On my spare time, I was planning to write an in-deep article about if adding a sponsor ( toolbars, new browser, additionnal offers ) is a good or a bad thing to consider when you are a software publisher. It’s a very sensitive topic for me, because I left ( or have been fired depending on who is telling the story ) VSO-Software, because I dare to try to include the Ask and Conduit toolbar in ConvertXtoDVD, VSO Image Resizer…
When I read the articles about ImgBurn turning adware I was pretty shocked actually, and want to give another point of view, the small publishers one.
What is the deal ?
Several companies, such Google, Yahoo, Ask, EBay, Conduit and other search engines, contacts the popular software publishers to offer them commission in exchange of bundling their toolbar or link to services in the installation script of their product.
The same way some websites are including Google Adsense to get some extra cash ( and sometimes it’s their only source of revenue ), the software publishers are considered as a great source of prescription and diffusion for “Adwares”
Is a search engine toolbar an adware ? .. some providers abused, and indeed, you can always think getting your search information is a spy-mode, but dont be naive, you don’t need an extra tool installed to get a lot of information about your browsing habits. I m not a paranoid guy… it is maybe a problem and explanation about why I don’t see evil at every street corner.
The industry rules about defining an adware is : installation without consent of the user, unexplained activity and task description of the added tool, and difficult control on the uninstallation process. There are really strict rules to enter any big program, and when you see Adobe, Nero and some other bigs companies are bundling these too, you can wonder if they are stupid or not, and if they aren’t aware of what they are doing. Is anyone is posting a news to remind Apple is trying to promote Safari as a browser when you install Itunes ? no.. because it’s Apple !
Let’s come back to the ImgBurn case… is it a big company ? no … a single guy doing a great jobs since years and which deserve the loyalty of any ImgBurn users.
ImgBurn is a free software to burn files , iso images to CD / DVD / Blu-ray disc with a elegant a simple interface. It is a popular software and a reference as you can change a lot of options such hardware layer access. Up to know, I guess the only income of his author is the advertisement areas placed on his web site ( Alexa Ranking Top 15000 ), but as any software involving hardware and burning disc, it is a kind of investissement, you need to buy new burners, blank DVD, deals with a lot of support, and for something free as donation isn’t effective if you don’t force users to do that. Actually, most people are aware of what will happen, and I can certified that more than 90% of users will turn off the installation of the adware package, whatever if it is checked ON or OFF by default. the 10% ( actually it could be as low as 3% to 8% ) of people which accepts the toolbar or sponsor, are doing it by real choice or because they didn’t pay any attention of the additionnal step installing the extra program.
So stop blaming small software editor to try to make money, because I guess you are happy to have a monthly income for your work too… just my 2 cents.