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-   -   OpenCandy (https://www.techsupportalert.com/freeware-forum/freeware-installation-and-usage/6838-opencandy.html)

Jojo Yee 09. Apr 2011 04:36 PM

OpenCandy
 
When you install a freeware product, you might encounter that its installer is powered by OpenCandy, which recommends you to download and install another software product.

To know more about OpenCandy, you might want to check out this article "Controversial Advertising Program Now Being Embedded in More Software".

And here's a quote from the article:

Quote:

OpenCandy employs some controversial techniques in its operation and this has created some heated discussions in internet forums and blogs. Some say it is adware or spyware while others say it is just another legitimate form of advertising. Whatever, you need to be aware of this product and its potential pitfalls.

Super Simple 09. Apr 2011 05:44 PM

Thanks Jojoyee for starting this thread.

The link above already has a lot of information in it, so I won't start by repeating any of it.

(I am Ryan Smyth. I've posted in the thread above but used a different user name for here in the forums.)

But the quote you've given makes me sort of shake my head a bit, and especially this part:

Quote:

Whatever, you need to be aware of this product and its potential pitfalls.
"Pitfalls" is pretty unflattering. I use OpenCandy in my own software, Photo Resizer, and only see it as a benefit.

There's nothing to hide. I've been perfectly open about the Super Simple web site and the software on it. OpenCandy is a part of that.

I'll be opening up more of it though in the near future at one of my blogs: http://cynic.me/. You can find analysis of OpenCandy there, as well as other information, both related and unrelated.

Cheers,

Ryan

MidnightCowboy 09. Apr 2011 09:27 PM

Can I just ask why you feel the need to keep justifying it?

Super Simple 10. Apr 2011 03:33 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MidnightCowboy (Post 49954)
Can I just ask why you feel the need to keep justifying it?


I was trying to clear up some bad information.

Scareware is a pet peeve of mine. It drives me nuts. I try not to read too much normal news because it's so horribly depressing. But it still happens in the tech news with sensationalist "security" stories where the truth doesn't get in the way.

You can ask any developer that's been flagged with a false positive by some AV software. It's a common occurrence.

Fear mongering does little to help the situation. We need good, accurate information and not alarmist conjecture and speculation.


Conversely...

Can I ask why there is a need to attack it?

Super Simple 10. Apr 2011 03:45 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MidnightCowboy (Post 49954)
Can I just ask why you feel the need to keep justifying it?

Oh, and there's the other thing that should be obvious by now. I tend to be like a dog with a bone! :)

MidnightCowboy 10. Apr 2011 08:57 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Super Simple (Post 49964)


Conversely...

Can I ask why there is a need to attack it?

Collectively we try to provide Gizmo's visitors with what they want to see and judging by the current feedback, items containing Open Candy are not on this list. One of the biggest criticisms we receive is for not pointing out hidden elements such as Ask and OC in our reviews.

Personally, I object to being "stealthed"with something I would otherwise choose not to have if I knew it was there in the first place.

To be honest I'm not much interested in how developers need to fund their software because it is not up to the likes of me to judge them. To suggest though that this is all fine and dandy is stretching the inference that the rest of the world must be wrong to its limits.

If OC is such a great tool for suggesting things users might want if they only knew about them (like other forms of advertising) why not release it as a standalone system advisory scanner and then see what the install rate is?

mr6n8 10. Apr 2011 03:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Super Simple (Post 49964)
Conversely...

Can I ask why there is a need to attack it?

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.

Super Simple 10. Apr 2011 03:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MidnightCowboy (Post 49970)
Collectively we try to provide Gizmo's visitors with what they want to see and judging by the current feedback, items containing Open Candy are not on this list. One of the biggest criticisms we receive is for not pointing out hidden elements such as Ask and OC in our reviews.


Hey, it's your site, and you get to do whatever you want. No argument there.

And as for pointing out hidden things, heck, I'd agree. As a user, I want to know about those things. But there's nothing hidden or secretive about OC. (see below)


Quote:

Originally Posted by MidnightCowboy (Post 49970)
Personally, I object to being "stealthed"with something I would otherwise choose not to have if I knew it was there in the first place.


There's no "stealth" about OC. Yes, there are those out there that do try to slip by. OC isn't one of them.


