dotTech’s (New) Free Advertising Initiative: What is it and how you can get involved

As a result of a recent deal with a software developer (hopefully the deal will be finalized tomorrow and I can post about the freebie) I came to realize one way I could “give back” to the people who have helped build this great site by supporting dotTech the whole way: dotTechies. What is that way you ask? It is what I like to call dotTech’s (new) Free Advertising Initiative.

dotTech’s Free Advertising Initiative is a platform created to help facilitate the promotion of commercial software – as freebies – so dotTechies can enjoy them while offering a little somethin’ somethin’ to developers who decide to participate. (I admit, I didn’t come up with the original idea… just modified it to fit our needs.)

Specifically, dotTech’s Free Advertising Initiative is the following: developers who promote their commercial software/web service/etc. on dotTech by offering it for free to dotTechies will receive a free 300×100 ad spot on dotTech. This ad spot can be used to advertise whatever the developer wants, as long as the subject matter falls within dotTech’s ethical boundaries. The details of the promotion (me and the developers negotiate the details – there is no set standard as of yet), will determine how long the ad developer receives the ad spot for free (it can be for a week, two weeks, one month, etc.)

So, how can you get involved? Here is more information:

For Developers

If you are interested in participating in dotTech’s Free Advertising Initiative, contact me and let me know. Please be sure to put something along the lines of “I want to participate in dotTech’s Free Advertising Initiative” in the subject line so I pay close attention to your e-mail (I have a short attention span =P). Also, include the details of your proposal, like what you want to give away, and how you want to do it. I will contact you back with either a refusal, acceptance, or counter-proposal.

Since there are limited number of spots (only 6 ad spots available at a time, so only 6 developers can participate at a time) and the spots are bound to be in high demand, here are a few tips on how to make your proposal successful:

  • Have a good product. I don’t care if you offer to give away your software for free for life with free updates. If it is not a good product, your proposal will be rejected.
  • A permanent giveaway (i.e. dotTechies can download and install the software for free whenever they want) is more likely to be accepted than a time limited or limited licenses giveaway.
  • A time limited but unlimited license (i.e. anyone can download and install the software for free, but the promotion will only be available for a set amount of time) is more likely to be accepted than a limited license giveaway.
  • If you do decide to propose a limited license giveaway, the greater amount of licenses you offer for free, the more likely the proposal will be accepted. Chances are offering a giveaway of a low number of licenses like 15 or 30 will be rejected. (However, never be afraid to ask even if you can only offer a low number of licenses. Worst I can do is say no; best I can do is accept!)
  • Developers are allowed to make offer older versions of their software as part of the giveaway. However offering the latest version is a plus and is more likely to get your proposal accepted.
  • Offering free updates to everyone that participates in the giveaway (regardless of if it is a permanent, time limited, or license limited giveaway) is a plus and is more likely to get your proposal accepted.
  • Making the giveaway 100% “dotTech Exclusive” (i.e. no other website has the same promotion) is a plus and is more likely to get your proposal accepted.
  • Promising to not point and laugh at me when you become millionaires – because of the high quality traffic you received from dotTech – while I am a struggling grad student searching for the meaning of life… is greatly appreciated but not necessary.

NOTE: As per site-wide policy, no formal review is ever written explicitly for a promotion because that would be a conflict of interest; only reviews that were conducted prior to the promotion – i.e. with no chance of conflict of interest – can be mentioned in giveaway posts. (Reviews conducted prior to the promotion can be updated to reflect the latest version of your software, if you wish.)

You are welcome to ask for a review in association with your giveaway, but I will always politely decline.

For dotTechies/non-developers

Spread the word! Let your favorite software developers know about dotTech’s Free Advertising Initiative. (Simply providing a link to this article with a friendly “Hey check this out – you can get free advertising” will often do the trick.) The more developers that know about this, the better freebies dotTech can offer.

As I said, this is a new thing I just started. Lets hope this is a success inshAllah.

