Should add-on software and toolbars be OPT-IN rather than OPT-OUT?
Posted 02 January 2011 - 11:35 AM
I'm sure I know the answer to this poll, but I'm throwing open the doors for debate on this one.
Recently, I've noticed a lot more developers including "additional" software with their installers, this ranges from the usual suspects like toolbars, desktop shortcuts to other "paid" or "trial" software and all manner of other stuff we didn't particularly ask for when downloading their software.
It's always been my view, and the view of most here on FreewareBB that if the install routine gives the end user a choice on whether to install these "add-ons" then it's acceptable. However, it would appear that some developers are now beginning to make this "add-on" software rather tricky to spot and are using terms like "recommended" to entice users to accept the default install which includes these "add-on" items.
Some are even using other tricks to confuse users, like greying out the custom install options to make it look as though there are no other choices available!.
As I've mentioned before, it really is quite impractical to try and remove all software which includes "add-ons" but I'm now looking for reports of any software our members find that could be considered misleading in any way, software which "recommends" you install all the additional nonsense and software which gives you little choice but to install these "add-ons".
It's understandable and acceptable that freeware developers look to raise some income for their work but by including these additional items in their software installs they are now only promoting a growing problem of toolbar adware, home page changes and all manner of other issues for end users which will ultimately turn a lot of people off freeware.
We're also looking for support from our members to stop developers from using misleading tactics and start making this additional software "OPT-IN" rather than opt-out. This means users have to choose to install these "add-ons" rather than choose not to.
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Posted 02 January 2011 - 01:23 PM
Posted 02 January 2011 - 01:25 PM
I see friends computers FULL of toolbars, leaving any browser to work with and on a basic 1024 resolution, this is not too practical.
I never use any toolbars, 3 rows at the top of a browser is more than enough.
If the software IS so useful, then contribute to it! A perfect example (to me!) is Geosetter, I use this and find it very useful and have contributed. If it started adding compulsary software, then I would find something else. (or carry on using the older versions!)
But I am old and set in my ways
Posted 02 January 2011 - 05:03 PM
I think we all have to remember that freeware developers do rely sometimes on income from things like toolbar installs so we shouldn't be too quick to talk of banning software utilising these things, but I do understand marko's point where if they are misleading people into installing things they haven't asked for then yes, this has to be looked at and if necessary dealt with.
Posted 03 January 2011 - 02:15 AM
@Google - I appreciate your point but the trouble is; the majority of average users do not properly check the options when going through the installation process, and this is exactly what the developers are relying on. So the extras will be inadvertently installed on as many machines as possible.
It would be different if said extras were connected in some way to the original software, offering enhancements and such but we are talking totally unrelated products here and having those as part of an opt-out system is, IMO, pretty underhanded. It would be just as simple/easy for developers to offer them as opt-in and then no unwary users would end up with unwanted toolbars, changed search providers, changed home page, etc.
Posted 03 January 2011 - 02:40 AM
The devil is in the details and one must be ready to read between the lines in order to see what is really going on.
At any rate, opt-ins are the more casual approach to marketing "plug-ins" and other commercial vendor products offending far fewer in the long run and with a more relaxed, low pressure atmosphere. You will attract more bees with honey and more flies with dog duty. A good philos is cut the crap and share the sugar -- keeps everybody happy and all else said, the software developers could always post commercial ad spots on their sites and offer opt-in mailing lists for "commercial third party partner offers." It is just good marketing sense and to be honest it seems as though the digital marketing arena has fallen straight onto its head -- repeatedly. The present stage of marketing is plagued with ill-equipped and inexperienced developer groups whom know programming but could not see their elbow from their butt holes when it comes to marketing; sadly marketing really is not that hard to wrap your head around if you have access to good literature.
Opt-ins over opt-outs all the way especially the "home page switchers" -- annoying little creatures.
What's up with the recent rash of multiple opt-out bars and home page switching installation options with some apps; I use an app as standard that recently employed an entire installer wizard dialog to the "opt-outs" that include not one but, two bars and a home page switch. If the dev team that made that app wasn't notorious for honesty I would flame the butts so fast...
Its enough to establish a good reputation that certain groups can get away with this kind of junk but, there are those of whom might not know of the projects level of trust and drop them like a hot rock. This is a vicious circle and an old one that has been spoken of in commercial circa for a long time -- big no-no. The third party groups will be watching how you present their articles too looking for signs that they are being subject to or made party to behavior and patterns that leave the intended audience in question. In motor sports racing this is when the black flags come out.
Jim H. made an excellent point about user un-awareness which will result in the end user getting upset while having to go through the process of resetting things like home pages and disabling unwanted tool bars repeatedly. Intuitive programming and marketing is limit the exposure of things that will bring defamatory conduct back upon you in your market. The average user will make a mistake and you will get the blame, if you set things up where a user makes a mistake you are a saboteur. Gotta watch that crap.
I hope that I have bored everyone to tears and wish everyone, all the same, a happy and productive new year.
Posted 04 January 2011 - 10:43 PM
I did expect to see most votes for "YES" and hopefully if enough developers see this thread they may reconsider their approach to third party software in installers, somehow I very much doubt they will as long as there is a financial benefit to them however.
Remember though, any software you find that changes your home page or installs additional software without your consent (i.e. does not provide the ability to un-check boxes to decline the offer of third-party installations) or which seems to be misleading or confusing should be reported to us straight away and we will take the necessary action