Would you like Toolbar with your Software Order?
Yesterday, I had a chat with a nice guy who does business development for IAC, the folks behind Ask.com. IAC is also behind other products I don’t care for like Zwinky and so-called FunWebProducts. IAC has had a lot of success lately talking companies into including their free Ask.com toolbar and they thought WinPatrol might be a popular partner.
Last year a number of companies decided to treat their customers with automatic installation of the Ask.com search/toolbar. If you’re not paying attention when you install software from Webroot, Nero and Zonelabs(Check Point) you’ll soon have a branded version of the Ask.com toolbar installed. My new friend at IAC tells me it’s quite common and they recommend pre-checking the install option to make sure more users receive the toolbar. He mentioned bundled installations of DivX and Skype as examples of this being an accepted industry practice.
The sales pitch to include a toolbar with WinPatrol was compelling. I’m told that the my reputation wouldn’t be affected and I would be providing my customers with a service by including the free toolbar. All the companies currently installing the toolbar are very happy. He even leaked the news that another well known Anti-Spyware vendor would be announcing their own deal soon.
I crunched the numbers and sure enough the revenue I could receive by including the toolbar would be huge. My overhead is low and the free version of WinPatrol has many thousand downloads even on the slowest day. If I chose to include the Ask.com tool bar I could probably retire comfortably by the end of the year.
Unfortunately, a number of people think I’m a really, good guy and I respect their opinion. For the last ten years WinPatrol has had a flawless reputation. I know myself, I really hate companies that install additional software that I didn’t ask for. It’s not only rude, it’s just wrong.
While IAC may be a respectable company, I’ve never been a fan of programs like SmileyCentral, and Zwinky that install multiple programs when users just want a single cool program. They also auto install the MyWebSearch toolbar and SearchAssistant. Ask.com may very well grow to become the number one search engine but they’ll do so by getting installed on computers without being asked for. (no pun intended)
I’m going to have to pass and keep WinPatrol simple and pure. There will be a new version of WinPatrol later this month and it won’t include any toolbars. Hopefully, users and editors will continue to recommend Scotty the Windows WatchDog because they love and respect WinPatrol. This may not be the best business decision I’ve ever made but I can live with myself.