24 September 2012

Software Wrapping - A Fierce NO From

The download files never contain anything more than we say on the download pages - a clean, digitally signed installation file. We will not abandon our conviction that this is the only honorable way to go, but unfortunately some software companies do not agree.

Wrapping at
Calendar Browser iconA year ago we rapidly withdrew all products from the cnet site, after we discovered that this well known download site had started to add other products to the download files they hosted. As we could not be absolutely certain that this would not happen also to the applications, we immediately stopped marketing our products via cnet.

Unlucky process of change
TimeCard iconAt the time of our withdrawal from I thought this ugly phenomenon called wrapping was a temporary blunder from their side, and I could not imagine that more companies would follow suit – at least not big and earlier reliable companies! But that is what has happened, and we consider it a real problem.

Frustrating for downloaders
Folder HelpDesk iconWith wrapping users  get extra software they often neither want nor need, and sometimes those programs make changes in their computers that are difficult to correct. The "present" may also be hard to get rid of. This is especially troublesome for people who are not experts on their computers and must call on help to solve the problems.

KBase iconEven if there is a box to uncheck if you don't want the extra software, we cannot accept the practice of wrapping. It is too easy to miss this box, and even users who discover it and decide to leave it checked might not understand the implications of downloading the whole package and not just the product they wanted from the beginning.

Hampering for software vendorsHelpDesk OSP icon
Not only the downloaders are affected by the wrapping. We have noted a decrease in the number of downloads from the site, even though we sell as much as before. But how much more would we sell if people were not afraid of downloads?

Document Tagger iconEarlier evaluators downloaded and installed the application first and then came to us with questions. Nowadays it is more common that evaluators first contact us and ask a number of questions and then download the product. I assume people want to feel convinced that our product is interesting to them before they "risk" a download, and they also want to be assured that we are here and willing to assist them if there are issues.

The honorable way
Kanban Task Manager iconWithin the team we all agree that we should continue giving good information about our installation files and only give downloaders what we have informed about. Everything else would be to deceive evaluators, and we would never want to do that to people who take their time to try our applications.

Wrapping foreign products into the downloads might give us a few extra euros or dollars in the short run, but in the long run it would destroy our good reputation. And we would feel really bad about that extra money!

If you wish to read more on this subject from a downloader's point of view, I recommend an article on wrapping by the knowledgable Diane Poremsky at Slipstick.

By Peter Kalmstrom
CEO and Systems Designer Business Solutions

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