an option to remove them, by paying the regular licensing fee.
The problem with Adware is the concept of reporting your Internet surfing habits back home for data collection purposes. If this bothers you, then removing the spyware from your system might be a consideration.