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Old 11. Apr 2011, 01:33 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Default just my two cents...

In reply to Dr Apps's point-by-point reply to Gizmo's article, I'd personally raise some major general concerns based partly on observations by MC:
  • Dr Apps talks as if there was a standard way in which OpenCandy was presented to users and activated/installed on their machines. But MC's experience does not support this: "My own research suggests that not all incidences of the code are the same, i.e. some vendors may negotiate different terms with OC for how the code is included and/or operates." I believe this is an important issue for users which OpenCandy must address transparently.
  • MC also reported that he found "the whole setup highly confusing and my assumption was it had been purposely designed this way." As a computer user, I feel that any request to make any installation that I did not specifically request/need is a significant annoyance. If, on top of that, the process is unclear or confusing then I find the situation distinctly unsettling. In the absence of extreme clarity by OpenCandy, how can the reassurances made by Dr Apps be expected to convince me or other critical users that OC is no more than an annoyance?
  • The relevance to users of these two transparency issues is amplified by the unenviable reputation that OpenCandy has for trustworthiness (and their apparent inability to address this issue despite considerable forum activity - see comment by Anonymousgh here). Dr App's insistence in supporting the tenuous claim that OpenCandy is not Adware by using the sort of arguments one might expect to hear in a court of law rather than in respectable company pagerank only compounds my diffidence.
At the same time, I think it fair to recognize that Dr Apps did attempt a reply to the issues raised in Gizmo's article. And he did distinguish between the concerns Gizmo expressed for users (to which he attempted a rebuttal) and questions regarding Gizmo's site policy (for which he expressed his respect).
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Old 11. Apr 2011, 02:03 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob View Post
In reply to Dr Apps's point-by-point reply to Gizmo's article, I'd personally raise some major general concerns based partly on observations by MC:

"My own research suggests that not all incidences of the code are the same, i.e. some vendors may negotiate different terms with OC for how the code is included and/or operates."
As to how the code operates, I have this first hand from a developer that uses OC.

"I have it set to automatically opt out, so the user has to choose to accept an offer for OpenCandy to install anything on their computer"

This suggests that the developer can influence how OC behaves once installed.
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Old 11. Apr 2011, 03:33 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by garth View Post

This suggests that the developer can influence how OC behaves once installed.
This is my understanding too.

One other general point. Despite the flow of information and arguments either way, I'm finding this just as confusing now as I did when it first surfaced. Certainly the talk is serving to keep OC in the headlights and as no publicity is bad publicity they no doubt regard this as a success.

Trying to simplify the whole thing, when Ford or anyone else make cars they turn out blue ones, silver ones etc., and we all have our favorites. If they were to turn out a lime green model with purple doors then no doubt very few consumers would want it. This is where I feel we are. No matter if OC be evil or the ray of hope for developers and the rest of us it's being promoted as, the vast majority of our consumers don't want it. If in six months time this has changed then no doubt we will continue to service the interests of our members in line with such a shift of opinion.
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Old 11. Apr 2011, 03:47 PM   #14 (permalink)
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This from the OC Q&A:
Quote:
Q: What does ‘opt-in’ and ‘opt-out’ mean? Are OpenCandy-powered recommendations ‘opt-out’ or ‘opt-in’?

A: For software recommendations, opt-in refers to offers where nothing is preselected or where the box next to “do not install” is selected by default, while opt-out refers to offers where “install” is the default option.

On the OpenCandy Software Network we allow our developer and advertiser partners to make their own choices concerning how they wish to recommend software or be recommended. Some developers choose to recommend an application through an opt-out offer as a way of communicating how strongly they recommend a particular piece of software to their users.

Regardless of the manner in which a given developer chooses to make their recommendations, each product being recommended on our network must still pass all of our strict policies enforcing honesty, transparency and a top-notch user experience.
Originally OC opt-in was the only choice which made OC more palatable to many reviewers.
Later they gave the developers the choice of opt-out.

