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Author Topic: Ever Have a Download Site Blow You Away?  (Read 3776 times)
Renegade
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« on: April 02, 2011, 07:19:39 AM »

Ok, I'm still in shock... Softoxi.com just blew me away...

BLOWN AWAY by a Download Site – Softoxi.com!

Not a rant. A rave.

Quote
It is RARE for a download site to impress me. Very rare. But Softoxi.com has literally just blown me away! I’m quite frankly shocked with disbelief!

Their screenshot page for Photo Resizer INCLUDES A VIDEO SHOWING INSTALLATION AND HOW TO USE PHOTO RESIZER!

I received an email from Rainer Weiss, the editor at Softoxi, at a contact email address that I don’t use for PAD submissions, and when I checked, I saw that he had registered at the Super Simple web site.

I love it when I find a reason to rave over something~! cheesy
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Curt
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« Reply #1 on: April 02, 2011, 07:50:08 AM »

Congratulations, Ryan - the review is really out of the ordinary :-)
and Yes, so is Softoxi


Quote from: Softoxi
About Us

Softoxi’s main purpose is to support and promote high-quality software products. To achieve this purpose we thoroughly test every product that we add to our website. We’re proud to be able to guarantee that each and every product listed on Softoxi has been tested by a real person, and not just any person, but experienced and objective editors.

To help promoting the high-quality software we use some unique and effective ways. The most important and powerful of these ways are the free VIDEO trailers that present the main features of the products and even help newbie users understand how to use some of these products. We also scan the listed products with two powerful and reliable antivirus tools and display the scan reports on the products’ page in support of the idea of truly “verified” clean software.

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iphigenie
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« Reply #2 on: April 02, 2011, 08:14:58 AM »

It's nice to see a site making the effort  - bookmarked and will start checking it

In the german world, softwareload often does that - videos, screenshots step by step, stuff like that - of course not all download sites can afford the editorial staff that a portal like T Online can...
« Last Edit: April 02, 2011, 09:10:11 AM by iphigenie » Logged
Carol Haynes
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« Reply #3 on: April 02, 2011, 08:58:40 AM »

Haven't looked at that specific page/product you mentioned but personally after looking at a few other products I find the site to be as confusing and badly laid out as most download sites, and none of the products had the features you described. (Actually I did find a video link in tiny print after scouring the page for a while).

I find it particularly irksome when I see large prominent download buttons that are linked to a totally different product and the actual download you are looking for is less than obvious.

Here is a typical page I found ...

I can see download links to numerous other products (most obviously AVS Video Converter which is the standout link on the page) but where is the actual link for Peony Converter ??? Is it behind the blue button with the less than transparent URL:

http://googleads.g.double...com/tv2b-b1/gppc&nm=3

I don't really feel inclined to click it to find out ...


No it isn't it is an insignificant little link in the middle of everything else that takes you to a page with an irritating visual captcha box!

Strikes me the whole reason for the site is to get as much revenue from google ads as possible (mostly by accident because it isn't always clear where the link is actually going) whilst making it difficult to find the actual download you are looking for.
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iphigenie
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« Reply #4 on: April 02, 2011, 09:11:01 AM »

I find it particularly irksome when I see large prominent download buttons that are linked to a totally different product and the actual download you are looking for is less than obvious.

Fileforum started doing that and it is very annoying and really uncalled for - they could easily promote other software very well without hijacking people's distraction
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Renegade
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« Reply #5 on: April 02, 2011, 10:01:41 AM »

It's a general problem in any software site. Advertisers make ads specifically to confuse you and make you click. The same problem holds for Source Forge, Download.com, Softpedia, etc. etc.
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Edvard
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« Reply #6 on: April 02, 2011, 01:03:44 PM »

That happens even on a software author's homepage.
A friend of mine was awfully confused when I recommended Exact Audio Copy to him, and he downloaded some shady shareware instead because there was a BIG DOWNLOAD BUTTON for it on the same page as the legit EAC download.
I eventually figured out that I have adblock running and he didn't, so I never saw the advertisement that he was describing when he called me about it.
 undecided

BACK ON TOPIC:
Nice that Softoxi goes at least as far as attempting to be helpful, quite a rare gem nowadays...
Which is probably why I hang out here so much!  Kiss
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40hz
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« Reply #7 on: April 02, 2011, 02:16:28 PM »

It's a general problem in any software site. Advertisers make ads specifically to confuse you and make you click. The same problem holds for Source Forge, Download.com, Softpedia, etc. etc.

