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Author Topic: The software awards scam  (Read 16792 times)
sri
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« on: August 17, 2007, 12:48:49 PM »

Quote
I put out a new product a couple of weeks ago. This new product has so far won 16 different awards and recommendations from software download sites. Some of them even emailed me messages of encouragement such as “Great job, we’re really impressed!”. I should be delighted at this recognition of the quality of my software, except that the ’software’ doesn’t even run.

Talks about the unethical practice of the so-called download sites which don't even care to review the submissions and blindly issue a "5-star" award to every entry irrespective of whether it is genuine software or junk. Quite an interesting read!

http://successfulsoftware...the-software-awards-scam/

« Last Edit: August 17, 2007, 12:51:00 PM by mouser » Logged

sri
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« Reply #1 on: August 17, 2007, 12:55:05 PM »

This reminds me of the case of a prank by some guy who submitted random junk of scientific words to science journals and got them published in few.
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mouser
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« Reply #2 on: August 17, 2007, 01:00:26 PM »

Quote
This reminds me of the case of a prank by some guy who submitted random junk of scientific words to science journals and got them published in few.

For the page where they did that, along with actual video from them presenting the paper(!), and a paper generator, see: http://www.donationcoder....um/index.php?topic=4876.0
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mouser
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« Reply #3 on: August 17, 2007, 01:06:03 PM »

Back on topic, we should also post links to some of the software sites whose awards actually matter, because they are serious and done by real people who test the software and know what they are talking about:


What else?
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Lashiec
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« Reply #4 on: August 17, 2007, 01:12:08 PM »

My vote goes for FileHippo. Tiny site, but you've got the comfort to know the software really works, as they actually test the software on a VM (evident by some of their shots), and they only add quality software. They don't have awards, though smiley
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sri
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« Reply #5 on: August 17, 2007, 01:13:28 PM »

The author of the article I linked to in my original post recommends www.download-tipp.de. It's in German though.

Quote
Some download site owners did email me to say either “very funny” or “stop wasting my time”. Kudos to them for taking the time to check every submission. I recommend you put their sites high on your list next time you are looking for software:

www.filecart.com

www.freshmeat.net

www.download-tipp.de (German)
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mouser
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« Reply #6 on: August 17, 2007, 01:15:08 PM »

freshmeat is particularly good for linux software.
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cmpm
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« Reply #7 on: August 17, 2007, 05:38:32 PM »

http://www.versiontracker.com/windows/

a site that I came to know of recently
no awards though

just user comments and editors picks
don't know if they actually try the programs
but the site is well done imo
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PhilB66
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« Reply #8 on: August 17, 2007, 08:49:34 PM »


I would second that. I also like Mohawke's Best of the Best Free and Open Source Software Collection, The Portable Freeware Collection and ProgramURL (Windows only)
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Deozaan
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« Reply #9 on: August 17, 2007, 09:36:12 PM »

What about Zaine's Great Software list? Anyone got a URL for that?
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« Reply #10 on: August 17, 2007, 09:45:11 PM »

What about Zaine's Great Software list? Anyone got a URL for that?

Already listed by mouser
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Deozaan
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« Reply #11 on: August 17, 2007, 09:51:18 PM »

Already listed by mouser

Aha! Cool. I didn't see Zaine's name in there and didn't recognize the Anova domain...
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Renegade
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« Reply #12 on: August 18, 2007, 01:04:23 AM »

I posted my thoughts on this at JoS. It's dangerous... I think a can of worms has been opened and there're going to be some real problems.
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patteo
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« Reply #13 on: August 18, 2007, 02:20:43 AM »

  • SnapFiles is a very big software listing site, and i'm impressed that they actually take the time to try software and write minireviews, and take their own screenshots.  The opinions there are not as informed as on the sites above, but they are one of the only sites i know on this mass scale who are doing this seriously - http://www.snapfiles.com/


Sometime ago, I noticed a software that I had that was listed in snapfiles. I had bought it on the strength that it came with lifetime free upgrades as compared with its competitors.

But 3 years later and no development still.

So I posted a comment at www.snapfiles.com that there has been no upgrades since 20xx and mind you, you can actually work out the lack of upgrade at the author's site.

But the comment was never published. I checked back at www.snapfiles.com several times to confirm this non posting.

I'm not saying that Snapfiles is no good. Indeed, I do check there routinely. Just saying that you should take the positive comments with a large pinch of salt.
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mitzevo
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« Reply #14 on: August 18, 2007, 02:25:35 AM »

hey I was thinking of this recently..

I always come across some software with a ton of "badges" or 5/4/3/etc-star-award images.. Each time I look at the "awards"/"reviews" pages of the software, I see sites or "the award givers" I have never ever seen before.. It's like they are made up just to give it some [fake] "authority"

How many award giving software sites are there???  ohmy
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app103
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« Reply #15 on: August 18, 2007, 02:59:42 AM »

I posted my thoughts on this at JoS. It's dangerous... I think a can of worms has been opened and there're going to be some real problems.

If the crappy sites that never check anything and hand out bogus awards get hit with PAD spamming, then let it happen. It will make those sites easy for the consumer to spot and they won't bother with them any more.

