Tuesday, July 26, 2011

7 Tips Before You Download Video Conversion Software

Please be careful. There is so much crapware. This is especially true of video conversion software. I have seen pseudo freeware that is chocked with toolbars, tracking software and other advertising crud. There is straight out malware presenting itself as a video converting program.

I strongly suggest that you download software directly from the vendor web site and not a third party "free software" type place. My limited exceptions are CNet's Download.com and Major Geeks. These sites have been around a long time and have my trust. I use them but I always look at the vendor site before I download.

As I am going through the web site this is what I am looking for:

Who created the software?
Yes, the product has a name but who created the software? There is a difference between those that create and those that just sell it.

What exactly will be installed on your system?
In addition to the software what else will you get? A toolbar? A nag screen to pay to upgrade for a more advanced version? Advertisements? Does the site inform you of that fact on the download page? Is it any place on the web site?

You did look before downloading, right? Know the difference between free, trial, ad-supported, adware, and shady backdoor installations.

Where are they located?
Can you easily find that information on the web site? Is there a phone, mail, e-mail address at the stated domain? What country are they in?

How do you contact them?
Is it by e-mail only or is there a phone number? Contact only via a web page? Do you have to pay to talk to them about a problem with the software?

Is there a Help/Support Page?
I don't care how simple the software is there should be a help or support page. An FAQ would be nice. Screen captures are very helpful but honestly, I do expect to see a photo demonstration of how to use the product or a video from the vendor.

What do other people say about the product?
You want to check blogs, forums or user responses from video nerd/geek sites. Beware of Answer type sites. This will be chocked full of people paid to stink up the answers with links to dicey programs.

Is there an affiliate selling program attached to the product?
I can be on a video or film site. Any time there is any mention of a camcorder or video software you can bet that you will see a comment clucking up the conversion software with a link back to the vendor with their selling code attached. Which is another reason to be cautious around Answer type sites and open comments on retail vendor sites.

No other words for them but selling trolls. Well, I got other words, just can't use them. No matter what the question is they will toot how the conversion software will solve their problem. Even if it is a choice between Pampers and Huggies diapers.

My additional pet peeve? Big honking flashing banner ads. I will never purchase anything from any company that still uses icky 1998 flashing banner ads.

Honestly, there is good free, open source and commercial video converter software. The goal of this post is to keep you away from the bad stuff.

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