Quote:

Originally Posted by MidnightCowboy (Post 49970)
To be honest I'm not much interested in how developers need to fund their software because it is not up to the likes of me to judge them. To suggest though that this is all fine and dandy is stretching the inference that the rest of the world must be wrong to its limits.


Not sure how to respond to that. You seem rather hostile towards developers that are trying to produce tools to help people. Dunno... Am I reading you wrong?



Here's a portion of the site privacy policy here:


Quote:

Collecting information about you

We collect personal information from users who register at our site as well as subscribers to our RSS feeds. The main types of information we collect are contact details, such as email addresses and names. We collect most of this information directly from individuals when they voluntarily register at our web site or subscribe to our RSS feeds.

We also collect statistical information from site visitors through the Google Analytics web statistics service and the Logaholic web service. This information includes details of the browser you use, the operating system you are using and other similar information. Full details can be found on the Google Analytics website and on the Logaholic site. You can disable the collection of this statistical information by turning off JavaScript in your web browser though this may create possible navigation problems for you on this site.

I don't see how that is any different. The moment someone steps on the site, information is collected about them. More information than OC collects. There's no opt-out. No warning. Nothing. Is that not "stealth"?

Now, I'm not trying to say that you're doing anything malcious or anything of the sort. I don't see anything wrong in what you're doing. But applying the same standard, or even a stricter standard, I can't see how OC is doing anything wrong either as it is little different (OC collects less information).

I wouldn't be a "dog with a bone" if the same standard were applied elsewhere as well. But it's not. That's the problem.

In the same line of thought:

Quote:

Using and disclosing your personal information

Our purpose in collecting information about you is to deliver the site services you requested, newsletters and RSS feeds to which you subscribe, to provide any services that you request and to operate our business efficiently.

This website and RSS feeds to which you subscribe may contain advertisements...

Regarding that, you said:

Quote:

Originally Posted by MidnightCowboy (Post 49970)
Personally, I object to being "stealthed"with something I would otherwise choose not to have if I knew it was there in the first place.

Going in blind, I can't think of anyone that would prior to visiting a site say that they wanted to see ads on it. Some ads are useful. I found out about a few concerts that I went to through ads, and I'm very glad they were there because I wouldn't have known otherwise. (Some concert pics are here.)

But I don't feel ambushed because a site has ads.

I wouldn't call the information collection on a web site "stealth" either. Then again, I do software, and I know about those things. But for someone that isn't tech-savvy, I still don't see that there's any "stealth" going on.

To be honest, I've not seen any ads on the site here, and I find that rather bizarre. I don't know how you fund the site.

Quote:

Do you have premium content?

No, this is a free site and will remain that way.

How is this site funded?

This is a community based site and our aspiration is to keep the site independent and non-commercial. We are not affiliated with any commercial site or software developer.

Currently we are trying to fund this site by donations from site visitors and selling "Gizmo's Freeware" branded merchandise. Any shortfall is funded with the minimum amount of advertising.
It's quite frankly amazing. You guys have done a spectacular job of things. And I haven't seen a single ad.

Heck, if you can afford to support everything yourself, all the more power to you! Philanthropy is a good thing.

So I think I get the context that you're operating under, and the aversion to ads. I only have 1 site that has ads on it, and I was reluctant to put them there, but I wanted to make the software free, and needed some way to try and cover some costs.

To me, it just seems a tad unfair to apply different standards. Not everyone can afford to work for free.

Cheers,

Ryan

MidnightCowboy 10. Apr 2011 06:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Super Simple (Post 49988)



Not sure how to respond to that. You seem rather hostile towards developers that are trying to produce tools to help people. Dunno... Am I reading you wrong?


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.

Super Simple 11. Apr 2011 05:36 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mr6n8 (Post 49987)
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.


To follow up on my comment in my post that's still awaiting moderation, this is the kind of thing that I meant (from here):


Quote:

Originally Posted by NessUSE
To me, this ranks right up there with Sony when they were installing root-kits on PC's so that people couldn't rip a music CD. Freeware distributors want to package OpenCandy with their software, fine, just tell me about it up front so I can decided immediately that I don't want your software. You want to be underhanded and try and sneak it by me, then hopefully Gizmo's will flag it so that I know better.