That will leave only the quality sites left, that actually check what stuff they are posting on their pages.

Rather than being just a bad thing, I think it will be nothing but good.
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Renegade
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« Reply #16 on: August 18, 2007, 03:25:20 AM »

Rather than being just a bad thing, I think it will be nothing but good.

I thought that for a moment, but then thought again to myself that no matter what, another opportunity for spammers just isn't a good thing at all.

Moreover, they will devalue sites that actually matter for software authors. Not a good thing.

Somebody is going to pipe in that these kinds of sites are just garbage anyways and don't matter for authors, but I'm going to have to disagree.

I've got a lot of log data and gone through it. These millions of "nothing" sites do matter. They're the "long tail" where you always get a good amount of traffic after aggregating those sites results. Been there. Done that. They do matter. They might not be great sites, but they matter. "Everything Counts in Large Amounts..." Wink

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mouser
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« Reply #17 on: August 18, 2007, 10:04:21 AM »

A problem with these sites is they clog up the search results, and make it harder to find the worthwhile sites.

Moreover, because they are all about advertising money, the search engines have a vested interest in not filtering them out, and they are more focused on search-engine optimization and attracting search engines then real sites.

So basically we have a vicious circle where the least useful sites are the most focused on getting high placement on search engines, and search engines make big profits from them.  Not just with software sites of course but most content.
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nevf
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« Reply #18 on: August 18, 2007, 05:29:15 PM »

Almost every day I get e-mails from these downloads sites telling of the latest and greatest award I've one for Surfulater. These awards are worthless, useless and misleading to folks reviewing software. For these reasons I do not include any of the awards on the Surfulater web site. All these people want is links back to their sites.

And it seems like there are one or two new download sites opening every week.

As for Zane's listing which is quite good, he won't include Surfulater!

My experience with Snapfiles isn't good either, but I've not checked them recently.

It is such a pity there aren't any/many? good software review sites, other than DC of course.
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jgpaiva
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« Reply #19 on: August 20, 2007, 09:02:21 AM »

I cast another vote for snapfiles.
Since they refused the inclusion of GridMove with VERY good reasons to do so, i've trusted snapfiles several times and only found good software through them.
Now i just hope to have GridMove at the level of being included in snapfiles Wink

PS: at the time, they complained about not having instalation nor help file in a decent format (now it's a simple, quite big txt).
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Mark0
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« Reply #20 on: August 21, 2007, 06:16:19 PM »

Submitting a fake-software was a nice thing to try! smiley

I for one am "guilty" too of showing some of those awards and linking back. At firsts, some years ago, when I released the firsts versions of TrID, I was pretty excited when the first xx stars notifications showed up on my mailbox, and promptly edited the webpages to reflect the achievements. Then started to notice the trend, and the "little magic" vanished! smiley I have almost stopped adding new awards, but haven't removed most of them probably out of simple laziness more than other.

Anyway, check this comment posted on the corresponding story on Slashdot:
The Software Awards Scam - Been there, done that - by Anonymous Coward
Quote
[...]
But then I thought, Hey, most of these guys have some amateur frontpage-site or some badly used CMS with some crappy logo of a smiling dog or something. I can do that better. Much better. In fact, I had the system of a fully automated site with a webcrawler looking for .pads, autogenerated reviews and awards so people would link back to it suddenly right on my mind. And then I did it. I wouldn't say that I invented it but I didn't know of a similar site at the time. And yes, I cloned it to various domains.

Long story short, my network generates around 2500$ ad-revenue a month today, which is a lot of money over here, and I have a clear conscience. It is perfectly legal, I pay my taxes.
[...]

Bye!
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Darwin
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« Reply #21 on: August 21, 2007, 07:23:11 PM »

Interesting story, Mark0 - thanks for highlighting it. I sort of feel for the guy - people were ripping him off and I guess he felt that if he couldn't beat them, he could join them. I'm a bit unclear as to whether he set up a site to do exactly what was done to him or if he set it up so that both he and the software developers were able to get a piece of the pie (I *hope*, without much conviction, that this is what was done), so don't know if he is Prince John or Robin Hood here. Oh well, either way, interesting.
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« Reply #22 on: August 31, 2007, 04:01:56 PM »

It is such a pity there aren't any/many? good software review sites, other than DC of course.
One software review site that I've read for several years is the Neat Net Tricks Software Reviews at http://www.neatnettricks.com/SoftwareReviews/.  They have a panel of reviewers; usually between 4 and 6 people review a given piece of software.  Each describes his/her experience with it, what the strengths and weaknesses are, etc.  By having several people reviewing the same software program, you get a better sense than just one person's views and prejudices.  I've bought several programs based on enthusiastic reviews from NNT, and I've never been sorry.
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Darwin
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« Reply #23 on: August 31, 2007, 04:28:56 PM »

Thanks for the link cyberdiva. I always come across these reviews when googling and forget to bookmark them, so never know when I'm going to find them again. I like them too and am off to bookmark it NOW!

 Thmbsup
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mouser
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« Reply #24 on: August 31, 2007, 04:36:17 PM »

We've posted about neat tricks before, but they definitely deserve another mention  thumbs up
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