Number of spots currently open for dotTech’s Free Advertising Initiative: 4/6

Note: As I am sure everyone has noticed, there are 3 physical ad spots, but 6 opening for developers to participate. This means that the 3 ad spots will be rotating ads. In other words, when there are 3 or more developers participating at a time, ads will rotate in and out randomly.

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  • I would like to go with this offer whats the procedure Ashraf?

  • secret2008

    There are more spots now with only 2 ads on display. (WinUtillities, WinX)

  • Ashraf

    @Andy: Yes I know. Not exactly cheating me – I knew about it. I suppose the word “exclusive” is a bit… allusive here. In other words, WinUtilities Pro promotion was given to other websites also, but this specific WinUtilities Pro promotion is for dotTech only hence it being a dotTech Exclusive, if you get what I mean. I should rethink how I label these promotions, I suppose.

    @secret2008: 1 spot actually (the fifth one will be put up soon). Thanks for reminding me – I forgot to update.

  • secret2008

    Isn’t there only 2 spots left? There is already Glary Utilities, Paragon, WinUtilities, and Sog.

  • Andy

    Hi Ashraf,

    WinUtilities Pro is not exclusive for dotTech, i found this on , please check it :

    It means that they cheated you?

  • @MikeR: A mod can’t correct another person’s post…

  • MikeR

    Oh Gawd. Do I really have to spel it?

    Things are bad enough as it is with Ashraf thinking I’m calling him riff-raff.

  • Ozzie

    @MikeR: Well at least I know my name would be spelled correctly on the cheque!

  • MikeR

    @ Ozzie:

    Cheque’s in the post.


  • Ozzie

    @Maddog: Hear, hear!

  • Maddog

    This is what dottech is all about.Friendly helpful discussion.All led by Ashrafs’ example.You set a brilliant example of how a site should be done mate.Keep up the good work one and all.InshAllah and peace out :-)

  • Ozzie

    @Adrian: Not a one of us – with the possible exception of the esteemed and eloquent MikeR – is immune to typos! And thank you for taking it in the lighthearted spirit it was intended!

  • acr

    I like the advertising initiative. It would seem to be better than many of the sites that promote freeware that is meant for others. And there is a lot of freebies that are later blacklisted, such as free promos of antivirus programs that later have their keys blacklisted. Then there’s the freebies that I come to find out later are very old versions and outdated. I get so tired of all that kind of stuff. It’s not worth the hassle. So a legit freebie type campaign would be nice. Maybe also consider offering software at a greatly reduced price? I would consider those offers as well.

    Maybe another avenue for you to try would be to have people register earlier than the promo? That way loyal visitors of your site would have a higher chance of winning should you have drawings. Or make some sort of tiered rules where people who have registered and have been active participants have a higher chance of winning software giveaways? Just thoughts…I know the main idea is to attract new posters as well so maybe the tiered program is not so great. I don’t know.

  • Adrian

    @Ozzie: Sorry. I was hurrying to do something else and forgot to check my spelling.

  • Ashraf

    @joa1: Your idea is interesting and it is indeed one type of business model. Currently, though, most companies that implement something like you are suggesting are Asian software companies. It would be interesting to see if more Western companies will follow suit.

    @MikeR: You, my friend, are a big part of this website’s helpful community. So, while I say “you are welcome”, I must also say “thank you”.

    @Adrian: Thank you for catching my typo. It is fixed.

    Secondly, no the idea is not from For-free. I came up with the Free Advertising Initiative after YL Computing contacted me with promoting WinUtilities Pro on dotTech (I based my idea off how they wanted to promote WinUtilities Pro).

    Thirdly, I am hardly ever “fighting” with them. I do honestly believe the interwebz is big enough for both of them so I don’t really care what they do, hence I don’t pay much attention to them in terms of rivalry. However, I can’t say the same for them… unfortunately. They seem to think the whole world is out to get them >.>’.

    Lastly, while I appreciate you helping me proofread (I truly appreciate it – I hate typos but rarely am able to fix them without someone letting me know) but please no insulting other people. This is a friendly place, so lets keep it that way… even if you don’t like what someone said, or how they said it. Keep in mind there are always two different ways to say the same thing: one in a friendly, constructive manner and the other in an arrogant, I am better than you manner.

