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Tucows Bans Pop-Up Ads, Goes Ad-Free (globenewswire.com) 86

HughPickens.com writes: Tucows began as a software downloads site nearly 25 years ago and has since evolved beyond that early core business and into domain names, mobile phone service and symmetrical gigabit fiber Internet in select towns and cities in the US. Now Tucows has announced that as a gesture of goodwill, Tucows has banned deceptive ads, hidden download buttons, pop-ups, flypaper, toolbars and other such Internet nastiness from the the nearly 40,000 software titles it hosts for users on it's download sites.

"On the Tucows downloads site today, you'll find no flashing ads. No toolbars. No pop-ups," says CEO Elliot Noss. "You might see a few plugs for other Tucows services, but nothing too egregious and certainly not anything that's pretending to be a download button." With Tucows' success in domain names, mobile phone service (Ting) and fiber Internet (Ting Internet), Tucows' revenue from downloads has become less relevant when looking at the balance sheet. "We don't lightly walk away from opportunities or revenue," says Noss. "In the end, though, we'd rather have the Tucows name associated with good; with a belief in the power of the Internet to affect positive change. An ad-heavy site that packages browser toolbars along with every download isn't something we want people to think of when they hear 'Tucows,'."

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Tucows Bans Pop-Up Ads, Goes Ad-Free

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  • Tu-who? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gweilo8888 ( 921799 ) on Saturday May 07, 2016 @06:33PM (#52068237)
    I've been here basically from the start, and was a religious Tucows user for a long time. I can't remember anyone having mentioned their name for 15 years.

    Sometimes, getting rid of the ads you're not getting to show because you have almost zero traffic is worthwhile, if the tradeoff is that publications will write about you and raise awareness, getting your traffic back from "negligible" to "modest".

    And then six months down the line, you quietly start reintroducing the ads and making your quotas.
    • by creimer ( 824291 )

      I can't remember anyone having mentioned their name for 15 years.

      Same here. The world has moved on, but Tucows is still here. Someone forgot to send out the memo.

      • by bmk67 ( 971394 )

        Tucows was still around? I would have thought they'd have burned through any cash reserves and positive cash flow shortly after they burned through their goodwill.

        • I think that was GoDaddy, but I can't remember shit anymore... think thats why we invented these darn machines! I need someone to tell me who to be pissed at! So I can throw my walker at them!

    • Re:Tu-who? (Score:5, Informative)

      by wbr1 ( 2538558 ) on Saturday May 07, 2016 @07:41PM (#52068437)
      You ever heard of a thing called ting? Doing well, one of the best mvno services around. And building gig fiber, in my town too. Ddont discount them because you haven't heard of them in a while.
      • You ever heard of a thing called ting? Doing well, one of the best mvno services around. And building gig fiber, in my town too.

        I can't be arsed to care since I live in the sticks and barring psuedorandom chance leading someone to use my neighborhood for a trial, there is no chance I will get decent internet access before Siberia is fully wired.

    • Been about ten years for me. The ISP I worked for way back in 2006 was using tucows as a domain registrar (we were a reseller), and I wrote some scripts to automatically set DNS settings on the Tucows side for our DNS servers. After I left that job, I completely forgot about them. I really had no idea they were still around.

    • Tucows is still around but their name is far less visible. Their primary businesses these days are wholesale domains (OpenSRS), retail domain services (Hover), and phone and internet services (Ting). All of those have the Tucows name only in fine print. The increasingly irrelevant download site is the only thing they run that prominently features the Tucows name.
  • Too little too late (Score:5, Informative)

    by bloodhawk ( 813939 ) on Saturday May 07, 2016 @06:36PM (#52068247)
    Once upon a time tucows was my first stop to find downloads. Been more than a decade now since I even heard the name I think. The ad's, download buttons and toolbars was enough to chase me away and stop me ever recommending it again. While I applaud the effort of removing this shit I won't be going back now as once lost Trust is near impossible to earn.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Even SourceForge and CNET used to be legit. You can't undo years worth of BS, sorry TuCows but you get the MOOOOOO!!!

    • While I applaud the effort of removing this shit I won't be going back now as once lost Trust is near impossible to earn.

      Bollocks. You and everyone else will use them once they float back up to the top of the google results.