I love how they word it to show "how strongly they feel" about the software offered. When it was about money-when users have to opt-out of downloading more users will download the offered software.
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Old 11. Apr 2011, 04:52 PM   #15 (permalink)
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I love how they word it to show "how strongly they feel" about the software offered.
I was going to make one of my seriously unfunny but nevertheless well intentioned humorous comments about this, but then thought better of it
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Old 11. Apr 2011, 06:37 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Talking Ford Prefect strikes again

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Originally Posted by MidnightCowboy View Post
...as no publicity is bad publicity they no doubt regard this as a success.
So any publicity is good publicity? You may be right. Certainly it would be for a low budget film, an untalented ski jumper, or a small political party. But I'm not so sure that Tiger Woods would agree, or Wayne Rooney even [sorry MC ]. And I'm not sure whether Rupert Murdoch thinks he's getting the sort of publicity he really wants right now for News Of The World.

What about OC's showing on Gizmo's? My guess - and it's only a guess - is that it won't make much difference either way for a company that already has something of a shaky reputation. If I try googling "OC" either alone or coupled with some likely search terms (like adware, malware etc), most results don't seem to be particularly flattering... apart from their own site of course. Not the sort of stuff to reassure me if I was trying to decide whether to trust their bundled installers. And I rather doubt our own contribution to the pile will make much difference to the overall picture.

Personally, I feel quite happy that we've allowed an open debate which has elicited a range of views.

Last edited by Bob; 11. Apr 2011 at 06:48 PM.
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Old 11. Apr 2011, 06:38 PM   #17 (permalink)
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This is where I feel we are. No matter if OC be evil or the ray of hope for developers and the rest of us it's being promoted as, the vast majority of our consumers don't want it.
There are definitely a lot more comments against than there are in favour, but it will be useful to see what comments start appearing on the reviews featuring apps bundled with OC once all the notifications are in place.

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Originally Posted by MidnightCowboy View Post
I was going to make one of my seriously unfunny but nevertheless well intentioned humorous comments about this, but then thought better of it
Yay
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Old 12. Apr 2011, 11:47 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by garth View Post
As to how the code operates, I have this first hand from a developer that uses OC.

"I have it set to automatically opt out, so the user has to choose to accept an offer for OpenCandy to install anything on their computer"

This suggests that the developer can influence how OC behaves once installed.
That's right, but there's a bit more to it.

The default for offers is "opt-in". That forces the user to make a decision, yes or no.

I have seen 1 and only 1 offer that is opt-out by default, and that is market specific for Russia.

So, those are the defaults. All but 1 are opt-in.

Now, you can toggle the default OC settings to "manual", which allows you to choose which offers can be displayed in your installer. e.g. If you hate Microsoft, you can choose to not allow displaying the Microsoft offers (IE8, IE9, and Bing toolbar). It also allows you to set *some*, not all, only *some* offers to opt-out. About 50% of offers *can* be set to opt-out.

For example, you cannot set the Real Player or the Microsoft offers to opt-out.

Keep in mind that I'm reporting exactly what I've seen and verified. There's no speculation, no guesswork, and no conjecture above. However, in the past something could have been different. I can't speak to that. I can only speak to what I know now.
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Old 12. Apr 2011, 11:54 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by mr6n8 View Post
I do not view the position of Gizmo's as an attack. If it were an "attack", then products with OC would have been banned. Gizmo's article on OC is clear that there is no evidence that OC is malicious.

We have visitors with varying levels of experience in software and to be responsible to the less informed, it is necessary to advise of any extraneous addons that are not necessary to the functioning of a product.

Many of the less experienced users are under the impression that these additional softwares are necessary to the product they intended to download.

Which is my concern with OC, toolbars etc.-Essentially they prey on the "weak"
Weak being those less experienced users.

Why is the OC process mandatory during install?
Why not a screen giving the user the option-explaining the needs of the developer of the software and the fact that the software suggested by OC is not necessary to use the underlying software.

