TORONTO, May 3, 2016 – After successful forays into fiber Internet, cell phone service and domain names, Tucows (NASDAQ: TCX, TSX: TC) removes the yoke from tucows.com/downloads.
There was a time when offering software and shareware for people to download was good, honest work.
But then. Then, things got ugly. Then came the dark days where software download sites needed to wring every possible cent out of their wares. Even Tucows downloads, the seminal software download site, was not immune.
Those days made finding a download button in among the various masquerading ads more like tiptoeing through a minefield. Downloading software became a high stakes mission: Double check the pop-up blocker to ensure it’s working. Fire up AdBlock. Deep breath. Swoop in, grab the software in question and run. Oh yeah, and be exceedingly careful what you agree to in the installation process of said software.
No, I don’t want to run a scan on my computer.
Yes, I really do want to close this browser window.
Please. Please just let me go. You can have your software back. Please.
It felt like the digital equivalent of shoplifting, but with all the moral turpitude squarely on the purveyor’s side.
Tucows.com/downloads is once again a bastion for the way software downloads should be.
With Tucows’ success in wholesale and retail domain names (OpenSRS and Hover, respectively) and more recently with mobile phone service (Ting) and fiber Internet (Ting Internet), tucows.com/downloads has become less relevant when looking at the balance sheet.
“We don’t lightly walk away from opportunities or revenue,” said Elliot Noss, CEO of Tucows. “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 the Tucows name associated with,” he continued.
In other words, Tucows is in the enviable position of being able to walk away from easy money in favor of doing what feels right.
“On the Tucows downloads site today, you’ll find no flashing ads. No toolbars. No pop-ups,” said 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.”
In the end, the hope is that maybe, if you enjoy downloading software from the only ad-free downloads site on the Internet, you might consider registering your next domain name with Hover, ditching your current cell phone plan for Ting, moving to a Ting fiber Internet town and embarking on a new career as a domain name reseller on the OpenSRS platform.
The Tucows downloads library has been online since 1993 where it launched, suitably enough, in a public library in Flint, MI. There was a time when almost literally everyone on the nascent Internet touched the Tucows downloads site.
In 1999, Tucows launched OpenSRS (opensrs.com) to challenge the wholesale domain tools and options of the day. OpenSRS today is a major wholesale domain registrar and contributor to the Tucows business with over 13 million domain names under management and 13,000 reseller partners.
Hover (hover.com), meanwhile, challenges the idea that domain names are necessarily complicated and that the path to finding the right online home for your idea is a process that’s littered with upsells and confusion.
Ting (ting.com) challenges the bloated, overpriced and intentionally confusing cell phone plans of the day. In so doing, it saves over 200,000 families and businesses a bunch of money on their monthly mobile phone bills.
Ting Internet (ting.com/Internet) challenges the idea that fiber Internet only makes sense in bigger cities. It brings gigabit fiber Internet access to cities and towns throughout America. Towns that would otherwise be passed over as big guys race to get major metros online with fiber.