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Technology thoughts leaking from the brain of "Bill Pytlovany"

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

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.

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54 Comments:

Blogger TeMerc said...

Way to go Bill!!

Maybe some other companies who see what you decide will also take the high road, the one that leads to respect and integrity within ones community instead of the road to riches via the quick easy money with default installs. And no one is being kidded here, they are only ticked by default because if not, they would not get any installs, meaning no money.

Kudos my friend. All your loyal users eagerly await the new version of WinPatrol, sans any extras.

8:37 PM  
Blogger MysteryFCM said...

Nice one Bill :o)

Good to see atleast one company has some morals ....

Ask/IAC's "applications" have always been malware in my opinion, and whilst they're doing things like this, will continue to be classed as such (and continue to be blocked by myself aswell ;o)).

8:47 PM  
Blogger Ben said...

Your decision is commendable. There's no good reason why users requesting one program should be forced to install something else too, or for that matter should be tricked into thinking something else is necessary when it isn't.

I wish you all the best with your product. Taking the high road has to be the best choice in the long run, and you deserve the good things sure to come your way.

9:33 PM  
Blogger comicfan2000 said...

I commend you for your decision Bill. That is exactly what we need more of, someone with the meatballs to stand up and say no, I won't give in to this crud and keep in the excellence that you built to begin with.

I thank you for that decision.

Paul

9:49 PM  
Blogger George, Group Admin said...

As a proud user of your licensed software versions (yes a license for each machine at that), I am happy for what you do without the additional revenue glazing over your eyes and mind.

I always keep an open eye on all installs and check the setup and background installs on everything I do. I do not need them to get any more difficult out there than they are now.

George

9:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good for you.

Bill

10:28 PM  
Anonymous steve said...

good on you bill. you are of a dying breed. i bought the plus version a long time ago and it is now on my third laptop having outlived the previous two.

4:40 AM  
Blogger Henry said...

Thank you Bill for taking the high-road! I am sorry you can't retired by the end of the year, but I am glad I supported your software (and I encourage more people to do so!!)

12:03 PM  
Anonymous wordsmithereens said...

Thanks Bill! I applaud your decision! Imagine that - a product being distributed with the REAL best interests of the customers in mind.

12:22 PM  
Anonymous nogo said...

Your a rare breed Bill! Give Scotty a treat from me! Anyone that doesn't have your Plus WinPatrol needs to get on board today! Good things come to good people.........

3:27 PM  
Anonymous ermak said...

Always thought WinPatrol was special!! Proud of you Bill.

3:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

how much did they offer you?

7:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good for you, Bill to stand on principle instead of taking the easy dollar. I will always continue to support and spread the word about WinPatrol. If your costs ever increase greatly to where you have difficulty keeping up the development of this great product, let your users know. I'll be the first to donate or pay a yearly subscription for the great service and the "clean" program you provide.

8:25 PM  
Anonymous hewee said...

Good to hear Bill you said no. I tell everyone WinPatrol is a must have program and how the Plus version is even better and you can't bet the price on it either.
I know you will not get as rich but your sure feel better not installing the malware.
Look forward to your newer version of WinPatrol too as I always do.

2:40 AM  
Anonymous grorgy said...

I've only been a user for a little while, and a major decision in deciding to go the paid plus road was the clean install and the assurances of no hidden stuff. Thanks for a useful program free from unwanted installs. If I want there toolbar I will go get their toolbar

4:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You did the right thing Bill!

The incoming $ would be tempting .. but reputation and ethics ..it's more important. 'They should not even suggest to you in the first place! if they know what is Win Patrol.

If the toolbar is 'darn good' why the need to bundle it?! Win Patrol is a real good software in it's own right. Way to go Bill!!

5:38 AM  
Blogger Charles said...

I applaud your fidelity to your current (like me and my clients!) and future (like more of my clients!) customers Bill.

Winpatrol helps us keep our systems clean, fast and reliable. The sense of disappointment one feels when a trusted supplier resorts to this sort of ploy to raise revenue from its userbase is immense; I'm glad you resisted the Dark Side!

11:12 AM  
Anonymous JeanInMontana said...

Thank you Bill!!! It is so refreshing to see someone with a conscious.

3:10 PM  
Anonymous LoneWolf said...

Thanks Bill.
I believe that was a very good business decision you made by you.
Never let those shady companys mess up your top notch program.
I bought WinPatrol plus some time ago and have never regretted it.

5:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

After first installing the free version some years ago, I soon upgraded to Plus and never regretted it! I recommend WinPatrol to all my friends - an extremely useful tool! Kudos to you for your ethics.

5:25 PM  
Blogger Corrine said...

That Bill Pytlovany is a gentleman, that he is ethical, and he thinks more about being able to sleep without a guilty conscious is nothing new to those of us commenting here.