Why isn't it clearer on the suggested software page that the suggested software is not necessary for the underlying software to function?
I have not received an OC suggestion, but from the images I have seen of the suggestions, there is no such disclaimer.

Why is there an "opt out" process with OC?
Meaning that the user must take a step to refuse a software suggestion. It is my understanding that this is a decision of the software developer using OC.

The answer to all of those is that it is less likely that a user will download the suggested software. Which means that the inexperienced users are more likely to download the extraneous software that they may or may not need.

Edit: I do understand you defense. You have selected this as part of your install process and in that sense it is a reflection on you.
I also believe that OC is preferable to toolbars etc. Although I do not know how selective OC is in choosing the software it suggests, it appears from what I have seen that the softwares suggested are legitimate. I have not seen a listing of eligible softwares at the OC site, so I can not say for certain that this is so.

Regarding attack, that was lazy on my part. The comments section here included that. I didn't distinguish or I wasn't clear about that.

But I understand your concern about inexperienced users. That puts your position in perspective better.

A friend of mine loathes OC, and has a scathing review of it here.

She's got a list of some OC powered installers there that she updates:
  • aMSN
  • Any Video Converter
  • ApexDC++
  • aTube Catcher
  • CDBurnerXP Pro
  • CrystalDiskInfo
  • DarkWave Studio
  • Dexclock
  • Driver Sweeper
  • Duplicate Cleaner
  • DVDVideoSoft products
  • eRightSoft products,including Super
  • ExtractNow
  • FL Studio
  • Free YouTube Downloader
  • Frostwire
  • IE7Pro
  • Image Tuner
  • IZArc
  • kantaris
  • Media Info
  • MediaCoder
  • MediaInfo
  • mIRC
  • Miro
  • Office 2010 Trial Extender
  • Orbit Downloader
  • PrimoPDF
  • PSP Video
  • RedKawa
  • SIW
  • Soldat
  • Startup Manager
  • StepMania
  • Super Simple Photo Resizer << That's me
  • TechTracker
  • Trillian Astra
  • True Burner
  • Unlocker
  • Vistaglazz
  • WebShot
  • WinSCP

There are some excellent titles in there.

She and I will never agree on the topic. Meh... Y'know... Can't agree on everything.

What I don't like is that she lumps me in with spyware. I don't do that. Could I? Sure. It's not that hard to write malware. I have code in software that I've written that's a core part of a lot of malware. But, it also has many legitimate uses. If I were doing something naughty, I would have no problem being accused of it. I'm not though, so I do take issue there.

There's no way to please everyone though. My neighbour is quite proud of the fact that he's not paid a cent for any of his software, and I don't mean he's got FOSS or freeware. That's one end of the spectrum. I'm on the other end of the spectrum with enough money spent on licenses to buy a nice new car. Not a Bently, but not a Proton either.

I've spoken privately with some of the people at OpenCandy, and I honestly believe that they are out to come up with one of the best ways for developers to fund their development, and a fun, novel way to introduce new software to users.

There needs to be a balance in there somewhere. I think OC has an excellent balance. It's far in the clear for any privacy concerns. (I've posted information on that and what information is communicated in my blog post Opening Up OpenCandy.)



For inexperienced users, that's a tough issue. It seems to me that having reviewers say that OC is there is a good thing. What I'd be concerned about is labeling like my friend who I mentioned above. There's no need to be an alarmist. But communicating the facts openly can't hurt. I don't write spyware, and never will. I've been asked to do it before. I said no.


But you're bang on there saying, "it is a reflection on you."

I'm fine with people choosing not to use my software. It's not for everyone. But I don't see any need to start insulting me (it's happened - not saying that you are) for trying to make simple, easy to use, and free software available to anyone that wants it. Rather than looking a gift horse in the mouth, it's like spitting in the horse's face.




Here's a slightly different perspective...

The example on the review page here shows IZArc.