Probably one of the reasons why I try to stick to: FileHippo, Snapfiles, MajorGeeks, and fileforum-betanews as much as possible for Windows shareware and freeware.

To Softoxi's credit however, the instructional videos are a very nice site feature. One I'd like to see in more places - including the actual developer's sites.

Softoxi also covers some interesting products haven't seen on other software sites. That alone makes it worth a closer look.

True, many of these apps are commercially licensed demo installs. But I don't mind paying for good software. So an attached price tag is not a negative for me. (Most times, a price tag is a plus if it allows the developer to avoid all those "ad supported" schemes people have come up with.)

Thx for sharing Ren! Right when I think I know them all, somebody points me to another one. Grin

 Cool
« Last Edit: April 02, 2011, 02:20:20 PM by 40hz » Logged

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iphigenie
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« Reply #8 on: April 03, 2011, 08:27:04 AM »

It's a general problem in any software site. Advertisers make ads specifically to confuse you and make you click. The same problem holds for Source Forge, Download.com, Softpedia, etc. etc.

quite... on sourceforge it gets quite annoying after you click download. They have now had the decency to add "this is not linked to the download" but it was borderline fraudulent imo...

PS: I browsed around softoxi and didnt find it any worse than any others. the download link *is* tiny and halfway down the description, but i didnt encounter weird redirects on the download links that Carol reported, although there was the usual conversion tracking on the promotional widgets


* Screenshot - 03_04_2011 , 13_00_18.png (136.27 KB, 1680x1050 - viewed 126 times.)
« Last Edit: April 03, 2011, 08:30:52 AM by iphigenie » Logged
Renegade
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« Reply #9 on: April 03, 2011, 12:40:54 PM »

@iphigenie

That screenshot is pretty damning...
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Edvard
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« Reply #10 on: April 03, 2011, 03:50:38 PM »

What the...??

Oh, I keep forgetting; I run AdBlock so I NEVER see those things and then get all confused when folks complain...  huh

Sourceforge must be really hurtin' for cash by the looks of it.
Webroot is on my list of software that defines shameless self-promotion of a broken product.
My son got 3 months of Webroot free with his laptop at Best Buy and I can't remember all the stuff that either was broken or acted 'twitchy' after installing it.
Windows Firewall, email, the list went on...

We ripped it out two weeks later and installed Microsoft Security Essentials.
Bliss...
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Carol Haynes
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« Reply #11 on: April 04, 2011, 08:06:59 AM »

@iphigenie

That screenshot is pretty damning...

Actually I think that screenshot is less damning - at least the first thing on the page is "your download will start shortly" and there is a clear direct link if it fails to start. The Webroot Ad is clearly an advert and has a clear statement to that effect at the top of it.

I find other download sites more difficult to defend (including the one promoted by this thread) when it is difficult to actually find the download link you are looking for and large "Download" buttons head you off to different products obscured behind huge google ad links without any warning.

At least SourceForge are up front about their advertising and it is very clear what is going on. Whether you like the companies who sponsor them or not is a matter of opinion (and with WebRoot I agree with your assessment) but at least I know it is a sponsored ad - and actually I have heard of WebRoot as a company. On Softoxi they are pushing disguised ads and I don't even know who is really behind them.

Actually maybe google should step up to the challenge - how hard would it be to put up a page after the link saying "you are now being directed to a sponsored link - if you prefer to go back click here" which would at least let people know they are being driven to a fund raising partner site rather than what you are actually looking for. Google shou;d make something like this part of Google Ads as standard as it would also force websites using Google Ads to be clear that the link is a Google Ad as pissed off people won't allow the click to go on and they won't get their income from the link!
« Last Edit: April 04, 2011, 08:11:45 AM by Carol Haynes » Logged

Renegade
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« Reply #12 on: April 04, 2011, 08:50:58 PM »

@Carol - It seems to me that having ads take up almost the entire screen confuses the issue. I'm guilty of that too though:

Photo Resizer Download Page (Pops the download in a meta refresh.)

It has a large "post download" ad similar to above.

Really, I don't like it. It's almost tricking people.

But, looking at the number of clicks, it's pretty low. I suppose that it's clear enough on my download page there that they are ads.

