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Author Topic: Complaint: Freemake  (Read 4929 times)
y0himba
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« on: November 18, 2011, 06:38:11 PM »

Freemake, also known as "Ellora Assets Corporation", states on their website"

Quote from: freemake.com
True Freeware of New Level

Freemake offers freeware in the truest sense of the word: no feature or time limitations, no hidden costs. Download and use our Free Video Converter, Video Downloader, and Free Audio Converter!

Yet check out the attached screenshot.


The express install gives you the following wonderful pieces of 'software': The StartNow Toolbar and Dealply, as well as switching your search to Bing and setting your homepage to MSN.

To be fair, one can simply say no to this crapware, however, if you are going to foist your software as 'freeware', then should it not be truly free?

Maybe they should change their name to AdMake?
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40hz
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« Reply #1 on: November 18, 2011, 09:00:57 PM »

To be fair, one can simply say no to this crapware,

Yes. You can.

Sounds like a pretty fair deal to me.  smiley
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EĆ³in
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« Reply #2 on: November 18, 2011, 09:25:25 PM »

Or you could just not use this software which they worked very hard on and give away for free.
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Deozaan
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« Reply #3 on: November 18, 2011, 09:56:19 PM »

I dunno. I don't think it's accurate to call it "freeware in the truest sense of the word" because it's not free. The cost is living with bundled crapware or having to pay enough attention to the installation process to say no to the bundled crapware. And while that cost may be minor, in my opinion it is not the truest sense of freeware.
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y0himba
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« Reply #4 on: November 18, 2011, 11:39:05 PM »

I agree 100% with Deo.  Freeware is something that is given freely, no strings attached.  This has too many strings attached to it, and can now be classified as adware.  They are not giving it away for free if they are including adware with it, they are attempting to get money for it in a different way.  So it is no longer free.

They were installing a service in the background without the user's knowledge or permission, and it would run 24/7 even when the software wasn't running, transmitting data over the Internet.  

http://www.donationcoder....m/index.php?topic=27434.0

I finally got them to remove it, they claimed it was a 'bug'.  They then removed all references to the 'bug' and all Facebook discussions on it. Shortly after that, they start using this 950kb stub that connects, downloads the program and adware installers, rather than a direct download.

Also, there is the fact that they are using FFmpeg without credit, and trying to profit from it's use:

http://en.wikipedia.org/w.../Freemake_Video_Converter

Quote from: Wikipedia
Quote
FFmpeg has added Freemake Video Converter to its Hall of Shame. An issue tracker entry for this product, opened on 16 December 2010, says it is in violation of GNU General Public License as it is distributing components of FFmpeg project without including due credit. Ellora Assets Corporation has not responded yet.

The software is outstanding for what it does.  The folks behind it, not so much.  It is not so outstanding that there are not quite a few other TRUE freeware programs that do the same, or more.
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Josh
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« Reply #5 on: November 19, 2011, 07:07:05 AM »

Sounds like a fair deal to me...How dare the user be responsible for paying attention to what they are putting on their computer!

The software is free in that even with the bundled crapware being installed, you are still not paying a dime for the software. Free is free, let's not start making the word mean more than it should. That is why prisons are now "correctional institutes" and trashmen are "waste disposal engineers".
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mahesh2k
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« Reply #6 on: November 19, 2011, 07:32:21 AM »

What's the difference between this and OC ?
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mouser
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« Reply #7 on: November 19, 2011, 09:55:57 AM »

Quote
This has too many strings attached to it, and can now be classified as adware.

I do not think it's right to call this adware.

I'm not saying it's good or bad, just not adware.

I think the technical term for this is "bundling" with "opt out".

That is, the free program is being bundled with some other tools (which ARE themselves adware, an important point), and the default checkbox is set to install these other programs.

Bundling such software is troublesome, especially when the default is to install it, because you are guaranteed to end up with novice users installing stuff that they are unhappy with and do not know how to get rid of.  That's why I wouldn't package such stuff with my software.

Adware is when you have a piece of software which itself is displaying advertisements.

Now whether adware is better or worse than bundling is debatable and may depend on the specific implementation and what you bundle with..