That WinPatrol is an outstanding software is known to us and many others.

Let's hope that people who read the labels in Bill's post get the message and uninstall that labeled software and purchase WinPatrol Plus.

7:27 PM  
Anonymous winchester73 said...

Thanks, Bill.

I've recommended your program to a lot of people ... some choose the free version, others the paid one. Paid for myself.

Who will watch the watchers, eh?

8:03 PM  
Anonymous Elrond said...

Kudos to you Bill. I am recommending Winpatroll to anyone I work with, be it on the forums or directly through seminars or conversations. A lot of programs have ended up on my blacklist because of installing programs that I have not asked for. The latetest one is Webroot. Did not renew because of their including Ask toolbar.
I am running one bought licensed copy one that you have been nice enough to donate and one unlicenced copy. Will license that one soon.
Thanks for your work for all of us and for being a honorable man.

2:02 PM  
OpenID Jeber said...

Bill, you an outstanding product and a sterling reputation. I'm pleased you're refusing to join the ranks of companies that supplement their incomes by providing a potential disservice to their customers. "Opt out" shouldn't be the standard, "opt in" is less obnoxious. I'd rather just have an opinion and make up my own mind. Tell me what you think of a toolbar or browser add-on and provide a link. I'll decide.

I urge everyone who supports your decision to back that up by purchasing the pro version of WinPatrol. I have, and will continue to do so.

8:49 PM  
Blogger John L. Galt said...

As a long time user of Winpatrol, I have to disagree with only one thing that you wrote (and that was a supposition in the first place):

"This may not be the best business decision I’ve ever made but I can live with myself."

As long as I have used WinPatrol, I have not known you to make a bad business decision - your product is free for life, and a *single* registration fee registers it for life - in a time when so many developers / companies / corporations / etc. are moving to a subscription-fee based business model, you have bucked the 'standard' and continue to offer a Top Ten Must Have application that is *still* "Compatible with Windows 95 - Windows Vista".

Therefore, I disagree that you may not be making a good business decision - you are making the best possible decision, from the POV of all the users out there, from the POV of the registered users, and from my personal POV. Thank you for not including dubious software to easily get rich. Thank you for continuing to make good, quality software to help users worldwide protect themselves. And, finally, thank you for being so civic minded.

3:16 PM  
Anonymous Marcin Kleczynski said...

Thank god there are at least some reputable vendors out there =). I would have done the same! Money is not everything.

5:53 PM  
Blogger cuggie said...

It just tickles me to no end to see that you are one of "The Real People" in this World. Thank You for keeping it free and so useful.
Dwane

PS: I am as Plus subscriber.

8:38 PM  
Anonymous Peter Moreland said...

Personally I am pleased you said no Bill.

But... There were some other options; you could have some differing flavours of WinPatrol.

1. WinPatrol demo that gets upgraded either by paying the upgrade fee or accepting the toolbar. The customer decides how to ‘pay’.

2. Demo version with toolbar that removes the toolbar on upgrade payment.

3. There are several other permutations but you get the picture.

The key thing is that integrity is maintained by being up front with the customer. I guess all I am saying is that if the income was that good it might be worth working out a way of getting some while maintaining credibility.

Cheers

Peter Moreland (happy pro user)

10:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have never used WinPatrol but was considering installing the free version when I came this blog. Your decision to refuse to include Ask.com (the don't ask) has convinced me to purchase WinPatrol Plus without even trying the free version.
Cheers,
Ramzi Najjar
Beirut, Lebanon

12:53 PM  
Anonymous WinVistaClub said...

Hats off to you ! WinPatrol is a must-have on every computer, imo. I stongly recommend it on my site too !

12:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Adding on a toolbar and calling it a "good business decision" is merely a rationalization. Those who do bad things to people have to find a way to tell themselves it is ok. I suppose the folks at Enron responsible for the scandal told themselves that as well. They were hard core business guys weren't they?

You made a good business decision in reality Bill. Don't let others twisted morals and self manipulation have you feel otherwise.

7:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My heartiest congratulations to a REAL man of integrity. I have always recommended your free product to all of my clients, and members of my MSN group. I will now upgrade to your paid version. Won't help you to retire, but every little bit helps.

3:58 PM  
Anonymous Pierre (aka Terdef) said...

Bill Pytlovany
A name to remember.

Belle, good and healthy reaction.

The toolbars war rages and they take people for their livestock.

Privacy and ToolBars
Opt In and Opt Out
Tracking
Profiling
Behavioral Targeting

The problem is not that of Opt in / Opt Out. The problem is that of spying and harassment of Internet users.

