Can You Trust Software Awards?

May 3, 2020 By iwano@_84 Off

With no end of freeware and shareware download sites on the net these days, it’s hard to know which one to use, which one offers the most useful downloads and which ones you can trust.

It’s often the case that when you land on one of these sites that yo will start browsing through the “recommended” list of software first. But have you ever wondered how these sites make their “recommendations”? Well, for some it would genuinely be because the software is useful and they want to share this info with you.

However, we believe that for a great number of download sites there are hidden agenda’s behind their recommendations. Let me explain – when a developer releases a software title and that developer has a successful website, a download site could simply award that developer with one of their “5 Star” or “recommended” awards for the developer to add this award to his or her website. This gives the site a valuable link back to their own site, meaning the search engines, like Google, considers this link back as a recommendation from the successful developer. Result? Simply put, the download site climbs up the rankings in the search engines and gains more traffic.

Nothing wrong with that I hear you say. Well, if the recommendation is genuine then I agree nothing wrong at all. However, this system has been abused for a long time now and is seriously misleading to the end user who thinks the sites are recommending software based on their own experiences and reviews, when in fact it’s not, for a lot of download sites this is simply a method of gaining more popularity for itself.

In fact, a software developer called Andy Brice set about his own experiment in 2007 where he submitted a fake download to hundreds of download sites. The software he submitted to these sites was called “awardmestars”, get it? Award Me Stars! The download basically contained a load of nonsense, like a fake download location, and garbage description, in short the software didn’t do anything, the submission was completely fake.

However, according to the report he received 2 weeks after submissions began “awardmestars” was now listed on 218 sites and pending on 394 sites. Approximately 7% of the sites that listed the software emailed him in congratulations that the software had won an award, other awards may have been given but he wasn’t informed of it! With 394 pending sites it was very likely more awards were in the pipeline and believe it or not some of these “awards” came from BIG download sites.

More worrying is the fact that those sites issuing “awards” for this fake software obviously hadn’t even bothered to perform the simplest of checks or scan the submission which means anything submitted to them would be approved and given awards throwing the whole “100% CLEAN” claims into chaos also!.

Our advice is to look for a download site with a community, a download site that establishes itself as trustworthy and a download site which opens itself up to its members and visitors for their opinions, their reviews and their honesty. One such site is http://www.freewarebb.com which bases any of its reviews on recommendations from it’s readers, the popularity of a title and genuine transparent methods open for all to see.