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Softonic Review: Is This Download Service Safe To Use?

We know a lot of you are concerned about malicious software, so in our Softonic review, we take you through everything that you need to know.

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softonic review is this download service safe to use

There are countless websites on the internet that offer free software applications, and Softonic is among the largest and oldest among them. But just because a website has been around for a long time and is used by millions of people every day doesn’t guarantee that it’s also safe to use. In our Softonic review, we’re taking a closer look at this download service to provide a definitive answer to everyone who is concerned about downloading malicious software.

What Is Softonic?

what is this download service

Before diving straight into the Softonic review, let’s briefly talk about the basics. The Softonic download service is a website that allows its users to download millions of software applications and games free of charge. It’s used by over 100 million users every month, making it one of the largest of its kind.

The website was launched in 1997 as a file-oriented download service called Shareware Intercom. Initially, it was owned and operated by a Spanish provider of internet services and selected as one of the best places to work in Spain.

In 2015, Softonic changed leadership when industry veteran and Download.com co-founder Scott Arpajian was appointed as its CEO. Today, the download service delivers more than 4 million software applications per day and has a revenue of between $25 and $50 million.

What Does Softonic Offer?

softonic download categories

Softonic offers a broad selection of software applications and games for Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS. The available applications are subdivided into the following categories:

  • Browsers
  • Security & Privacy
  • Business & Productivity
  • Internet & Network
  • Multimedia
  • Development & IT
  • Education & Reference
  • Lifestyle
  • Personalization
  • Social & Communication
  • Travel & Navigation
  • Utilities & Tools

While all applications offered by Softonic can be downloaded for free, the applications themselves are not always free, depending on their license. Here are the most common license types that you may encounter on the website:

  • Free: You can use these applications for free without any restrictions.
  • Free (GPL – General Public License): You can not only use these applications for free, but you can also study their code, modify them, and distribute them.
  • Free With Ads: Ad-supported applications can be used for free, but they will display ads.
  • Trial Version: Applications of this kind can be used free of charge only for a limited amount of time.
  • Demo: These are limited versions of full applications that don’t provide access to all features.
  • Paid: Such software can be used only after purchasing a valid license.

In practice, this means that clicking the download button when attempting to download an open source software application like VLC results in the download of an installation file, while clicking the download button on, let’s say, the Microsoft Word page redirects you to Microsoft’s website, where you can purchase a license.

Why Do Some People Doubt Softonic?

why some people doubt softonic

Softonic has been offering software applications for more than two decades, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that it has both fans and critics. In fact, it doesn’t take much effort to find a whole host of negative reviews that accuse the website of distributing dangerous malware.

Just take a look at these examples:

  • This website is a virus farm which will completely destroy your computer and litter it with so many viruses and trojans. You will have to either get your whole computer fixed or get a new one. (Source)
  • Had so much trouble with Softonic before, installing stuff on my PC without permission, malware and takes forever to figure out how to get it off. Takes over your browser, and always leaves some unknown process running in task manager. (Source)
  • I downloaded a software here and got a virus. Contacted them on twitter, they said everything was checked by over 30 antiviruses. I Trusted them, they lied. (Source)

Reviews like these are not to be taken lightly because a single malware infection can cost you hours and hours of valuable time, not to mention your data. That’s why it’s important to investigate whether they’re based on facts or fiction.

Is Softonic Safe?

On its website, Softonic claims to be the safest software destination on the internet, offering Clean and Safe guarantee to ensure a totally safe user experience.

During our Softonic review and thorough testing, we were pleased to discover that the platform doesn’t package software installers inside custom wrappers configured to download additional software and display annoying ads. When an application wasn’t available on Softonic’s servers, the site promptly redirected us to its official download page.

download softonic software

When it comes to downloading paid software, Softonic gives you the option to purchase a license from a trusted partner, which is sometimes the developer itself and sometimes a third-party company. We highly recommend you avoid giving your credit card information to third parties since doing so introduces too many security risks.

As long as you stick to free software and protect yourself by following the tips described in the next section of this article, you should be safe when downloading from Softonic.

How To Stay Protected When Downloading From Softonic?

The dangers you face when downloading software from Softonic are not much different than the dangers you face when downloading any files from the internet, which means that you can effectively protect yourself by keeping in mind the following tips for safe downloading:

  • Use an antivirus: You can’t see inside installation files, but an antivirus can so make sure to always have one running on your computer.
  • Install an ad-block: Like most websites today, Softonic displays ads to make money. Since the ads are selected algorithmically, they may not always be legitimate, so proactively blocking them by installing an ad-block is the safe thing to do.
  • Avoid questionable software: Softonic isn’t responsible for the quality of the applications it offers, so you need to use common sense and avoid those with an overwhelming number of negative reviews.
  • Don’t download what you don’t need: We understand that software applications can be extremely interesting to explore, but you should try to resist the urge to download everything you see.
  • Back up your data: You should always be ready for the worst-case scenario by keeping your data safely backed up on an external storage device or in the cloud.

Also Read: Fresha Review – The Best Salon & Spa Management Software

Conclusion

Just like all download services that offer large quantities of software, Softonic contains both legitimate applications as well as applications that should be avoided. The site itself, however, can be trusted because it doesn’t distribute malware and actively tries to make its users safe. If you found this Softonic review helpful, do let us know in the comments below!

