May 16, 2009
Yesterday’s one-trick pony that can rotate a pdf page landed like another belated April Fool’s Day joke on giveawayoftheday (the other one being Abelssoft’s ridiculous Picolo photo-sharing program a few days earlier.)
It used to be the case that GOTD had the occasional mis-fire but they’re beginning to look rather more than merely ‘occasional’. Today’s offering of $60sworth of program that the developer effectively retails for $51 less (though may well be worth exactly $0 at all in terms of quality and performance) highlights the problem of give-aways of “licensed software” — with all that such description implies — whose quoted retail prices aren’t remotely genuine or are factually deceitful (Ashampoo is an expert in give-aways of commercial products that don’t really exist.) If it’s not hypeware or ghostware then it’s crippleware, typified last week by iObit and its “giveaway” of half of the normal full annual licence that any computer user reasonably expects to be standard to any software product.
I have a great fondness for GOTD. I was lucky enough to be a user from its first day, and to enjoy real insights and entertainment in the writings of a regular contributor who preceded Ashraf (then in his political theologian guise.) The offers were, for want of a better word, ‘solid’, whether or not they were consistently relevant to an individual need. But since those heady days, GOTD seems to be losing some of its shine: a few more rotating pdf pages, ‘now-you-can-share-your-photos-with-friends-on-the-Web’ and $9 hypeware, and that hard won lustre might just fade clean away.
By comparison, I track Glarysoft’s giveaways of the day, and even a cursory glance through its archive — dating back to November last year — shows that the substance and quality of the programs being offered on 24-hour download availability there have almost always been the equal of GOTD and now, increasingly often, superior. Glarysoft actually seems to be succeeding where Bits Du Jour failed — at least in regard to BDJ’s ‘100%-off discounts’, marred of late by software offerings so disastrously unchecked that they had to be pulled by BDJ before the ‘discount’ period was even over. (That said, BDJ’s reduced-price offers represent good value — not all the time, but enough of the time to be worth considering after doing some independent research first.)
For many, if GOTD doesn’t have something of appeal on a particular day, then no big deal: just like buses, another freebie will be along soon. For some who believe that something-for-nothing just has to be a bargain regardless of its true price, provenance or ability, even an observation such as this one is treated as rank ingratitude for “all the great work that GOTD does” — either that, or a failure to realize how very very difficult it must be to “find something new” every day of tjhe week. (There’s certainly some truth in the latter argument.)
For me though, I’m thinking that everyone can have an off-day, and perhaps GOTD is stringing a few of ‘em together at the moment. I hope such is the case, because GOTD it was a pioneering website and I’m quite fond of it despite its stubborn daftness over the blatantly manipulated ‘user’ thumbs up/thumbs down system and spam-bomb “comments”. After all: GOTD was the means via which we first discovered the amazing Ashraf. And life really has never been quite the same after that. . .
October 22, 2008
In my experience, all giveaway websites are the same. You will notice pretty much all Glarysoft giveaways have been, at some time, on GOTD and the same can be said vice versa to an extent.
If you think about it, developers with quality products likely don’t need to continue giving away freebies; people will eventually recognize a good program for what it is and buy it. Poor products, and new products, are the ones that need the attention. That is just the nature of the beast. There will be more “off days” than “on days”.
In olden days I used to check GAOTD religiously. I had the link on my Firefox toolbar and installed everything that came along. Then I found that 98% of it I didn’t use or found better alternatives, many suggested by Giovanni in the comments. Now I don’t even check (well, they have no Linux apps).
The only good thing about it is that I found out about DotTech there.
May 16, 2009
Excellent point, Ashraf. There’s no sense in a successful software publisher giving away a successful product so yes, the titles most likely to figure on a giveaway site are those which are new or those so inferior as to merit the devleoper taking a chance on pulling in folks who haven’t done their home work. As nowadays there are seemingly fewer debut softs that are genuinely original, then yes: the off-days for the giveaways do look like becoming more frequent. There really never was such a thing as a free lunch after all.
Vandamme: so true. I don’t check in with GOTD every day as I used to. I wish ‘em well, as we all do: bringing not only some great test-and-use software opportunities in the past AND Ashraf AND Giovanni has to be pretty good going for any website.
As for any GOTD off-days, it’s clearly not exclusive to them. Ashraf’s right (I now see) about the way GOTD and Glarysoft are very often mining the same seam. And having seen BDJ trip up in the past with percentage discount offers (as distinct from the freebies) it’s clear that its own off-days are still continuing: today the well-known Revo PRO is available at a discount of 30% from BDJ, but that’s a very odd kind of bargain seeing as it’s actually on a 50% discount on Revo’s very own website.
Ditto VanDamme: GOTD used be a good source for useful software, but the last two years maybe 3 or 4 offerings have been worth installing, trying and keeping. How many PDF alternates, jpg correctors, video copy packages do loyal followers need?
I suspect many of us have Adobe Acrobat, Photoshop and a favorite disk writer, so why bother with untrusted ones at GOTD?
Lessons: I had free developers versions of Acrobat 5.0 and 6.0 pro which I used for years; learned to love it. Now I have a paid v11 pro. If I had not used the free product for years, its doubtful I’d have paid Adobe’s outrageous price for v11.
I got a sample Photoshop lite more than a decade ago with a PC purchase. Used it up to the release of XP. As a result, I have about 5 different paid versions of Elements and PhotoShop CSS 3.0 and 5.0. Would never have purchased those extremely oppressively overpriced products without the extended use of the free licensed copies.
I have used WordPerfect since 2.0 and have every version up to the X series. Obtained all versions up to 6.1 for no cost to me. WP6.1 was so awesome I bought the CD immediately when I saw it (the only one I have ever seen on the shelf in the USA). Since then have purchased every version up to the X series. I stopped because the product now mimics MSFT’s theory of “code bloat equals a new version to foist on unsuspecting consumers”. Except for Lightning, a fast note maker, the new versions offer nothing substantially new to warrant a new purchase. Novell had better coders and more vision than Corel. If they re-coded 6.1 for 32 bit, I’d buy a few copies.
Aside: Let me make one thing perfectly clear, MSFT Office is in an inferior league when it come to word processing. Nonetheless, I received a free developers version of Office 2007 for which I had to endure a droning 4 hour presentation of Vista (my XP computers did everything they proffered as “new” and used a third the memory). I use it sparingly, but unlike the other products mentioned, this product won’t sell itself. Did I mention the endless security up dates for Office? Exchange is interesting but user unfriendly with a bad user interface, poor back-up, bad search and atrocious file control. Did I mention the endless security up dates? Why anyone would buy Office escapes me. Why businesses and government continue to foolishly buy it is stupefying.
The list goes on. Hopefully the pattern is obvious. Every software writer/company is foolish not to offer a basic version for free to certain users (maybe not the world at large). When users realize the full potential (that definitely takes more than 15 or 30 days, sometimes years) of good product, they’ll buy future advanced versions even if the company is a gouger like Adobe.
As for Giovanni, he is a latent Maynard G. Krebs apparently, I am still waiting for him to identify what he does professionally and to accept my offer to do that for me for free, as he thinks the world should be. Whatever he does, I am positive I need a lot of it!! However, his alternative software examples are much more tasteful that the clutterware GOTD offers these days. ©2013
Anyone have a favorite alternative to GOTD?
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