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Jan Krohn

Resource sharing vs. Video ads

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The new version of the downloader includes a window running video ads and sponsored content instead of the resource sharing module. Since the resource sharing brought me a lot of criticism, I thought it was time to explore alternatives. And since Amazon.com kicked me out as an affiliate, linking to software sales alone unfortunately no longer covers the bills.

Therefore, please let me know what you think about the new ads window. Is it an improvement compared to resource sharing, or have things become worse?

(Just to clarify, this is not installing any adware, but just an embedded web view of the video player.)

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Well, the new ads window has prompted me to seek an alternative to this program. If that was the intended goal then job well done.

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12 hours ago, MaKa said:

Well, the new ads window has prompted me to seek an alternative to this program. If that was the intended goal then job well done.

The intended goal is to be able to keep all services up, and not to start shutting individual things down.

How about giving you the choice of three options: keep the video player open for two minutes, or donate financially, or donate idle resources? Would that be acceptable?

I'm not trying to get rich here, just trying to make a moderate living by providing tons of free stuff to the community (not only this forum and this tool), and covering the cost for server capacity and enough Windows/Office licenses that are required for generating the download links.

I tried doing that via inobtrusive "idle resource donation". About 4% to 6% of users chose to do so, whereas 40 to 60% would have been required.

Now I understand that not everyone is able to donate idle resources, for example system admins on a company network, or repair shops etc. But I doubt that 94% of users are admins, repair people and similar. Additionally, there have been several reviews of the tool, forum posts and YouTube videos explicitly warning about enabling resource donation claiming that it would harm users' computers.

I tried asking users to show their support in my case against Amazon.com by liking and sharing social media posts. Even if only 4% to 6% of users did so, I assume it would become quite difficult for Amazon to ignore this mess. However, a meagre 0.0001% of users have liked the posts I asked them to like, and sharing has been even less.

Don't get me wrong. Many users are extremely supportive. They donated idle resources, have sent encouraging emails, and all the financial contributions have been simply amazing. You guys rock! But the sad fact remains, that the majority of users is indifferent. And without a more committed user base, I don't see how the tool can be kept ad free (or de-facto ad free by allowing to close the ad window instantly).
As I said before, just one single inobtrusive banner in the side bar, pointing people to buy their licenses on Amazon, would be my preferred model. Should Amazon.com decide to rehabilitate me, within one day there would be a version of the ISO downloader available without any other form of monetization or donation requests. But since I've exhausted all routes of appeal (including a lawsuit), shaming and exposing Amazon.com as the bully they are through a community effort, is one last tiny hope.

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I get it, we all want to make money from our hard work. The problem is when developers start forcing things on the end user. Piriform is a prime example of how to alienate a user base. I personally have no problem paying or donating for "Premium" features. I'm aware of your beef with Amazon but the users of your program have nothing to do with that. I have a monthly internet bill and have a limited ammount of usage each month therefore it irritates me when developers feel they have the right to use my bandwith to make a profit when they don't chip in on paying my bill each month. I'm sorry to say but i feel that this current model is going to push users in a different direction which is unfortunate.

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I understand your point, but I believe you're oversimplifying it in several aspects.

It's not that I "want to make money". This is not optional. I have to make money, not only to keep things going, but also to feed a family. I've said it before that I'm not getting rich with my activities. On top of that, I have to recover the money for server cost and Windows/Office licenses. Again, this is not optional.

The most requested download has been Win Server 2019. In order to be able to provide the download, I need to buy a retail product key to generate the links. The key costs about 700 to 1000 Euro. I'm listening for suggestions how to be able to fund such investment. Accumulating the proceedings of two years worth of 5% of the users donating idle resources will not do it. (And if one day I add only a single license, there are gonna be many complaints that not all language editions can be provided all the time...)

I really am open for ideas and suggestions. Please do share yours.

I hope it has become clear that it's not that I'm not chipping in. Although I'm not chipping in on your monthly internet bill, I'm chipping in on other things (time and money). It has to be a give-and-take. Since it didn't develop into a balanced give-and-take by itself, I took the steps that I did. Yes, it does force things on the end user that they don't want, and I don't like doing that. I'd be happy to implement a viable alternative that also satisfies users who have the bandwidth to download a 4.7 GB Windows disk image, but not a 4.7 GB Windows disk image + 0.04 GB video clip. (I did some bandwidth measuring yesterday.)

You say users have nothing to do with my dispute with Amazon. I agree only partly. Users have nothing to do directly and actively with the dispute. The users have to do with it indirectly, and it affects them.

When YouTube demonetizes a channel, it affects the users. When Patreon deplatforms a channel, it affects the users. (Such as the recent case with Sargon of Akkad. I certainly don't agree with all of his views, and only stumbled across his channel now in the aftermath of his deplatforming, but what's been happening there is a disgrace). The users either have to adapt, or to wave their content goodbye.