    @Ozzie: Thanks for having my back.

    @MikeR: Bravo for, yet again, writing a thoughtful counter-argument without having to put-down your opponent. Honestly and truly if more people on the interwebz followed MikeR’s lead on how to conduct a discussion, maybe there wouldn’t be so much hostility as there is.

    As for your comments on how I don’t have time to proofread: You are right. However, I must admit laziness also plays a aspect. In that regard, I truly do appreciate people who point out my typos and highly encourage everyone to do so.

    @Samuel: Glad you agree =). And I also frown upon the fighting – lets keep dotTech friendly and mature.

  • Its a good idea! Only downside I see is all the fighting here!

  • MikeR

    Hi Adrian:

    I don’t think even a mod goes around re-writing a contributed post so I’d very much doubt that a solitary webmaster has time to do so.

    The reason why I doubt it is because of a reality you kindly high-lighted elsewhere in your comment, i.e., Ashraf does indeed get some of his own text wrong.

    But he gets it wrong not because he’s slip-shod, or illiterate, or contemptuous of his audience, but because he’s hard-pressed for time.

    I’ve no idea how many minutes his clock accommodates within an hour, but it sure as heck must be more than the sixty in mine.

    And even with that, he’s still left in the position of having to pen one-draft efforts, notable not for any errors that may occur, but for their well-nigh complete absence.

    Me, I need three or four goes just to get a comment like this into readable form.

    Ashraf doesn’t have that luxury: as you say, he’s a student, he has a host of other commitments and obligations to contend with; is both a labour of love and a reflection of unending effort.

    Re your remark about my reference to “novel idea”.

    My apologies: I had meant to convey my delight in the initiative’s novelty value.

    I didn’t say it was “original” because, er, um, Ashraf himself said it wasn’t original.

    As to your joke about another website with whom is “constantly fighting”, well, apologies for flattening the humour, but there is no constant. . .


    Come to that, there is no other website, either: the one to which I think you’re referring was so long since eclipsed by Ashraf’s that its continuing existence can only be surmised, lost as it is in the shadow of

    You’re welcome to try finding it, though if my long-ago experience of its character and content is anything to go by, I doubt you’ll conclude there’s much in the way of reward for your efforts.

    Anyway! Welcome to

    It may not be the best primer for a class in Creative Writing, but then, it doesn’t pretend to be.

    Rather, it’s a little spot in cyber-space where folks from all over the world can get together, without belittling each other or indulging in adolescent points-scoring.

    Ashraf may be young. But this place, thankfully, is one of the most mature anywhere on the ‘Net.

  • Ozzie

    @Adrian: Can you at least spell “paragraphs” correctly before you comment on other people’s postings?

    FYI: There is no constant fighting with the website you mention (although I take it that you make that comment in jest – I hope). They may choose to engage in such low smear campaigns, but you will see that Ashraf does not stoop to those levels. Way I see it, that is a sorry reflection on them. There have been a few occasions in the past when I have tried to post a comment in support of our host on that site, but naturally they were never allowed to see the light of day. Now I wouldn’t visit that site if you paid me. Ain’t no one here interested in such garbage. If you like what Ashraf does, then great. If you don’t, then don’t visit the site. It’s just that simple.

    Personally, I am sick to bloody death of the slurs and negativity. I have come this far in life by learning to trust my instincts. And I believe wholeheartedly in Ashraf and wish him nothing but success in life. And I know a lot of other visitors here are of a like mind.

    PS. I hope my ‘parargraph” spacing meets your requirements.

  • Adrian

    Ashraf, you are a student? And your articles are so good. I don’t believe it. BTW, “I don’t think if you offer to give away your software for free for life with free updates.”
    Shouldn’t that be “I don’t care if you offer to give away your software for free for life with free updates.”

    You got this idea from 4-free right? Anyway, there is no need to credit 4-free since you are constantly fighting. :)

    @MikeR: It is not a novel idea, at least not one by Ashraf.