I still don't like the form ad above though. Too many sites require registration, and that's what it initially looks like. Anyways, I just hate ads period.
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« Reply #13 on: April 04, 2011, 11:52:04 PM »

Quote
Actually maybe google should step up to the challenge - how hard would it be to put up a page after the link saying "you are now being directed to a sponsored link - if you prefer to go back click here" which would at least let people know they are being driven to a fund raising partner site rather than what you are actually looking for.
At the risk of being attacked for strong opinion let me share my two cents.

Do you know what will happen to conversion rates of merchants if google applies this ? Google's own ad platform will drop to 50% or even low if they become vocal about this. It's really hard to make money without being mysterious/sneaky online, if they openly state their intention then not a single ad platform will be able to convert visits into sales. Sorry but what you're expecting here in this thread is from user perspective and not from the data that we see from merchants and their conversions on web ads and networks. If big companies or any merchant wants to make money these days online then they need to slip through like this or else conversions will go down and it's hard to make money off people.

If you don't trick people on website it's hard to make money off CPA/CPM/CPC ad platforms. This is sick truth, because surfers want things for free and if you give it to them with upfront notice and without any tricks then you'll hardly sustain in online ad networks/conversion game for long.
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Renegade
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« Reply #14 on: April 05, 2011, 04:43:00 AM »

Quote
Actually maybe google should step up to the challenge - how hard would it be to put up a page after the link saying "you are now being directed to a sponsored link - if you prefer to go back click here" which would at least let people know they are being driven to a fund raising partner site rather than what you are actually looking for.
At the risk of being attacked for strong opinion let me share my two cents.

Do you know what will happen to conversion rates of merchants if google applies this ? Google's own ad platform will drop to 50% or even low if they become vocal about this. It's really hard to make money without being mysterious/sneaky online, if they openly state their intention then not a single ad platform will be able to convert visits into sales. Sorry but what you're expecting here in this thread is from user perspective and not from the data that we see from merchants and their conversions on web ads and networks. If big companies or any merchant wants to make money these days online then they need to slip through like this or else conversions will go down and it's hard to make money off people.

If you don't trick people on website it's hard to make money off CPA/CPM/CPC ad platforms. This is sick truth, because surfers want things for free and if you give it to them with upfront notice and without any tricks then you'll hardly sustain in online ad networks/conversion game for long.

At the risk of sounding not cynical, you sound a bit cynical, but to redeem my cynicism somewhat, I still think you're pretty accurate~! cheesy tongue

But I also think that at the root of things, we just don't read. We're lazy. We skim. The only way to make things obvious is to have a MASSIVE bold, red, 99pt, centered, flashing, marquee sign that screams it out. Otherwise nobody would notice.

Same thing as above, only written as above. (40Hz - don't click~! smiley )

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Carol Haynes
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« Reply #15 on: April 05, 2011, 06:37:42 AM »

I agree that tricking and scamming is the only way to make money out of advertising (which is why I hate advertising).

Being deliberately deceptive does nothing to improve your relation with customers though. You might make a few dollars but you are hardly likely to attract a loyal customer base and you are highly likely to piss off many people in the process.

It doesn't alter the fact that Google allows its ad users to abuse their own policies and systems and the only way to stop that happening (unfortunately) is to police all clicks via their ads in a more aggressive manner and ban people from using Google Ads if they abuse the system.

Given that will cost a lot of money Google has the option to enforce a system such as I suggested which would also solve the problem.

Ironically I am much more likely to respond to advertising when I am not being scammed than when I feel tricked.

Trickery has two effects on me:

1) I don't purchase items I am scammed into looking at
2) I avoid websites that scam me into looking at things.

This behaviour on websites is no more moral or acceptable than pure email spammers - it is precisely what they are doing.

I have just got off the phone to a client who has been scammed by a telephone call "from Microsoft" about how her computer is infected. She even let the caller use LogMeIn to access her computer (stupid yes - but I have come across this scam on more than one occasion). Using the argument above is similar to saying that it is OK for people to run a 'business' like this because it is the only way they can make money! Actually what they are doing is illegal - but really what is the difference.