This is way over-the-top. I'm almost expecting Godwin's Law to come to fruition.

What Sony did is in no way comparable. They hid a rootkit! There's simply no comparison at all.

Bob 11. Apr 2011 01:33 PM

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 PR 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).

garth 11. Apr 2011 02:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bob (Post 50028)
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.

MidnightCowboy 11. Apr 2011 03:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by garth (Post 50029)

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.

mr6n8 11. Apr 2011 03:47 PM

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.

MidnightCowboy 11. Apr 2011 04:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mr6n8 (Post 50032)

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 :D

Bob 11. Apr 2011 06:37 PM

Ford Prefect strikes again
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by MidnightCowboy (Post 50031)
...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 :D]. 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.

garth 11. Apr 2011 06:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MidnightCowboy (Post 50031)
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.

Quote:

Originally Posted by MidnightCowboy (Post 50033)
I was going to make one of my seriously unfunny but nevertheless well intentioned humorous comments about this, but then thought better of it :D

Yay:p

Super Simple 12. Apr 2011 11:47 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by garth (Post 50029)
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.

Super Simple 12. Apr 2011 11:54 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mr6n8 (Post 49987)
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 (Post 49996)
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 (Post 49996)
...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.

26Dolphins 12. Apr 2011 06:27 PM

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

Jojo Yee 13. Apr 2011 12:39 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 26Dolphins (Post 50151)
... One could argue that by choosing an app that comes bundled with it, you've already opted in... 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.

Very good comments 26Dolphins.

Seriously, OpenCandy should consider that. It should give an option to opt out whether the user would like to accept OpenCandy to recommend any software, not till later the user sees the recommendation. Ask "Do you like some drinks?" first before you ask "What drinks do you like?" That way is probably more approachable and not seen to be too intrusive. If the answer to the first question is no, then don't need to ask further.

This will make OpenCandy to be acceptable to more users and software developers do not need to provide a separate installer without OpenCandy.

garth 13. Apr 2011 12:47 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Super Simple (Post 50091)
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.)

OpenCandy has been the topic of much discussion around here for a while now, and a good deal more is known about it now than was two or three months ago when we first started discussing it in the closed forums. My initial view was that OC was both adware and spyware, and that view hasn't really changed much. It has evolved though, and i no longer rate OC in the same way i would rate a virus or other forms of malware. That said, i don't want it on my computer. The one thing that would change my mind is if there was, somewhere in the install process of whatever software, an option to have, or not have, my computer scanned by OC. It's that simple. "Do you wish to have your system scanned by OpenCandy so we might offer you software you might like....yes or no". It's the jackboots enforcement of OpenCandy i loathe so much, and until this situation changes (which it probably won't), no OC bundled apps on my machine thanks....i'll buy payware before i use OC bundled freeware. It bothers me also that OC may be luring the unwary noob or non techie computer user into installing the latest "one click system speedup/registry wrecker" or whatever: imo that's not good practice. Apparently these applications are recommended by the developer of whatever OC bundled app is being installed, but i wonder how many developers would allow a one click registry wrecker anywhere near their computers?

Thanks though Ryan for taking the time to put your point of view across and incidentally, i enjoyed the Slayer review on your blog:)

Super Simple 13. Apr 2011 03:32 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 26Dolphins (Post 50151)
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.


Hello 26Dolphins. Over in the Donation Coder forum I'm Renegade. Just so you know. :)


Quote:

Originally Posted by 26Dolphins (Post 50151)
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.


WinSCP has done a good job of explaining things here:

http://winscp.net/eng/docs/opencandy

FL Studio has also tried to make things clear as well:

http://flstudio.image-line.com/documents/download.html
http://flstudio.image-line.com/power...opencandy.html

For my own software, I put some information in the FAQ:

http://www.supersimple.me/FAQ

I can understand why a developer wouldn't put any information about OpenCandy on a download page.

In my own preliminary investigations, I determined that it was perfectly harmless, and there was no threat and nothing insidious was going on. So I decided to use it. I figured I should mention it though on the Super Simple site, which I did.

To a developer looking at OpenCandy, there's nothing bad happening, and it's perfectly harmless, so why clutter up the site with distractions?

It's not an attempt to hide anything. It's simply that there's not much to talk about.