Now, I've worked in that sector, and I can tell you that the compression software market is incredibly competitive and extremely difficult. Keywords that you need to rank for are more competitive than the first few porn keywords that pop into your head. I've checked. The lossless compression market is one of the most crowded, most competitive, and least profitable out there. I know people that write compression software, and they're often 1-man-bands. WinZip's revenue shrinks every year. It's not a good market to get into. It's hard. Very hard.

IZArc has been around for quite a while, and a lot of people like it. Now, with OC, the author has a way to try and get paid for some of his work.

Scaring people away from him will hurt him.

He has nothing to fear from the truth because he's not doing anything wrong. He does have something to fear from alarmism though.



Quote:
Originally Posted by MidnightCowboy View Post
Maybe my meaning wasn't that clear. I'm not hostile towards developers at all. After all, we'd be in a bit of a sorry state here without them

What I meant to convey was it isn't up to me to tell folks how they should or should not fund their efforts and then distribute it afterwards. I am though entitled to comment on the general circumstances as is everyone else. Ultimately folks like me will vote with their feet but there will always be enough of the others around to make producing this kind of software inclusion a lucrative enough business. The figures from the AV Comparatives security survey I posted in the security thread earlier demonstrate this well enough. Just because it's possible though, doesn't make it right and I think the feedback we have received so far demonstrates that adequately enough.
Got it!

Regarding this:

Quote:
Originally Posted by MidnightCowboy View Post
...there will always be enough of the others around to make producing this kind of software inclusion a lucrative enough business.
I've had a number of people ask me about revenue, so I wrote An Initial Look at OpenCandy Revenue where I detail the first few days of revenue. If I may be so punny as to give you my $0.02, you'll see there that revenue is less than $0.02 per install of my software.

NOTE: That is an extremely small data set, and I can't speak to the general nature of OC or averages there. The small size of the data set makes it somewhat unreliable. It can only be taken as a single instance for what it is. i.e. Don't read into it too much.

But, for the sake of conjecture and running with it anyways...

You simply cannot purchase traffic to make that a viable business. It's far from lucrative. It's supplementary though. For mISVs though, it can be significant. For ISVs with large download volumes, that's a potentially good supplementary revenue stream.

But, for that to happen, you need to:

* Get visitors to your web site
* Get people to download
* Have downloaders install the software
* Hope that some take an offer

To put it one way, you need to get 50 people to install your software, to *almost* make $1.00! Once the taxman reaches into your pocket, well, you need 100 people!

For mISVs like myself, this can provide motivation to further develop a software title, or to develop and release more.

For larger ISVs, this can pay for development time to fix bugs or add features.

Either way, this is a net benefit for the user.

I understand that inexperienced users may become confused. I think that sites like Gizmo can help there though by providing people with good information. I hope that information, here and elsewhere, is balanced though, and presents people with objective, factual information about their available choices.



I hope that I've presented a balanced view there.
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Old 12. Apr 2011, 06:27 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Hi,

I've been following the discussion here (site & forum) from day one. I've also read through the lengthy thread over at the Donation Coder forum.

To me, the issue with OpenCandy is that OpenCandy itself is not opt-in. Oone could argue that by choosing an app that comes bundled with it, you've already opted in, but it's not always that evident (there's the recent example of a game company that bundled their installers with OpenCandy with no sort of info on their site. People felt and were ambushed, so they strongly opposed, forcing the company to discontinue the use of OpenCandy).
By the time I'll see the offer, OpenCandy has already done its thing on my machine, so it's already a few steps too far to care if the offer is opt-in or opt-out.

Even if it's stated that the installer comes with OpenCandy, the end user should still have the choice to decide if he/ she wants it to scan their system before it does it and he/ she should have the choice to decline it.
Being able to run the installer using the switch /NOCANDY, is not a straight forward option - one has to know about it to use it and a number of people still won't know how to, not to mention that it may stop working in the near future.

Since it's highly unlikely that any of my desired changes will happen any time soon (if ever), if an app doesn't have a portable version, I'll be looking for an alternative, even if it means to get more than one app to get sth done.
Reading the comments of others, I see I'm not the only one thinking this way.

Cheers
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