One of the most common problems I am fixing these days is fake antivirus. As far as I can tell most of these seem to come from exactly the method you think is reasonable - ie. people clicking on misleading and undisclosed adverts (often Google Ads too).
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Renegade
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« Reply #16 on: April 05, 2011, 07:01:10 AM »

This is tangentially related:

http://healthfreedoms.org...d-as-a-natural-sweetener/

Quote
Aspartame has been Renamed and is Now Being Marketed as a Natural Sweetener

Artificial sweeteners especially aspartame has gotten a bad rap over the years, most likely due to studies showing they cause cancer. But not to worry Ajinomoto the company that makes Aspartame has changed the name to AminoSweet. It has the same toxic ingredients but a nice new sounding name.

And if you or your child happens to be allergic to Aspartame, well don’t take it personally it’s just business.

Despite the evidence gained over the years showing that aspartame is a dangerous toxin, it has remained on the global market . In continues to gain approval for use in new types of food despite evidence showing that it causes neurological brain damage, cancerous tumors, and endocrine disruption, among other things.

The point: With enough money, you can purchase plastic surgery for inconvenient truths and give them a pleasant makeover to suit yourself.


Still, we might be being a tad harsh on online ads. They DO come with a teeny tiny little (i) that is supposed to tell us that they are from Google, etc. etc.

I have no problem seeing ads on a site, but when they are deliberately out to deceive? Different story. A huge download graphic with a tiny (i) is deceptive.
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« Reply #17 on: April 05, 2011, 08:56:01 AM »

Product doesn’t need to be scammy but should catch attention. Almost every ad network is seeking for the ways to get attention. This is the reason you see some of the scary ad positions and the layouts. Not all ad networks and the products who use such tactics are scammy, they just want attention to convert sales.

I didn’t mean that deceiving tactics should be fine, in previous reply. I’m against those auto installing and scammy products and  prefer to stay away from when merchant promotes them via plimus or swreg or click bank.

My point is that average surfers who visit site for any type of content for free are compensated with ads or some offers. In my opinion that is fine.

As for google ads, almost every google ad has notice at the bottom to identify that these are ads. No doubt there are some scary video or auto-video playing ads on google which gets removed after successful campaign for both merchant and google. I don’t expect any white hat act from folks at google inc. 
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Renegade
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« Reply #18 on: April 05, 2011, 09:21:11 AM »

What Google recommends:

https://www.google.com/ad...in/answer.py?answer=17954



Quote
Certain locations tend to be more successful than others. This "heat map" illustrates the ideal placing on a sample page layout. The colors fade from dark orange (strongest performance) to light yellow (weakest performance). All other things being equal, ads located above the fold tend to perform better than those below the fold. Ads placed near rich content and navigational aids usually do well because users are focused on those areas of a page.


While this heat map is useful as a positioning guideline, we strongly recommend putting your users first when deciding on ad location. Think about their behavior on different pages, and what will be most useful and visible to them. You'll find that the most optimal ad position isn't always what you expect on certain pages.

For example, on pages where users are typically focused on reading an article, ads placed directly below the end of the editorial content tend to perform very well. It's almost as if users finish reading and ask themselves, "What can I do next?" Precisely targeted ads can answer that question for them.
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40hz
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« Reply #19 on: April 05, 2011, 12:23:18 PM »


Same thing as above, only written as above. (40Hz - don't click~! smiley )


  Grin

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iphigenie
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« Reply #20 on: April 05, 2011, 01:05:57 PM »

@iphigenie

That screenshot is pretty damning...

Actually I think that screenshot is less damning - at least the first thing on the page is "your download will start shortly" and there is a clear direct link if it fails to start. The Webroot Ad is clearly an advert and has a clear statement to that effect at the top of it.


The clear statement is new, and yes it improves things smiley I suspect it was added after too many people complained.
And iirc the ads you get often depend on the mirrors rather than sourceforge direct. Technically you can go in and exclude certain mirrors if they do too much invasive advertising.

I just imagine someone less savvy to the way of computers following a link to download an open source program and falling on what looks at first glance like an order form that wants all imaginable information. They might go back and decide open source is just too scary.

On a personal note I chose not to use ad blockers, because I want to respect the way a publisher wants to get an income. I will accept the advertising OR not use a site with too much advertising and look for alternatives. I will sometimes pay for ad free options on sites I use a lot. Of course it comes from having worked in the web industry for a very long time and that includes long stints in the publishing industry with advertising supported sites and all its challenges and struggles. But I see respecting what a producer/publisher does to have an income to be the same for websites as for software or music. Either I accept it, or if I can't accept it, then I dont use/buy, I look for alternatives.
« Last Edit: April 05, 2011, 01:13:00 PM by iphigenie » Logged
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