The Bottom-Feeders of Software Distribution

When I released my Menubar Countdown app, I posted it to two places: MacUpdate and Apple Downloads.

It has been interesting to see the number of other Mac software download sites that now have Menubar Countdown available. A few have done something of value: for example, Softpedia created their own screenshots.

However, most of the other sites have simply copied-and-pasted the text from MacUpdate or Apple, and put their own advertising and branding around it. This strikes me as being pretty scummy.

Menubar Countdown is freeware, licensed under the GPL, and I have no complaint about them redistributing the app itself. What bothers me is that they copy the descriptions and other text verbatim (which is probably a copyright violation). They don't review the app. They don't promote it. They don't make it easier for users to find it. They do nothing of value; they simply siphon away attention to make a tiny profit for themselves.

Some might say that these other sites are somehow "helping" me by copying my work and pasting it all over the Internet without my consent. I'll refer those people to Merlin Mann's blog post on that subject.

© 2003-2023 Kristopher Johnson