Buyer beware: pointless text file wins 16 software awards

Anyone who likes to download freeware and shareware tools from the Internet should read this cautionary tale about the value of “five-star awards” from sites that aggregate and mirror downloads.

Andy Brice, a UK-based software developer, had grown suspicious about “awards” ascribed to freeware and shareware programs that he knew lacked functions and features of rival offerings. So he invented a program named AwardMeStars. It didn’t run; in fact, it wasn’t actually a program. It was a text file comprised solely of the words, “This program does nothing at all,” and renamed as an executable (.EXE). He had a third party submit his file to just about every software aggregation site; then he sat back to watch the results.

His non-operating, do-nothing program won 16 awards. Various cites labeled it “Certified 5-Star,” “Editor’s Pick,” and “Cool Discovery.” All of them, obviously, from sites that didn’t even bother to note the blatant name of the program, nor try to run it even once.

Read more


Advertisements
Advertisement




24 Responses to Buyer beware: pointless text file wins 16 software awards

  1. That sounds interesting but what are some of the sites that gave the awards. Is there somewhere that i can see this?

    • Your asking for the source of an article that is pointing out that free information on the internet can't be trusted kind of ironic. Its freeware but there is no such thing as a free lunch, always do your research and take everything you hear on the internet, and life really, with a grain of salt. If freeware traveled through the same certification as regular software it would no longer be free, thats the price there is no guarantee

  2. That sounds interesting but what are some of the sites that gave the awards. Is there somewhere that i can see this?

    • Your asking for the source of an article that is pointing out that free information on the internet can’t be trusted kind of ironic. Its freeware but there is no such thing as a free lunch, always do your research and take everything you hear on the internet, and life really, with a grain of salt. If freeware traveled through the same certification as regular software it would no longer be free, thats the price there is no guarantee

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.