As to whether it should still be called "freeware".. we've had this discussion before, I don't want to drag it up again too much since we've beaten that horse to death and what to call it isn't that important.
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mahesh2k
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« Reply #8 on: November 19, 2011, 10:49:53 AM »

Quote
Adware is when you have a piece of software which itself is displaying advertisements.

Starware and Freeze.net are two such programs that install bot in your system and check for active browser and show ads inside the browser when you search on google or similar other search engines. These type of adwares are hard to spot and if freemake is hosting such bot with this software on target system then surely it qualifies for adware. Ads don't need to be inside the software to qualify for adware.
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y0himba
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« Reply #9 on: November 19, 2011, 12:53:14 PM »

I haven't seen that however, the bot thing.  I am more concerned that they are allowed to promote this as FREE, yet they are attempting to get money with an attempt to use my system to generate income for themselves.

Adware is defined as:

Quote from: wikipedia
Adware, or advertising-supported software, is any software package which automatically plays, displays, or downloads advertisements to a computer. These advertisements can be in the form of a pop-up.[1] They may also be in the user interface of the software or on a screen presented to the user during the installation process. The object of the Adware is to generate revenue for its author. Adware, by itself, is harmless; however, some adware may come with integrated spyware such as keyloggers and other privacy-invasive software.[2][3][4]

As it is defined above, "..or on a screen presented to the user during the installation process" and "..the object of adware is to generate revenue for it's author".  This does both.  Adverts to install Startnow and Dealply are given during the install process, and the object of the advert to install this crapware is to generate revenue.

If this were free, they would not even request that I install adware.  I also thank that they rely on the Novice for some accidental income, so to speak.

It is the classic bait and switch.  They offer it for a while, talk it up like it is the best software ever and try to make folks think there is no replacement, then drop the adware in there for some quick revenue.

They are displaying a pattern of underhanded dealings, combining the hidden service, the fact that they are on the FFmpeg hall of shame with the adware, not  company I would like to do business with or a software i would recommend.
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y0himba
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« Reply #10 on: November 19, 2011, 12:54:18 PM »

I haven't seen that however, the bot thing.  I am more concerned that they are allowed to promote this as FREE, yet they are attempting to get money with an attempt to use my system to generate income for themselves.

Adware is defined as:

Quote from: wikipedia
Adware, or advertising-supported software, is any software package which automatically plays, displays, or downloads advertisements to a computer. These advertisements can be in the form of a pop-up.[1] They may also be in the user interface of the software or on a screen presented to the user during the installation process. The object of the Adware is to generate revenue for its author. Adware, by itself, is harmless; however, some adware may come with integrated spyware such as keyloggers and other privacy-invasive software.[2][3][4]

As it is defined above, "..or on a screen presented to the user during the installation process" and "..the object of adware is to generate revenue for it's author".  This does both.  Adverts to install Startnow and Dealply are given during the install process, and the object of the advert to install this crapware is to generate revenue.

If this were free, they would not even request that I install adware.  I also think that they rely on the Novice for some accidental income, so to speak.

It is the classic bait and switch.  They offer it for a while, talk it up like it is the best software ever and try to make folks think there is no replacement, then drop the adware in there for some quick revenue.

They are displaying a pattern of underhanded dealings, combining the hidden service, the fact that they are on the FFmpeg hall of shame with the adware, not  company I would like to do business with or a software i would recommend.
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mouser
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« Reply #11 on: November 19, 2011, 12:55:49 PM »

Just as a side note, although i can see the logic of calling it adware, i really think that showing some banner ads during installation (but not installing anything that shows ads or leaving anything installed on the user's pc), is just about the least harmful, most benign, most harmless thing a piece of software could do.  Frankly i'd be very happy to see all authors doing this if it raised them some money -- and i'd much rather they do this than do any bundling, etc.
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jgpaiva
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« Reply #12 on: November 19, 2011, 01:20:38 PM »

I'm sure there was some discussion here on DC about something very related to this (I think it was Renegade that posted it). I'd like to crosslink to the other thread but I can't find it now.
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y0himba
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« Reply #13 on: November 20, 2011, 08:00:47 AM »

I would not be opposed to viewing static adverts with a link to the product during an install, or even an uninstall process.  However attempting to or even asking me to install software I know to be tracking and crapware is unacceptable. I like the Open Candy model, do not download the software until you accept.  On offer, one advert, and then just say no or accept.  Once the user accepts, the software is then downloaded.

