Monday, June 15, 2015

Download Sites Have Become Software Pimps

I have spent the last couple months doing marketing instead of coding. And this weekend I stumbled across this thing called ProductHunt. It's a pretty cool idea check them out on the web producthunt,com or on twitter @ProductHunt.

The way software needs to be marketed today is completely different that it was 20 - 25 years ago. I refuse to become irrelevant so I am learning how to change my thinking and strategy. This weekend several things fell into place and I went on a rant about the current state of downloads and the download websites.

Here is my five minute rant on why I think download sites have become software pimps and how this is effecting all small software developers.

Semper Fi
Gunny Mike

( transcript )

Most download websites are software pimps.

When I went to the ISVCon in 2013 some of the vendors that the ASP got touted their secondary offer programs.

So for those of you who are not familiar with the secondary offer program, it goes like this. You’re not making money through selling of your software. Okay people find it and then they download it from all the different download sites on the web. But what’s your conversion rate? Is it one out of five-hundred. For every three-hundred downloads you get do you get one sale.

So the download sites their trying to make money. And I call them software pimps because this is what they do. They take your software, your a small independent software developer. You spend hours upon hours putting together a piece of software hoping that you can sell it.

Are you going be the next WinZip or whatever. No, you’re probably not but you’re trying. And you don’t want to get your dreams crushed. So lets say you finally get your software completed it’s gone through all the testing. It’s gone through this. It’s gone through that and you’re ready to push it out to the market.

How are you going to distribute it. You use the software download sites. They take your software and your nice pretty install and they wrap a monetization package around it. The secondary offer.

So here’s what happens. They’re a software pimp. They’re turning your software into a whore. Their platform becomes the mattress. Your software is the whore and then they get unsuspecting customers. So they’ve basically ruined the software download process It’s destroyed. No wonder why Google has the unwanted software thing going on.

The ASP tried 10 years ago to create a website called safer downloads that disallowed this kind of crap. But everybody wants their slice of pie. They’re all greedy little bastards who sit there and say okay I’m a download site. I know marketing. But, I can’t create a piece of software if my life fucking depended on it.

But they’re good at putting together websites. They have a list. Who knows how they compiled that list. And then in order to stay alive have to sell advertising. Well regular advertising doesn’t work. So then they create the Ask toolbar which is probably the worst offender that I’ve ever seen in my life.

Do you know how many times at work people have downloaded something and the Ask toolbar automatically gets installed and now you’ve got all this crap happening. Yeah, that is the secondary software offer program.

And then places like You go to and your your stuff is listed. I remember 25 years ago when I had my first piece of software out there it’s like oh wow it’s on that’s really cool. If you looked at that website 25 years ago to today it’s like what the hell. They got all these big green buttons that say download now, but none of them are for your software.

Someone finds your product. They go to the description page and there’s seven different friggin download buttons on that page. All of them are big green download buttons. The poor customer doesn’t know what the hell to do. Yeah, there is a need for a safer download website. And the problem is who’s going build it.

The ASP has some great ideas. But the ASP is just a very small organization. ProductHunt understands this. ProductHunt created an environment where they’re keeping the marketers out. Why? Because they are going to pollute it. They’re going to turn it into a secondary offer thing and that’s not what we need. We need something like safer downloads.

Yeah. I may have to talk to Suster and ask him. “Hey do you want to throw some money at a website called safer downloads?” Hey Suster. if you’re listening. Do you want to get involved in a website called safer downloads. If you do let me know.

We’ll put the reputation of the ASP behind you’re money. Go to Google and pitch them a safer download website. Where people can go and download software that’s not going to intrude on their computers and small little software developers like me and all the other product hunters out there who are trying to make this stuff  happen, actually can survive in a world that’s greedy.

So, that’s my take on download sites becoming software pimps.

Gunny out!