Friday, April 1, 2011

Pirated software web sites

I have notice that more than a dozens so-called freeware web sites now provide pirated version of VisuMap software. All those sites seem to be originated from a single source, as they are all organized in a similar way and all pirated the version 3.2.854 of VisuMap. I have spent 2 or 3 hours to investigate those sites, the followings are what I have found:

  • These sites have done a pretty good SEO (search engine optimization) job, they pretty much over flooded search results when I searched for "VisuMap download" on Google. Google is clearly loosing the battle against those mis-information.

  • Most of these sites are not really free. They usually re-direct users through a chain of redirections with dubious ads (they hold the user with popups for popups, you need to shutdown the browser to get away from them), then at the end they usually require users to sign up for paid service for "fast" download.

  • All product information about VisuMap on those sites are copy and pasted from VisuMap's web site. Some sites used translation engine to translate English to other languages with horrible results.

  • All information about downloading sites, speed, etc. on those site are faked and likely automatically generated to fool users and search engines.

  • I have tested the pirated software on an isolated machine. I scanned the software with anti-virus software, no virus or spyware has been detected.

  • The pirated software seemed to run smoothly on the test machine, although it felt a little sluggish. Since it has no proper license, it won't be able to get online update from VisuMap's web site.

  • The pirated software has an obsoleted version, so that it won't be able to use some new plugin extensions for VisuMap.

With so many limitations and apparent dubious practice, I don't think those pirate sites will have serious impact on the legitimated software vendors. But, they clearly post a challenge for Internet searching engines.

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