For example, why would I mention that I used some particular licensing system? It's not really very interesting, and if anyone is curious, they could probably figure it out anyways.

However, I could probably have done a better job than I did. It just never occured to me that it was worth mentioning any more than I already had in the FAQ. Compare the WinSCP and FL Studio pages to my small mention and you'll see what I mean.


Quote:

Originally Posted by 26Dolphins (Post 50151)
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


It's a delicate balance. Since nothing is installed when you decline an offer, the effort to bother with /NOCANDY is much more than simply clicking no. And with no personal information sent, I couldn't be bothered to drop down to the command line.

But here's a slightly different take on that.

To use the IZArc example from the original review...

The compression market is one of the most competitive out there. It's a very hard market. WinZip revenue, last I checked, was falling every year. I know a few people in the market, and they're certainly not getting rich from it.

I've worked in that market and that's how I know. I used to work for ESTsoft, the makers of ALZip.

From the IZArc site on the donations page:

Quote:

I develop IZArc in my spare time but it takes a lot of it and supporting via emails or by web forum takes even more time. I do all this for nothing. Anyway domain registration and bandwidth cost money that I pay by myself. Your donations will go a long way in helping me improve IZArc and provide you with ever greater features for free.
Donations don't work. People simply don't donate. Yeah... I know... I'm sure there are a few people here who have donated. I have too. We're not the norm. There are some commercial software titles that I've purchased licenses for more than once because they are that valuable to me too. But in general, donations are a lost cause.

Now, he has some ads up there, and they probably make some money as well, but still... he has to pay for things himself. Servers cost money. They're not free. Everytime somebody downloads IZArc, that's money out of his pocket.

That was the background. This is the point...


Rather than looking for an alternative, demanding that he provide an installer without OpenCandy is effectively the same thing as telling the poor fellow that his work isn't worth the time it takes you to click "No thanks" in his installer, and that you're offended by his audacity to presume that he should to anything except offer his software for free on your terms.

You're sending a message that the time it takes you to click "No thanks" is far more valuable than the years of effort that he's put into IZArc.


While that may seem a bit harsh, it's never-the-less the message that a lot of users are sending to developers.

Now, that message may be unintentional, but if you'd put in years of work to create something like IZArc, how would you feel?

I feel sorry for the poor fellow. IZArc has been around for a long time, and a lot of people like it and use it. He's just trying to continue along. I don't know him personally, but I'm willing to bet that if you asked what his major motivation for IZArc was, he'd say that it was because he enjoys it.

Do developers need to be sensitive to the needs of users? Absolutely!

But it's a 2-way street.

Super Simple 13. Apr 2011 03:35 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by garth (Post 50182)
OpenCandy has been the topic of much discussion around here for a while now, and a good deal more is known about it now than was two or three months ago when we first started discussing it in the closed forums. My initial view was that OC was both adware and spyware, and that view hasn't really changed much. It has evolved though, and i no longer rate OC in the same way i would rate a virus or other forms of malware. That said, i don't want it on my computer. The one thing that would change my mind is if there was, somewhere in the install process of whatever software, an option to have, or not have, my computer scanned by OC. It's that simple. "Do you wish to have your system scanned by OpenCandy so we might offer you software you might like....yes or no". It's the jackboots enforcement of OpenCandy i loathe so much, and until this situation changes (which it probably won't), no OC bundled apps on my machine thanks....i'll buy payware before i use OC bundled freeware. It bothers me also that OC may be luring the unwary noob or non techie computer user into installing the latest "one click system speedup/registry wrecker" or whatever: imo that's not good practice. Apparently these applications are recommended by the developer of whatever OC bundled app is being installed, but i wonder how many developers would allow a one click registry wrecker anywhere near their computers?


I went over some of the things you're talking about in the Donation Coder forums here:

http://www.donationcoder.com/forum/i...4305#msg244305

The issue to watch is:

Quote:

Originally Posted by garth (Post 50182)
The one thing that would change my mind is if there was, somewhere in the install process of whatever software, an option to have, or not have, my computer scanned by OC. It's that simple. "Do you wish to have your system scanned by OpenCandy so we might offer you software you might like....yes or no".

It goes to the problem of multiple "opt-in/out" prompts, which is a PITA for the user, and a PITA for the developer.

