Andy Brice, over at Successful Software did an experiment. He submitted fake software to hundreds of download sites and requested the software be given a top rating. You can read about the results of his experiments over on his blog. Needless to say, it would appear that there are lot of untrustworthy sites out there.
This raises an interesting discussion about credible, trustworthy download sites. So I thought it would be a good chance to provide some insight into how our Tucows software submission and rating system works.
An award from Tucows is not given lightly. In fact, just to make it on to our site, a software title needs to maintain a minimum three cow rating, and it needs to generate downloads. Titles that do not maintain an appropriate level of popularity are removed from the library on our site.
We offer a truly “best of” collection of software. One of our team members reviews every single piece of software that is submitted. In fact, over 70% of the submissions to Tucows are rejected because they fail to meet our stringent ratings criteria. In a nutshell, for Windows applications (we have different rating scales for Mac/Linux/Games, etc.), Tucows uses a 56-point rating scale with a large proportion of the rating based on usability (21 points), we allot up to 14 points for Help, Documentation and Support, 10 points for program enhancements, and 11 points for the opinion of the reviewer. The Tucows rating guide is so standardized, that a third-party site provides a “Tucows Rating Calculator” where software authors can analyze their title to get an idea of how it would rate on Tucows.
Our complete rating guide is available for anyone to see and includes details about the types of titles we will not accept and how we determine what to remove for our library. The bottom line for Tucows is this: our 5-cow rating system must be credible and trustworthy so our users can use our site with confidence.