Something Interesting is Happening at Gizmo's Freeware



Something interesting is happening at Gizmo’s Freeware. We are going to start reviewing a limited number of paid software products.

No, we are not changing the focus of the site nor are we going “commercial.” Our principle focus will remain free products just as it has always been.

The move to adding some paid software has been prompted by three factors:

First, there are many excellent mobile apps that cost a tiny amount of money, some as little as 99 cents. For many people these low cost apps are perceived to cost so little as to be free. It makes no sense to exclude them from our site particularly when the quality of some of these low cost apps is class leading.

Second, some of the best software programs in a given class are paid products. If I look at my own computer there are several products I’ve bought because I feel they do a better job than any free product. Most of us are in the same position –we own at least one commercial program or app.

Given this fact, it would be hypocritical for us to proclaim that free software is always best and also unethical for us to be aware of a superior paid product yet not tell our readers about it.

The third and final factor is that many of our readers want us to review commercial products. I know this because of the dozens of emails I’ve received over the years. Mostly these emails argue along the following lines: “Gizmo I love free stuff but sometimes I just want the best even if costs extra. Why don’t you give me some options and let me decide whether the extra features are worth the money.”

We are not going to have reviews of commercial software in all categories. Instead we will only have commercial reviews for categories where we believe that there are paid products that are better than their freeware equivalents. I expect this to be a limited number.

To kick off this process I’ve written a set of reviews for commercial VPN services and we hope to have this online this week. I’ve used a commercial VPN myself for the last two years because I could find no free VPN that provided the features and level of service I wanted. Based on my own experience I’m sure this new set of VPN reviews will be really useful to our readers as well.


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This is a brilliant idea. I view Gizmo's Freeware as my "go to" site for all kinds of solutions and I know the site can be trusted. Reviewing paid apps is a great move, especially in light of the fact that the reviews will be done under very specific, focused parameters.Well done!

Bravo! There's a real need for this. Currently, one of the best ways of seeing an actual user review of commercialware is to look at GOTD and read the comments of the paid-for software that's offered as a giveaway for 24 hours on there. (That said, and this is no criticism of GOTD, the majority of what's offered isn't of premier league substance anyway -- ye gods, I'm so tired of FFMpeg rip-offs. . .) I have a mix of freeware and commercialware on my pooters, selecting whatever seems to me to be the best for the job. Amongst my favourites are the (to me) indispensable Movavi Photo Editor, Revo PRO, and Malwarebytes PRO, this latter which I was fortune enough to buy when it was still lifetime-licensed, though I wouldn't object to paying a recurring rental fee were I to alight upon it now (not, however, with anything from Adobe.) There are all kinds of things, good and bad, which TSA can say about commercialware in its usual objective authoritative fashion, and thus spare the rest of us from having to contend with the likes of jvPowertools and iObit's Protected Folder when it comes to sounding deserved alarm bells.

Great move!
I love this site, and what you do here. Although I am a lover of freeware, I usually contribute to Dev's if it is something I can use daily. I have ended up paying for some of my security programs, including VPN and Antilogger, products with aggressive attitudes toward being up to date. Can't wait to see what comes up in this new format!

I would like to say thank you, also, for staying on top of the various aspects, both good and bad. of Windows 10. I am an early adapter, and the temptation looms large, as it it did with Windows 8. The common sense articles I have read here over the past months have allowed me to pull back, if just for now, and consider being very prudent about making that jump into what appears a vacuum for the collection of personal information.

A sensible decision Gizmo. I love your newsletter and by including some paid software it makes sense. I always pay for internet security. Maybe the free options are safe and perhaps I'm too cautious in assuming that the paid options are more reliable.

I heartily applaud this change in direction. I'm 69 and have been using PC's since the early 80's. I'm a diehard Windows fan... Apple has some excellent software and hardware, but their ongoing arrogance and feeling of superiority is a turn off for me... coupled with overpriced hardware. Windows has always been more cost effective. If corporate America thought Apple products were worth it they would have gone in that direction decades ago.

The evolution of free software has been something to watch over the years. Some of the products are absolutely excellent, and because your site has focused on reviewing the best of those choices, you enjoy an avid following and I thank you sincerely. I've discovered many good programs because of information found in your reviews.

The final reason I applaud this move is the evolution of paid software pricing. Overall, it's a lot more reasonable today than in years past. I've spent a fortune for software to obtain the latest and greatest following new releases. Many of those upgrades are much more reasonable today than in years past. Lots of us are interested in using the best product to meet a need we have (or perceive that we do), and if it costs $40 - $100 or so to own it, we would if we thought it was the best suited for the task. That's a lot different than hundreds of dollars we have all spent over years of PC and software use.

Your site remains at the top of my favorites, and this move will only make it more so. Thanks for all you have done and continue doing.

Agree completely Glen, I just posted a similar response. Oh, and for the record, I'm 68 and have been an avid compouter user for work and play since IBM PS1 and 2 days



Thanks for your comment KBCowboy. I remember my PS2 in the early 80's with a whopping 20MB hard drive... I thought I had the cat's meow (and did compared to what I had previously). Like you, I gladly buy commercial products if they are the best for the job. Fortunately, they usually don't cost today what they did earlier in my computing life.

VERY COOL, thank you Gizmo!

Full support, This site has, since I joined years ago, been a model of ethical and professional standard reviews without bias.
There is absolutely no reason that the approach to reviewing paid programs will be any different.

+1 to lesam's comment.

Sounds a good and reasonable decision Gizmo!

I've been a loyal follower of Gizmos for several years now and I know they have reviewed pretty much every freeware program that has been available over that time. It makes sense to provide some information on the better paid apps rather than doing a rehash of freeware products that haven't changed much in the past year. I hope the staff continue to provide articles on improving computer security and efficiency because those are very informative and useful regardless of whether you use freeware or commercial software.