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Website Reviews

Fakespot Review: Easily Identify Fake Online Reviews

It’s estimated that consumers around the world spend $152 billion a year under the direct influence of fake online reviews, and the problem is only getting worse.

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Fakespot

There’s an epidemic of fake reviews on sites like Amazon, TripAdvisor, and eBay. Deceitful sellers are willing to go to great lengths to make their products seem legitimate and popular, including hiring people on social media and various shady online forums to write fake reviews for money.

It’s estimated that consumers around the world spend $152 billion a year under the direct influence of fake online reviews, and the problem is only getting worse. The good news is that some companies are trying to curb the spread of fake reviews, and Fakespot is among the most prominent players.

What Is Fakespot & Why Should I Use It?

fakespot homepage

Fakespot is a service that uses machine learning and artificial intelligence to detect dishonest reviews on popular shopping sites. The service seamlessly integrates with Chromium-based web browsers, Firefox, iOS, and Android, making it easy to analyze product listings to determine if they are trustworthy.

Fakespot was co-founded in 2016 by Saoud Khalifah and Rob Gross. The company is based in New York City, and it has so far raised $5.3 million in funding, with $4 million raised last year in Series A funding led by Bullpen Capital, with participation from Graph Ventures, Faith Capital Holdings, 500 Startups, and Ty Shay.

Also Read: Awok: The Rise & Fall Of An E-Commerce Giant

“Our mission is to be the most trust-obsessed company on Earth. That starts with empowering our customers to avoid e-commerce scams and make informed purchases. We make reviews more trustworthy with our consumer-first AI” says Khalifah.

While shopping sites are also battling fake reviews, they simultaneously benefit from them because customers are more likely to purchase a product that has hundreds of positive reviews, even if the reviews are fake. As a third party, Fakespot doesn’t have any stake in the game, so they really must bring out the big guns to detect fraudulent product reviews and third-party sellers.

The machine learning and artificial intelligence algorithms used by Fakespot have been steadily improving since the launch of the service, and the user reviews showcased on Fakespot’s website suggest that the service is performing quite well, which is why we were so excited to put it to the test.

How Does Fakespot Work?

The quickest way to get started with Fakespot is to use the online analyzer. The online analyzer supports Amazon (in multiple languages), Walmart, Yelp, TripAdvisor, Steam, Sephora, and BestBuy. All you need to do to use it is to insert a product URL and click the Analyze button.

analyze button

Fakespot will then instantly display the product’s Review Grade, which is a rating based on the authenticity of existing reviews. The service will also highlight the most noteworthy reviews and provide an overview with useful information about the product listing.

product listing

As useful as the online analyzer can be, its functionality pales in comparison with Fakespot for Browsers, which is a web browser extension compatible with Firefox and all Chromium-based web browsers, like Google Chrome and the new Microsoft Edge.

fakespot chrome web store extension

In addition to what the online analyzer can do, Fakespot for Browsers can display real-time review grades, review ratings, alternative sellers, analysis history, and special Fakespot offers. The last feature mentioned may seem especially exciting, but it basically comes down to Fakespot displaying ads to related products — not much to be excited about.

Where Fakespot for Browsers really shines is convenience. By displaying Fakespot reviews analysis directly on the product page, as well as on the search results page, it makes it extremely easy to find products with reputable reviews and avoid the rest.

review analysis

The extra information provided by Fakespot for Browsers is integrated well, so it won’t degrade your online shopping experience in any way.

amazon listing review grade

We really like that the extension works even if you don’t log in. If you decide to create an account or log in with your Google account, you’ll gain the ability to track your product searches, receive trusted offers from Fakespot product partners, and get important product updates.

Last but not least, Fakespot also offers mobile apps for iOS and Android. The apps feature a special web browser that integrates the same review analysis capabilities provided by the Fakespot for Browsers extension, allowing you to browse the web just like you’re used to and see the familiar Fakespot grade when you land on a supported product page. Alternatively, you can share products via other shopping apps and browsers.

Is Fakespot Worth Using?

Our experience with Fakespot was positive, and the service seemed to perform everything it promised. That said, we don’t have the ability to verify if the assigned grades truly reflect the trustworthiness of published reviews.

Not too long ago, Amazon reviewed the accuracy of Fakespot and found that it rated products as untrustworthy about 80 percent of the time. Soon after, Amazon got Apple to remove Fakespot from the App Store.

“The app in question provides customers with misleading information about our sellers and their products, harms our sellers’ businesses, and creates potential security risks. We appreciate Apple’s review of this app against its App Store guidelines” said Amazon.

This wasn’t the first time a large corporation accused Fakespot of being inaccurate. In 2018, a TripAdvisor spokesman said, “The claims about fake reviews are based on entirely flawed techniques. Their methods are unreliable for one simple reason: they have no access to the technical data you would need to determine whether or not a review is fake”.

As such, we recommend you try Fakespot for yourself and use your best judgment to decide if the service is useful.

Conclusion

Fakespot is fighting the fake review epidemic using advanced artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms that are supposed to accurately tell fake reviews apart from legitimate ones. The service is easy to use thanks to the provided web browser extensions and mobile apps, but independently verifying its accuracy is difficult. But since it’s completely free, there’s nothing stopping you from giving it a test drive to see if it can save you from bad purchase decisions.

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