The Internet only works with real money.
The money is provided by advertisers.
They require, in exchange:
The right message - at the right time - to the right person.
The advertising agencies, in order to save the budget, must do more and better than the others.
They must better understand the targets: us.
They know us better than we do know ourselves. Better than our mother knows us.
Google won the bet. The others are fighting for our use of their toolbars. They want to catch a piece of the pie and we are the bait.

Shame on me! I have not yet made a page talking of WinPatrol in my website.

Thanks

Pierre
ASAP
SWI Ambassador

8:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Bill!

At a time where Symantec forges deal with Ask.com, i can only THANK YOU, for placing principles before money. That's so rare nowdays.

It's been a year since i bought a WinPatrol Plus license and have never been happier for supporting a product after this.

Specially in a moment of world economic crisis, saying "no" to an easy and comfortable retirement, is something only few men in your position would make!

Thank you for Scotty! Thank you for teaching moral principles.
Thank you for treating your customers as humans, instead of wallets.

With endless respect,

Fuzzfas

7:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All I can say is that I left Comodo for Norton Internet Security 2009 because of the Ask.com toolbar. When my Norton subscription expires later this year, I'll be moving to a firewall/security suite that doesn't offer this 'feature'.

WinPatrol Plus? That stays on my system FOREVER!

7:48 PM  
Anonymous Geoff King said...

Well done, Bill.With every fresh install, Win Patrol has been the first security program installed. I have just received the NIS 2009 upgrade, and sure enough , the Ask toolbar appeared unannounced. I immediately disabled it. Stay true to your convictions.

12:50 AM  
Anonymous DownTheShore said...

Kudos to you, Bill. A good reputation is hard to achieve and even more difficult to recover. Thanks for keeping yours stellar.

8:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Win Patrol has always been one of my most stable and useful programs for many years. Your decision is commendable and reflects well on you.
Keep up the good work.

John Lehn-Sydney

7:00 PM  
Anonymous Rob in Florida said...

NO WAY!!! If a program tries I usually get rid of it all. So please don't because I think it would be hard to survive without you.

7:23 PM  
Anonymous Draclvr said...

Bless your little heart, Bill. Toolbars are one of the banes of my on-line existence, right up there with chain emails. I recently wanted to add an Avery option to my Word 2007. After I raised holy hell with them about the Ask.com toolbar being a prerequisite, lo and behold, I was notified that I could now get my download without added crapware.

Keep the faith, Bill! There's a reason I've been a Plus subscriber for over 4 years now.

7:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you, Bill !!!
I've found that most tool-bars are pieces of junk. I don't install any. And if one installs without my permission, it is removed immediately.

7:30 PM  
Anonymous rod - Antivirus Australia said...

BP> "Unfortunately, a number of people think I’m a really, good guy"

I think you're a really good guy Bill ... and that's not "unfortunately". :)

I've recommended WinPatrol literally thousands times over the years (hopefully a few upgraded to Pro) and I'll continue to do so as long as you stay toolbar-free.

7:53 PM  
Anonymous Larry Bailey said...

More power to you Bill, there are so few people out there that stand on their integrity, my website will never have third party rubbish on it as long as I live, I am so sick on the emails and contacts trying to get me to 'join the rest'
You restore my faith my friend

9:02 PM  
Anonymous Chase said...

Bill, your integrity is invaluable in a world in dire need of integrity. I have been recommending WinPatrol to family and friends for years as an unbelievable value for a pittance. Thanks for your dedication to your friends.

10:15 PM  
Anonymous Nelson Gillis said...

Thanks Bill your OK in my book.

10:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks 4 staying w/principles!

10:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Everyone take note-
This is like a scene out of something off the sci-fi channel- the lone rebel not wanting to go along with the system, because it has become clear the system is corrupt.
Bill did the right thing. We are cheating ourselves and others when we don't.

12:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Respect!

12:22 PM  
Blogger --t---i--f---f-- said...

You are a true hero.

7:00 AM  
Blogger --t---i--f---f-- said...

you are a true web hero. if people doesn't know what that means, then they are missing out.

thanks x2

7:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good but i do not see how you could retire on Ask as i for one would not use any program with a toolbar prechecked

RLJ

9:54 AM  
Blogger Bill Pytlovany said...

"I for one would not use any program with a toolbar prechecked"

If only most people felt that way. I agree with you RLJ but we're not in the majority.

I can remove people who would stop using the software & those people who unchecked the option and would still have had enough installs to be retired now.

If this didn't work Adobe, Oracle and others wouldn't be doing it.

11:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you Bill for resisting the temptation. You are one of the very...very few people with decent morals. I just hope that others wake up and take note!
Thank you again
Basil Assimakopoulos

11:33 AM  
Blogger Karsten said...

I agree 100% with Corrine

8:28 AM  

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