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Misleading and dodgy installers that trick...

jjj's Photo jjj 23 Nov 2011
This is the latest manifestation and from a googleclicks advert -
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and is what non logged in viewers are getting.
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marko's Photo marko 23 Nov 2011
Thanks jjj, although we would really need the offending URL also ... I can't click the ad to get that, because then I'm clicking my own ads and we're not supposed to encourage anyone else to click it - both circumstances go against the rules of Google Adsense and could result in a ban from the advertising program, however if anyone is able to provide URL details of any ad on our site that takes you to a negatively rated website please provide us with the URL and we'll check it out and ban the URL from the advertising program. I did manage to catch one URL which was in the advert itself which is ilivid.com - that is now removed from the Google ad program.

Unfortunately it does seem that some advertisers that are a little less than reputable manage to get through the system, and it's those URL's we need so we can enter their details in the ban list for our Google Adsense account.
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jjj's Photo jjj 23 Nov 2011
Yes Marco its really down to GOOGLE Adsense to sort out and no doubt in time they will.
Since my last post I was thinking what if ? and went to your latest entry in media converters and this came up.
They really do seem to be getting closer to your sites appearance. I will send the url.

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marko's Photo marko 23 Nov 2011
Thanks jjj, will await the URL and check it out.

Adverts have been the subject of a lot of consideration for us over the years, personally I'd love nothing better than to simply remove them outright although the little revenue they do bring in helps towards the server costs. I've even considered making the site a yearly subscription but I feel that would just make a lot of people go elsewhere for their downloads, even though I think FreewareBB is probably by far the most trustworthy, honest and safest freeware site there is - only thing we can do for now is block the URL's of those advertisers who we find are not the kind of sites we would want to promote.

Unfortunately, as for the ads themselves, unless they lead to dodgy websites then I don't think we will be able to add them to the ban list - if we simply start banning adverts like this we'll probably only be left with a handful of adverts that can be served which means our potential revenue will be dramatically reduced too. Thing is, ads are really only meant to be shown to those who are passing by or have a post count of less than 10 - it's relatively easy for people to post a few threads or make a few replies and when they have 10 of them, all ads disappear from their view - it's a relatively small price to pay I think for the removal of ads and when someone does participate in the site we like to think of it as a kinda 'thank you' by removing the ads :good:
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marko's Photo marko 23 Nov 2011
I received your PM jjj, and just to keep things transparent on the site, as we always do, I'll post back here on the forums for all to see.

The first URL you mentioned in the PM was soft.foxtab.com, although that site has a rather favorable reputation both in WOT and SiteAdvisor and on many other sites across the net, so I'm guessing it's really the appearance of the ad which is questionable.

Hastily, I'd probably agree that it does give off the impression of a download button and as such some would be likely to hit it thinking they were downloading from our site although as I say above the issue with this is there are most probably many other advertisements like this coming from Google Adsense and banning them all would be somewhat impractical. I also think our download button is one of the most obvious download buttons on a download site, placed right at the top of the listing whereas most others are hidden at the bottom or along the side and usually wrapped with other ads to purposely mislead people into clicking an ad instead of the download button itself.

As it is just now, we have many people on the site who will use ad-blockers and all manner of other tools to suppress ads from being shown on our site and if we started removing ads because they give off the appearance of a download button then we're just removing one ad to be replaced by another, which may be along the same lines. Eventually, if we continue to ban those ads like this we'd be left with virtually no ads to serve, and the future of the site would be in question as what little revenue we have coming in at the moment from these ads still helps towards the costs of the site. Instead, I'd reiterate what I said above, and that is the removal of all ads is automatic for anyone with a post count of 10 or more and I really do think it's a small price to pay.

As for the other URL (http://www.magicaudiotools.com/free-m4a-to-mp3-converter) you mention that ordering anything from them takes us to plimus.com. This is where it becomes a little tricky, but I'll try to explain the best I can. plimus.com is merely an 'agent' for software developers - when a developer wants to sell software, they will use someone like plimus.com to process their orders for them, they take a little cut of the order and pass the rest of the revenue along to the developer. If a developer releases software which is bad, it's often the case that the user believes plimus.com to be the culprit (as it was them that 'processed' the order) and will then rate their website negatively, which is probably why those guys and other agents such as shareit or regnow have negative ratings in WOT, etc. It's not necessarily those guys who are at fault, it's the unscrupulous developers who are to blame most often. As for those 'agents' ripping people off by charging them more than they should, well that's something I can't comment on unfortunately as that's going into the whole world of shareware and payware which is something I know very little about and have no involvement in as we're a freeware site but again, if we start removing good developer sites because they use an agent to process paid versions of their software who is rated negatively (and most times incorrectly) we're just opening a whole can of worms for ourselves I think.

Finally, you mention a whois check on magicaudiotools.com leads to PrivacyProtect.org which ensures anonymity for domain name, believe it or not we also use that service as without it my personal home address, telephone number and other private details would be available for anyone to see online and I would be subject to many annoying telephone calls and spam emails all wanting to give me a great deal on time-shares or something else ridiculous - it's a sad fact today that a lot of webmasters today have to use services like this to protect their personal details, as there is always someone out there waiting to pounce and use them in some way.

I do appreciate your concerns and thank you for actually taking the time you do to bring these things to my attention, but in circumstances like this it's an impossible task and one which would be never ending. Until we reach the day where we are able to remove all ads from the site, vigilance is needed and I'd encourage all users to use their own discretion but where any ad takes us to a badly rated website it's an open and shut case for us, that URL will be banned outright :)
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