    @joa1: Joa1, can you please write your comments with parargraphs? Your comments have a point, but they are difficult to read when there are no paragraphs. Maybe Ashraf could correct this?

  • MikeR

    A novel idea, Ashraf, and one of mutual benefit because it seems to me that posts from dot.techies are more considered and constructive than is often the case elsewhere. Certainly, if I was a developer, I’d be more interested in a user forum where posters were saying something rather more helpful than “this looks gr8, m8! Gimme it now!”

    On the subject of thoughtful posts, hats off to joa1: although I’d been vaguely (very vaguely) aware of TeamViewer, it wasn’t until just now that I’ve been prompted to actually look at it in more detail.

    joa1’s link has taken me to what has to be one of the best product websites anywhere, a real credit to the developer and a classic example of what can be achieved when time and care is invested.

    On the basis of which, I’m about to DL that software now — evidence, were such needed, of’s value to users and providers alike.

    Thanks again, Ashraf and joa1.

  • joa1

    Ron,Just to clarify, my idea was not that giveaways would be watermarked! That would not be acceptable, nope… just that some of the big guys, and i mean software that sells for hundreds if not thousands of dollars, would make it possible for hobbyists, people who cannot afford their products, to still legally use them… A watermark can be discrete, lower resolution still allow one to do some work, see results, learn, etc., rather than be limited to those 15 days or 30 days (complex software cannot be learned in 15-30 days!, it is ridiculous!) By the way, I checked the Toon Boom product I mentioned… this is the right info: “The Toon Boom Animate Pro Personal Learning Edition is a special version that provides free access to Toon Boom Animate Pro for non-commercial use. Those using Personal Learning Edition (PLE) have access to the same toolsets of Toon Boom Animate Pro. The PLE restricts users to non-commercial applications through the display of a watermark on images, a limited resolution of 540×540, limited PDF/AI import options as well as the use of a special non-commercial file format (please note that projects done in this version can only be opened in the PLE version).” Another program that comes to mind (and was last year acquired by Google) is Sketchup (there’s a free for all version and a PRO, paid version… better than nothing…) But would be nice if full, no limit versions where available, and some popup just mentioned a non-paid version… something… Would also probably get rid of most of pirated software out there! (Maybe…)

  • Ashraf

    @joa1: Hmm I don’t totally agree with you but I see what you are saying.

    @Ron: What do you mean? Everyone has a fair chance of getting it – regardless of when they commented as long as it was before the end time… which just happens to be now. Going to close the drawing.

  • Ron

    As joa1 said, “free for non-commercial use” makes a software more appealing. “Watermarking” an image would not be acceptable in a giveaway, imho. Ymmv.

    There are other considerations, including rational behavior by dotTechies. Your offer of 30 free licenses for Backup4All Pro elicited 255 replies. It seems to me that posters who were more than 75th in line should have realized their chances were probably non-existent. Explanations as to why the software is important to a reader are far better than “Give me a key” or “I want this.”

    It’s a perfectly good concept; well worth pursuing.

  • joa1

    This is a great idea Ashraf… but here is a little stretch, if you think you can pull it into what you have in mind right now. One thing that always puzzles me, is why developers do not provide (well, some do, but they really are a minority) fully functional, no time limit trial copies of their software, with one condition: not for profit use. End result in many cases could be limited or “marked” (an image could be watermarked, a popup window could show up saying the software is being use unpaid and so, should not be sold, etc.) If they did, I am sure they would have a larger user base, because a lot more people would buy and learn their software and eventually buy it for commercial, professional use one day… Two examples of companies that do this are (the animation movies output by the Studio version is size limited, I think 800×600, so no commercial use possible, but all functionality in the educational version is there, nothing is left out!), another is the folks at — I use it to help friends and family with their PCs, and it is totally free for non commercial use! (And this is an amazing tool!)… Maybe some developers would consider this, and dottech could be instrumental in setting a new model for this sort of thing… just my 2 cents, and as always, kudos for your work here!