Posting links directly to download sites January 23, 2004 4:10 PM   Subscribe

Etiquette question. I posted this AM about a small software application. After posting it occurred to me that the link was directly to the download site version tracker and not to the software author site. I felt this may have been bad etiquette on my part and I followed up with a comment redirecting to the author site.

My question, Is it bad etiquette to post an interest link to a download site (such as version tracker)? Presumably because many Metafiler viewers will click through to the download site just to "look" or follow the link and thus adding unnecessary traffic to this site.

On a side note, it would be useful to edit a post after posting it , any plans to implement this functionality?
posted by xtian to Etiquette/Policy at 4:10 PM (6 comments total)

If you want people to know about a piece of software, point them to the best source of information about it. Presumably the author's site, most of the time. If you want people to get a piece of software, point them somewhere with a lot of download bandwidth. It's all about your intent.
posted by majick at 4:24 PM on January 23, 2004

or both links is good too...

I think anything beyond fixing bad html is not usually allowed in a post...after all, you can always add links in the comments.
posted by amberglow at 4:45 PM on January 23, 2004

No harm, no fowl I think. You pointed somebody to a piece of software that they might end up using it. If they end up using it they may pay for it. Whether they found out about it from the authors site or not the software got exposure.

It's like worrying about recommending somebody watch a movie without mentioning the studio's home page.
posted by substrate at 6:05 PM on January 23, 2004

Some software makers' web sites are needlessly cryptic when it comes to actually finding a download link. If I came across a realmedia file and the poster only pointed to as a place to find the player I'd surely give up long before finding where to actually download the free version of their software.

If you feel like giving credit, etc, link to both, and clearly label each.
posted by Space Coyote at 8:04 PM on January 23, 2004

Is there anything RealMedia *isn't* a worst-case scenario of? I mean, they might as well offer their free player software as a prize in that epileptic dolphin game, and cause your computer to physically explode at random intervals. I don't think their reputation would get any worse.
posted by arto at 9:41 PM on January 23, 2004

I'm sure VersionTracker doesn't mind the free traffic. They're a commercial site, they make money by people coming to their site, and pre-educating people about a piece of software before sending them there makes those referrals extra-targeted. I think they'd pat you on the back if they knew about this.

Perhaps it's even more targeted to send the link right to the software manufacturer, but I imagine that many software manufacturers want to concentrate on making software, not making killer websites, and they rely on infomediary sites like versiontracker and to help them get their product out there. These infomediaries offer neat features like review boards, etc, that the developer sites often can't be bothered with Further, while versiontracker has found a way to make money on this kind of traffic, the developer probably considers the bandwidth just another operating expense, a net loss. I think referring to the infomediary is always the right thing to do.
posted by scarabic at 12:28 PM on January 24, 2004

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