So is it the users who decide which of the independent suppliers of free software, publishers, content providers etc. survive, or is it the Silicon Valley establishment who decide for the users by demonetizing people at random without grounds? If it's the users who want to decide, then they have to own the fact that they have at least indirectly to do with such disputes. (A politically interested user base like Sargon has, should be easier to convince about this than a bunch of users who just want to download Windows and Office...)

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Here is another idea:

Why don't you get rid of video ads at the beginning like version 5.21 and before, but for all the downloads that require a product key (Like Windows 7, Office 2010) the user must watch a video or donate resources or share your post about Amazon or donate or help with translation or wait for 2 minutes.

Regards,

SnowBall

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Thanks for the idea.

Restricting advertising to key dependent downloads would be an option if that strategy would cover the gap. Currently, not even the video ads and the donations cover the gap, although the situation is much improved compared to resource sharing. The cost of running all this is not restricted to buying keys, although I've invested many hundreds of dollars/euros per year into keys already. Since I'm tax registered, I need an accountant (plus a license for accounting software); I have to pay for a business liability insurance; the server is already quite powerful and expensive, but still getting dangerously close to its limits again (definitely requiring an update this year).

14 hours ago, SnowBall said:

donate resources

Not coming back unless you have an idea how to get about 50% of the users to agree to resource sharing. I used to receive about $0.0003 to $0.0004 per resource donor per day. Not worth bothering about just for a potentially very small number of contributors.

14 hours ago, SnowBall said:

share your post about Amazon

I've already thought about that. Researching Facebook and Twitter APIs is on my to do list. I also need to make sure that promising incentives to users for sharing stuff is non against FB's or Twitter's terms.

14 hours ago, SnowBall said:

wait for 2 minutes

Wasting people's time and not helping my finances. That's a definite "no".

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Another idea,

Make 3 versions of Windows ISO Downloader:

Free:

  • Free to download All Windows and Office Editions that does not require keys.
  • Lots of Ads.
  • The user must watch a video to generate links.

Trial:

  • Be able to generate 2 key-dependent links per computer, just for people to try or generate links for emergency uses.
  • The user may get one extra download every time they share your post about Amazon.com.
  • Lots of Ads.
  • The user must watch a video to generate links

Paid:

  • Able to generate links of all products available.
  • Free to people who have donated or contributed.
  • No Ads.
  • The user could choose to watch videos or they could skip it.

This might help you a bit... Who knows.

Regards,

ComputerHunter

 

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Hm, the suggestions for "free" and "trial" seem to be much more obtrusive and restricted than the current "free" version. I really don't want to impose more ads and more restrictions upon the users.

The suggestion for the "paid" version is the same that users already get when they contribute (either financially or by translation).

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Actually, I've been thinking about how to help you to get out of this terrible situation for quite some time now😒

Running the server and everything costs money and I think it would be good if we could download everything and add them to torrent files. That will give users more choices, for example that I have all the N versions of Windows 7 (Downloaded from TechBench few years ago) and you don't need an insider account for some of those products, no IP blocking and no server costs. The problem with that is there must be lots of seeders but I don't think that is going to be a big problem.

Anyway, that is the best idea I could think of... Sorry that I can't provide you with any better ideas.

Regards,

SnowBall

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That's very considerate, thanks! The situation is not really terrible, though it could and should be better. But there's no immediate danger of a shutdown. There's even enough money for a server upgrade and for Windows Server licenses.

The downloads come directly from Microsoft, so they don't drain my server anyway.

Downloading from torrent would make the downloader illegal in many locations. That's not really an option.

The concrete issues are:

* The monthly gap caused by the Amazon ban is still at about $1,000, which would be required for operating cost, building some reserves, and paying my own salary. Since I can't cut operating cost, I'm cutting the other two. That's okay. It would be better not to have a gap, but it's manageable, and maybe could even be covered by using a different advertiser.

* 75% of the income is still from the European and Australian Amazons, so I continue to be very much dependent on one mega company, which has already proven to be an untrustworthy bully in the past. Not good. If they decide to also cut me off, then the disaster is complete. So I need to know the alternatives; need to know what works, which advertisers pay well etc.

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9 hours ago, Jan Krohn said:

The downloads come directly from Microsoft, so they don't drain my server anyway.

Well, I know that but isn't the downloader largely serve based?

9 hours ago, Jan Krohn said:

The concrete issues are:

* The monthly gap caused by the Amazon ban is still at about $1,000, which would be required for operating cost, building some reserves, and paying my own salary. Since I can't cut operating cost, I'm cutting the other two. That's okay. It would be better not to have a gap, but it's manageable, and maybe could even be covered by using a different advertiser.

* 75% of the income is still from the European and Australian Amazons, so I continue to be very much dependent on one mega company, which has already proven to be an untrustworthy bully in the past. Not good. If they decide to also cut me off, then the disaster is complete. So I need to know the alternatives; need to know what works, which advertisers pay well etc.

So the main problem is about having an alternative advertiser that pays well incase that the company you rely on cuts you off.

If I was you, I would do some research and hopefully find an alternative🤔.

Regards,

SnowBall

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