The way Freemake has it set up is already downloaded and selected, ready to deliver it's crapware payload, hoping the user will hit next.  Most folks now do just that, not paying attention.

I think we, as users, should take a stand, and not accept this way of doing business.  If it is advertised as free, it should be free, no strings attached.  Especially if the program is built using Open Source, Free, Or GNU software.  If the program is advertising/adware supported, it needs to be made abundantly clear, and a new category should be created so that truly free and great software can be differentiated from it.
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Josh
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« Reply #14 on: November 20, 2011, 08:07:13 AM »

Again, since malware has been running rampant for many years now, at what point do we require the end user to take some responsibility to watch the things they put on their computer? I would hope that educational programs exist to let users know to not click blind links, accepts attachments from strangers, or blindly click next through an installer.

As it is, this software is being given FOR FREE. How many users, like any other freeware, do you think actually contribute to the author? Many use free tools without any thought of compensating the author, and then whine when the author does something like this or makes the software payware, at which point they move on to another free product. At that point, the cycle goes round and round while the original product is bad mouthed for "selling out". Yet, what percentage of the user base actually supported the product with even a $1 donation?

If you being required to PAY ATTENTION, *GASP* what a concept *GASP*, during a one time installation is all that is required, how can this be considered bad? At what point is the author going outside his rights to ask for some form of compensation or support from the user community so he can receive some sort of compensation for his work?

This all ties into what I call the "entitled generation". Free software is nice but as soon as the develop shows any intent of trying to earn money, people whine and rage over it. I see nothing wrong with what Freemake is doing. The user IS RESPONSIBLE for what goes on their machine. They should be required to PAY ATTENTION and not just blindly click. I would rather see users take a stand against computer non-education and show users to pay attention and accept responsibility.
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y0himba
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« Reply #15 on: November 20, 2011, 08:27:17 AM »

That's just it though...the software is not being offered for 'free', the author is attempting to generate revenue with adware installs. So while it is free to use, it is not free, it generates revenue porided by the user.

Yes, authors of software should be compensated. If this company who has stolen FFmpeg without credit, has installed a background service without notifying the user and cannot explain why it transmits data 24/7, if tutelage need compensation then ask for donations or charge a fee.  Otherwise, promote this software as advertising supported. Whether or not the user installs it, it is still there in an attempt to support the software with installs and is advertised to me.

I also agree that the user needs to pay attention, however that is just a justification for unscrupulous companies/authors who take advantage of the sheep who allow it.
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Josh
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« Reply #16 on: November 20, 2011, 08:42:13 AM »

That is just it though, the software IS FREE. Even with the adware, you DO NOT pay a dime as you CHOSE to install the adware. You are not being forced, and the program does not advertise by itself, the third party bundled items do, however. In fact, this program makes it very easy to opt-out of the advertising. The software becomes ad supported when YOU install the adware component to support the author. I do not know about the FFmpeg issue, but I do know that the background service was removed. My issue ties deeper into the whole adware area. You are FREE to use the program without adware. Your system does not get loaded with the adware until you CHOOSE to install it. If the program installs ad-supporting material without asking the user, or bundles it into the core UI, then it IS adware.

I do not see any issues with them promoting this as free because, in all reality, it is free. The user is still not paying a dime even with the adware installed. Once you are required to pay something to use the program, then it stops being freeware. How about we stop trying to make 200 categories to classify a program? This is why services like geek squad exist and continue to rape users of their money, because consumers are no longer able to determine what is what. This software is free and does not attempt to deceive in any way. You are clearly presented with the option to not install the revenue generating component.

You say "ask for donations or charge a fee" and that ties into my original post. How many users will actually PAY/DONATE and how many will just complain that the author is even attempting to ask for money and move to something else? The pay/donate model often does not work for products that start out as free. Notice, I did not say always, but often. Users feel they are entitled to use software for free nowadays, without any sense of the amount of work which goes into coding the products.
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