The guidelines could help consumers determine the risks posed by new software and the effectiveness of anti-spyware products.
At a time when the number of spyware applications doubles each year,to find ways to eliminate confusion about how to test security products.
"Few product testers currently document their test samples or methodology," the companies said in a statement. "Many use very small sample sets in their testing environments. As a result, there is no distinguishable benchmark for comparison."
The software makers are part of a larger organization, called the Anti-Spyware Coalition, which is working to standardize industry terms and technology for battling spyware.
Next on the group's agenda: Defining threat-naming conventions, intelligence-sharing best practices, and emergency information distribution guidelines. The group says it will use definitions already created by the Anti-Spyware Coalition.