Remember Tucows? The download part of the site was very popular in the last millennium as a destination for freeware and shareware.
It feel from grace like many other services of its time as other services became more popular. Nowadays, Tucows is still around but not as popular as download portals such as Softpedia, Cnet Download or even Freewarefiles.
The company started to explore other business opportunities and began to offer domain, email and mobile phone services which make up the bulk of Tucow’s revenue today.
The Tucows download portal is still maintained though and while it is not that popular anymore, it is still visited by thousands of users each day.
Tucows announced on May 3, 2016 that it will stop displaying deceptive or misleading advertisement on the company’s download site.
The company is surprisingly honest about past advertisement even though it puts it into a greater context by mentioning that other software download sites did the same thing.
But then. Then, things got ugly. Then came the dark days where software download sites needed to wring every possible cent out of their wares. Even Tucows downloads, the seminal software download site, was not immune.
Those days made finding a download button in among the various masquerading ads more like tiptoeing through a minefield. Downloading software became a high stakes mission: Double check the pop-up blocker to ensure it’s working. Fire up AdBlock. Deep breath. Swoop in, grab the software in question and run. Oh yeah, and be exceedingly careful what you agree to in the installation process of said software.
It mentions deceptive or misleading ads on the site itself but also that the software installation itself posed additional dangers for users.
While advertisement won’t be a thing of the past, Tucows notes that users won’t find flashing ads on the site nor toolbars or pop-ups. What may be displayed instead are plugs for other Tucows services.
Tucows is not the first and probably not the last download service to announce a change in this regard, and much of it may come down to Google announcing that the company’s Safe Browsing service — part of Chrome, Firefox and other browsers — would flag sites with deceptive download buttons to warn users about them.
Regardless of that, it is a good move by Tucows that should benefit visitors of the site even if they don’t use ad blockers.
It is probably too late though for the site to become popular once again considering that there are plenty of alternatives out there that are already more popular and don’t use deceptive ads as well.
May 7, 2016