      • perhaps you have such a flighty or fickle nature that forgives or forgets easily. I can assure you I do not, I will happily go to extra lengths to avoid dealing with companies or individuals I believe have screwed me over even if it means more work on my part.
  • Deceptive Ads (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Ads that masquerade as download buttons are the lowest form of online vermin, having displaced "You are our 1,000,000th visitor!" some time ago.

  • by redcliffe ( 466773 ) on Saturday May 07, 2016 @06:45PM (#52068279) Homepage Journal

    There's no problem with having a lot of ads. People who don't like it will use adblock.

    The key problem with sites like Tucows was the deliberate deception. There's a huge difference between advertising a product or service that might be relevant to the user and trying to make people click on an ad by tricking them. Having 16 buttons that pretend to be the download button is just stupid. I don't understand what advertiser would pay for that, unless they're also shonks.

    • The key problem with sites like Tucows was the deliberate deception. There's a huge difference between advertising a product or service that might be relevant to the user and trying to make people click on an ad by tricking them.

      And some of those Download buttons are downloading stuff you don't want on you're computer.

      Having 16 buttons that pretend to be the download button is just stupid. I don't understand what advertiser would pay for that, unless they're also shonks.

      Dunno what a shonk is, but it sounds about right!

      • Dunno what a shonk is, but it sounds about right!

        I think it might be the sound you make when you realize you've been shlonged.

    • Oddly, I just downloaded irfanview; I was surprised to see that one of the download mirrors was for tucows, which I had used regularly twenty years or so ago not only for windows programs but also for Linux ISOs (or, probably, diskette images). Time moved on and so did I when they introduced deceptive ads and such, so I went to the home page link with some trepidation. There was a large, green download button listed first, so, out of habit with such sites, I picked another.

      The download went well, and the

    • Advertisers are malevolent sociopath retards. They are well and truly among the most repugnant creatures the world has ever known. Remember, marketers are the guys that helped Hitler convince Germans that Jews were evil, and convinced generations of people that smoking tobacco was hip and cool. Advertisers are absolute scum, and while in the olden days they were scum who put some effort into understanding the human mind to trick us, now they're just worthless moronic scum who think if they throw enough shit

  • TIL (Score:5, Funny)

    by wallsg ( 58203 ) on Saturday May 07, 2016 @06:45PM (#52068283)

    Today I learned that Tucows is still around.

    • Today I learned there is something called Tucows. I would have guessed it was the Cowclicker App but double as good.
      • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

        Today I was reminded of Tucows, dropped in to look and noticed I had blocked it's scripts and cookies and can not remember why, oh well, better safe than sorry, no real point testing to find out why I blocked it's scripts and cookies, so many other choices.

  • Please select from these 57 toolbars that you want to add to your browser
    • [X] YES I would like take advantage of my limited, one-time special offer to have InstantComputerFixer++ Pro and InstantComputerFixer++ Pro BrowserToolBar installed for FREE alongside this software!
    • by MrL0G1C ( 867445 )

      What I hate is when that option is hidden in the 'custom install' or worse, it's hidden in a tree of installation options... in the custom install.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I have not visited this site since the late 1990s ... They are largely obsolete. I am surprised that someone is the CEO

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 07, 2016 @07:13PM (#52068365)

    I remember many years ago when Slashdot editors were almost apologetic about needing to include a banner ad in order to pay the bills. Nobody liked it, but it was a necessary evil. We got over it because the banner ads weren't tracking us across multiple sites, weren't being deceptive, and weren't serving up malware. We didn't like them, but they weren't that bad. I recall a similar level of advertising on Sourceforge.

    Fast forward to today and noscript blocks numerous advertising scripts on Slashdot. Sourceforge is polluted with ads and, for awhile, bundled malware with some downloads. These ads are sometimes harmful to browser performance and often are deceptive.

    On other sites, I've seen particularly distasteful tactics on mobile interfaces. Instead of the ads loading when the page initially loads, they load when you scroll to that point in the page. Ads appear where there once was text to try to trick users into clicking. Because those ads could potentially serve up malware, it's more than a minor annoyance.

    Somehow, this is what we've come to. Because of the dangers of advertising, I won't click on any ad and I certainly won't be installing any toolbars or bundled software. I would be happy to go back to animated GIFs that are targeted to a website's audience. If I go to Slashdot, I see animated GIFs advertising tech products and services. If I go to ESPN, I'll see animated GIFs about products of interest to sports fans like bigger and better TVs or for sports bars. I have no problem with approximate geolocation based on my IP, though nothing else.

