Well, I’m shocked. Here at Ulfwood Ltd., a small independent software vendor, we try to provide high quality software at low cost. We’re always looking to improve RenameMaestro for our customers, and FileTagSleuth is entirely free.
We were told by our good friends at Productivity Portfolio about a news item we might be interested in. And so you can imagine our shock at discovering that Download.com, one of the many sites to host our software and part of a huge company, CNET, had started profiting from it in ways we had never heard about. They now wrap some or all of the software given to them in an installer which offers you the opportunity to install something else, before the software you wanted is installed. If you do this extra step, then they receive a payment; we receive nothing. This concept is not a problem in essence – we do the same with FileTagSleuth (it’s totally free, would you begrudge us a few pennies if you choose to install something else at the same time?)
The problem with Download.com is, its our software, not theirs, and they are benefiting (in some way) from our work; our blood (sic), sweat and tears. And we never signed an agreement to that end. We have no record of an email informing us of this. Nor do we have any record of a mention of this when we last uploaded an update; this was the point at which the ‘helpful service’ as CNET likes to term it, was applied. Its helpful in that it increases Download.com’s bottom line. This is a website filled with advertising, premium subscriptions and more. We just charge a modest amount for our software.
It gets worse. AVG now advises that RenameMaestro is adware / spyware (it most certainly is not). By the way, neither is FileTagSleuth, although it does have an offer in it – you must accept it to have it installed, so this is an opt-in software choice for those that care (and you should), not an opt-out. We don’t want to force anything on anyone; we simply want to get a little bit of benefit if you choose to install something else as well as FileTagSleuth. If you don’t want to, just enjoy it entirely for free. There are no adverts, and no spying software in it.
It gets even worse. At this point, the installer tells you that our software is ‘unsupported 16 bit software’. Drivel. It works on Windows 7 and XP of any variety. Download.com is now telling potential customers that our software is impossible to install. Anti-virus companies, because of Download.com’s changes, are telling potential customers our software is dubious at best.
If they’d got us to sign up explicitly it would have been a different matter.
But we are a tiny company that cannot spend time being the gamekeeper to the hundreds of software download sites who might do this, and the poacher in this case is a billion dollar company.
It seems as though the search engines really have made the download sites redundant. With this behaviour, I can only say good riddance to bad rubbish.