Registration Common with Free Software
One screen WinPatrol users will now see during install is a registration screen. Over the years many friends in the industry have wondered why I never asked for any kind of registration info. This year they convinced me why it was beneficial for both WinPatrol and its users. Aside from a handful of Emails most everyone seems to think it's a normal request. Even my most privacy conscious users aren't concerned because they realize you can always say you're Mickey Mouse and WinPatrol will continue to install.
WinPatrol remains free as it always has. It's important for the future of WinPatrol to know how many users are installing new versions. I can now tell if an install was successful and how soon after an announcement or promotion most installations occur. I have a better idea how many free versions are used versus PLUS memberships. Even with fake names or emails I can estimate the average number of installs by a single download.
When a user enters real information it provides even more value for everyone involved and there’s less risk than most forms you’ll ever fill in.. I've had access to plenty of Email addresses and personal info over many years and you won't find anyone complain about their data has been sold or misused. I consider all information a trust that I take seriously.
When someone requires support it may be useful to know what version they last installed and especially if they recently undated. Registration look up will be an extra step for me but it can save an extra email exchange. While I've never had a reason in over15 years, what if some kind of bug or compatibility in a new version turns out to be harmful to your computer? A proper registration will allow me to notify users of a recall.
I won’t deny that registration also allows me the track down systems which are using WinPatrol PLUS illegally. It really isn't the reason behind the registration but it has already encouraged some long time fans to become legit lifetime PLUS members. If I really wanted to stop all illegal users I could, but it would also be a full time job. I’d rather spend my time making improvements to the software.
The benefits of the registration has already helped. The information available on my web stats does not provide accurate count of how many computers use WinPatrol. Instead of knowing how many downloads we had, I can now know how many machines are protected. I also never had an accurate count of downloads from alternate websites like CNET, PC World, MajorGeeks.com, FileHippo.com and dozens of others, many in non-English speaking regions. Some times people download WinPatrol but forget to install it. I’ve even had phone calls from people who don’t remember upgrading to PLUS and wonder who I am and how I got their credit card. Many installed and/or upgraded to WinPatrol PLUS in the middle of the night when they were intoxicated or half-asleep. Having a data trail helps everyone.
I received two Emails from folks who said they no longer planned on using WinPatrol. This makes me sad even if they never planned on upgrading to PLUS. I create this post to address their concerns. I would never want anyone to think I’d sell their information or not keep it secure. I am pleased to report that our new version has still been successfully installed on over 24,000 machines.