    But this wasn't good enough. And for that reason, I block all ads except Hulu. I have no way of knowing what's safe and what isn't. I'm sorry, but Tucows, Sourceforge, and CNet have destroyed their reputations and won't earn my trust back. I'll never click any Forbes link ever again. Google and Facebook are highly evil, too. And all this greed has ensured I'll never click on any ad again. If I happen to see an interesting ad, I won't click it. I'll Google the business and look them up that way to avoid malware.

    Just say no. Block all ads, and only whitelist a few sites that aren't deceptive. And don't give that trust back. Sites like Tucows, Sourceforge, and CNet don't deserve to be trusted again. Not for a long, long, long time.

    • I don't block adverts. Concerning Slashdot, I generally don't find them offensive, and given that I come here regularly, I think Slashdot deserve the revenue. Similarly for other sites I visit and find useful, like DistroWatch.

      (There are even some adverts that, once in a while, I find interesting!)

      I've decided that my way of blocking adverts is just not to visit those sites which host adverts I consider to be obnoxious.

      And should I decide in the end I don't want to see adverts on Slashdot but to st
  • Et Tu /. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ArhcAngel ( 247594 ) on Saturday May 07, 2016 @07:28PM (#52068405)
    Tucows really is the nicest internet company out there today. And there isn't a single /. member who didn't benefit from their download site years ago. Every comment so far has completely missed the part where Tucows is making so much money doing other things it is choosing to provide the download site gratis going forward. I signed up for Ting [ting.com] in 2013 and have been saving $100 mo. on my cell service ever since. As icing on the cake their web site is easy to use, shows me pertinent information and they have actual live people to talk to if you have a problem. Ting was doing Google Fi before Google. They are also doing fiber internet. Google has gotten a lot of good ideas from Tucows. [tucows.com] If you are a business in need of creating an internet presence and no clue where to start Tucows is definitely the right place.
    • by wbr1 ( 2538558 )
      This. I actually expect Google to look at acquiring Tucows/ting in the next couple years.
    • And there isn't a single /. member who didn't benefit from their download site years ago.

      A bold claim. I've never used it.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Nice of you to use an affiliate URL too. Crawl back in your hole, shill. No one believes you anymore.

      • by guises ( 2423402 )
        Oh dang, you're right. Here I had thought I had seen something honest... I had made a mental note to myself: "Today, I have seen an honest endorsement on the internet. This may not be a momentous event, but it's an unexpected marker that there's still good in the world." It was briefly uplifting. ::sigh::
    • I remember Tucows, and yes, I did use them regularly. I think what stopped me using them was my gradual switch to Linux. Most software can now be found in the distributions repository, or if not, downloaded directly from the software's own site, so why go to a third party to download?

      (Especially that I'm likely to try and find a hash to check the download, which I would only trust from the home site anyway!)

      I do still run Windows under VirtualBox, but the only non-Microsoft software I've installed are
    • by twokay ( 979515 )
      If i need to send a friend a link to some freeware program then i will use tucows now, word about the "safe pop-up free" site usually gets around pretty fast for those looking for the service they offer. Certainly better than sending someone to sourceforge for something and ending up with them mining bitcoin in the background. If they are making money from their other endeavours it seems like a good move to me.
  • Just visited their site. Not many listings and what's there is very old. Perhaps they will repopulate the site with some software from this decade.

    Yes, they were a favorite in the last century before the scams. It's a cute name, cute logo, clean site (mostly due to little useful information). There aren't many honest competitors in this field- let's hope they do right.

  • "We've stopped deceptive advertising and infecting you computers with adware/malware not because it's the right thing to do, but because it doesn't make money anymore".

  • I used tucows a lot many years ago. Then they started with the sleazy ads and practices. So I left.
    It probably will take another 15 years of decent behaviour to get me back.
  • If I'm installing LibreOffice, I'll get it from libreoffice.org. Getting it from a place like Tucows is asking for trouble. And download.com is a wretched hive of scum and villainy.

  • It's the first I've heard of the term. From the context, it might mean sites that keep popping up if you try to leave their pages. I Googled it but learned nothing. Can anyone enlighten me?
  • This sets a bad example. If everyone is expecting everything for free than how is anyone supposed to make any money from the Internet??

    TUCOWS should be shamed for giving the free market a bad name. What are they, communists or something like that?

The computer can't tell you the emotional story. It can give you the exact mathematical design, but what's missing is the eyebrows. - Frank Zappa

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