Again, it boils down to trying to strike a balance.

Regarding scanning your computer, the "scan" is merely a boolean check against a validation code. DrApp posted in the original review what that was, which was nice because I wasn't exactly sure how it was working until then. For easy reference, here it is:

Quote:

OpenCandy does indeed want to make sure that we don't recommend something that someone already has installed. However, OpenCandy does *NOT* scan your computer and catalog all the programs you have installed (a very common misconception for some reason). What the OpenCandy installer plug-in does do is use what we call "validation code" to determine whether a recommendation a developer has chosen is valid for a given computer. As an example, someone without Outlook installed wouldn't benefit from an Outlook plugin. So if a developer has chosen to recommend an Outlook plugin, an XML-based file of "validation code" is sent to the user's computer. The OpenCandy plug-in (running locally) checks the "validation code" to see if Outlook is installed and if so, the OpenCandy plug-in sends our server a binary "yes" in order for the graphics and messaging for the recommendation screen to be sent to the user's computer to be displayed during the publisher's installation process.
I posted some of the XML with the validation code in my "Opening Up OpenCandy" post.

I won't post the XML because it's going to look like gobbledy-gook to a lot of people, but it's readily available there.


Quote:

Originally Posted by garth (Post 50182)
Thanks though Ryan for taking the time to put your point of view across


There are lot more people using software, than they are writing software, so I hope that I've put across some kind of a balanced view from "the other side".


Quote:

Originally Posted by garth (Post 50182)
...and incidentally, i enjoyed the Slayer review on your blog:)

Thanks! It was great to finally get out and see them, though I had to go to 2 Slayer concerts to see them once! Hahahah~! :)

One thing I can definitely say with 110% certainty... It's hard as Hell to get a good picture when you're in the front row of a mosh pit/Slayer concert~! :D I took a lot of pictures, but only a few turned out half-decent.

I'm just starting to get into photography, and like to post some of the more interesting stuff (I posted "Reptile Porn" over at Donation Coder for a joke -- it's safe for work).

My Photo Resizer software (that includes OpenCandy) came out of getting into photography. My wife likes to upload pictures to Facebook a lot, and I originally wrote it for her. Other software was complicated for what she wanted to do. I found myself using it a lot instead of Photoshop, and decided to make it publicly available.

I actually write a lot of small utilities for my own use, and thought that a "Super Simple" web site would be an ideal way for me to publish those fast, easy to use programs without taking up too much time. (I put food on the table through other means. :) )

I have several other programs that I have yet to release there though. They're the same type of fast and easy programs with a dedicated purpose.

I chose OpenCandy because I wanted the site to support itself if possible, and after looking into OpenCandy, saw that it offers an excellent balance for that and for end users.

But it's certainly not going to make me rich. If it were to cover server costs, that would be nice.

26Dolphins 14. Apr 2011 08:54 PM

@Super Simple
I've read your reply to me a couple of times and still can't decide if you really don't get my point or if you chose to come across as if you don't get it.

Let me try to communicate that one last time:
It does not matter if it's bad or harmless, if it's installed or not, if it takes a moment or a life time, if it's one click or a thousand, if it's opt-in or opt-out, what matters to me is that I want to be asked before anything happens on my machine, i.e. I want a real chance to decide for myself.

From this stand, the message I'm sending a developer that bundles it in his installer is that I loathe such stealth practices and has nth to do with dismissing his work.

This is my last post in this thread, I've already contributed enough in keeping the headlights on OpenCandy - we'll just go our seperate ways.

Cheers

garth 14. Apr 2011 11:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 26Dolphins (Post 50275)
@Super Simple
Let me try to communicate that one last time:
It does not matter if it's bad or harmless, if it's installed or not, if it takes a moment or a life time, if it's one click or a thousand, if it's opt-in or opt-out, what matters to me is that I want to be asked before anything happens on my machine, i.e. I want a real chance to decide for myself.

I agree with 26Dolphins in this. I suppose it can be argued that the choice is made when the install of the OC bundled freeware is begun, and i can't really dispute that, but we all have to make our own choices and as i already said, i choose to reject anything bundled with OC, and if that means i miss out on some good freeware then so be it. I don't think i have anything further to add to this discussion either.


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