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|Shareware Sites March 7, 2004|
No nags on shareware registration and no PADs! (3/23/01)
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I'm a fan of the File Chicken. It has a pretty clean layout, uses the PAD format effectively by providing the size of the file, links to screenshots, home pages, pricing, and a rating system. Also provides a search engine, but the results aren't formatted the same and just shows a text description. One of the things to improve is to sort the shareware in each category otherwise it'll turn some people off. If they fix it, I'll easily give them three stars. (3/7/04)
The Download Store has a lot of links but short reviews and a pretty poor navigation system. Visting a category provided me with a short list with about fifty page numbers at the bottom. Without previous or next buttons, I quickly stopped looking around.
The descriptions are one or two sentences, when I click on a certain applications there was very little about the program, no screen shots, no search engine, and bad navigation forces me to put this at the bottom of the pile. (3/7/04)
The name pretty much gives it away. Everything free and they cover pretty much everything: fonts, screen savers, icons, graphics, email, and Internet services, and a lot of other stuff. What Iím going to focus on is their freeware and shareware section, which is listing of Freeware and Shareware sites. The reviews are a little short to save space. (2/11/01)
This site has shareware broken out by category in a tree like fashion which I like. Each title has some basic information about the product and links for download and to the developer's site. It doesn't have any alternate download links, ratings, screenshots, or user comments. It has basic search engine. (4/8/01)
If you've downloaded, you've more than likely followed a link to C|Net's Download.com. Download.com has different areas from Business to Education to Multimedia and Development Tools. Download.com doesn't have a lot of graphics, which makes it pretty fast, and I like their layout.
For all the downloads they have, they don't skimp on the reviews and provide some hi-lights about the product, but no ratings about its quality, no screen shots, and no links to the publisher's website. The first three I can do without, but no link to the company's site? Once I download a product, I like to visit them frequently for patches, support, or even thank them. I suppose they are worried about not getting ad $'s for clicks.
They do have publisher links in their "Best of the weekly wares" page. With their Power Downloader mascot, who has a bit of a surfer gut.
Download.com is a good site that provides various download sites for each download, a decent review about its features and system requirements, and a strong search engine, but if your looking for more in-depth reviews and support then stick to visiting this site for downloading. (10/12/98)
It's been a while since I reviewed a website, but after comparing Extreme Downloads it falls in line with some of the other sites I've reviewed. It's pad enabled so it brings a lot of standard developer provided information. Also provides the occasional screenshot, a basic search engine, and voting for each title. (9/1/03)
Normally I take a look at just what a site offers, but sometimes I go down the path of a diversion and I think it's cool. File Depot has a game of hangman about software titles. It's a nice touch and I guess something to do when waiting for a download. It's not Java based or anything and a bit slow, but still a game.
It has a pretty simple search engine, but has short shareware descriptions and then additional information. File Depot doesn't have screenshots or ratings and the shareware information is submitted by the authors. (7/4/02)
File Library has a very basic look with a download link a few lines about each product. There's no real reviews, but from what I saw host most of their downloads, so if you are getting tired of being sent to FilePlanet try here.
There is a nice search engine that lets you enter keywords and select a category, but not a lot in the review department. If you know what you are looking for File Library is a good place to start. (7/4/02)
Well not exactly a five star review but close. I couldn't resist sorry. 5 Star has a nice interface, but pretty short reviews. I like the voting rating buttons and some of the standard information included here: download size, platform, publisher's page, and alternate download sites.
5 Star's search engine returns a link to the shareware, along with it's rating, and date added, so when comparing a great deal of shareware, you can start with the best of the list. They also have a shareware newsletter, which is a nice touch. (5/1/99)
The Freeware Guide is a comprehensive list of freeware and shareware sites each with a short blurb and link to the site, but each listing is loaded with small animated and non-animated graphics that can tie up machines with slow connections. A pretty good site if youíre looking for new freeware and shareware sites. (2/19/00)
Not totally shareware, but offers some free downloads with modest reviews and screen shots. They do have other sections that offer some info on Windows 98 power tools, Windows 98 and Internet Explorer 5 Companions, plus other sections on Forums, Hardware, Software, and daily News. They have a sample of their magazine under newsletters. (7/4/99)
It's a big site, but not very friendly to use. I found most of the reviews very light. They have a top downloads section, but they provide the basics. For example, for the publisher's home page they have "Home Page click here." It doesn't take a lot of effort to include the company's name in the link. It's a lot of small things that drop this site's score.
They also want to push their CD-ROM of shareware for $15, basically five hundred programs on a CD, what concerns me is, I don't want a bunch of programs burned onto a CD without the reviews. They mention using your web browser to access files off the CD. So it might be worth it, but if the reviews are the same as on their site, it may not be.
Galt's search engine is pretty basic and doesn't let you search by category. The site doesn't use a lot of graphics that may improve their interface, basically poor reviews, one page asks you to download from other review sites (Happy Puppy and Games Domain.) I find that kind of low, to publish a review, and then ask the user to download the product from a competitor instead of a publisher or shareware repository. (5/1/99)
A pretty new site, some of the categories were empty at the time of this review, but it has a lot of potential. Reviews are limited to a short paragraph, but give enough download and registration information to fill it out. Also with links to the developerís home page, user comments and votes, and an occasional screenshot it ranks pretty high on my list.
You can also sort the file list by name, recently added, date released, author, and price; a nice touch for when this site fills out. (2/27/00)
Grassheap has it's shareware categorized and offers a short PAD description of the software. When you click on more details it shows you the standard file size, author, author URL, trial peroid, and other standard attributes. It doesn't offer any ratings and has whatever screenshots the shareware author has provided.
They have a standard search engine and a few Top download and provide incentives for websites to link to them by software id. So you can rank in the most popular lists. (1/19/03)
I'm very impressed with IT Pro Downloads ease of use, information, and reviews. One of the coolest things this site offers is the "Personal Download List". Basically you can mark any programs you want to download and then view the entire list later. It's a great feature more sites should implement.
They have a list of shareware with short blurbs to get you started, followed up by a screen shot, a long review, user ratings, information on: file size, download time, number of downloads, licensing fees, related files, platform and system requirements, and links to the publisher's web page. When it's time to download, they often provide more than one download site.
IT Pro Downloads search engine does a pretty good job of returning results, but some of my shareware searches didn't turn up anything. That's ok, no site can possibly have everything, if they did then my site would be pretty dull.
A very clean, efficient site, that makes good use of graphics and fonts. I really like the download bookmarks feature that's a nice touch. IT Pro Downloads was once called CMP File Mine. (5/1/99)
Sometimes a site's review needs to be changed and in this case it is for the better. I was looking for dead links and came across Jumbo again. All I can say is that the site has improved a lot since 1998 and doesn't deserve the two star rating anymore.
Instead of having everything under the sun, they have focused mostly on shareware and established links to other sites for other things. Their shareware reviews are still a little short and screen shots are still hard to find, but it is easier to navigate and they have a basic search engine to help you get around. (7/11/02)
A pretty clean looking interface with all shareware categories on the main page and the minor categories under them. For example, under Games and the arcade classics category MyComputer.com shows a list of games with a home page, download, and register icons. The reviews have the standard: file size, expiration, OS, license details. The reviews are a little short with no ratings or screen shots.
The search engineÖwell is good at finding keywords. I did a search on Winzip and it found a Sailor Moon pictures zip file. It did find some other competing products, but without ratings and longer reviews how do people choose one from ten or twenty? (4/29/00)
NetShareware.com has short paragraph reviews with options for screen shots, comments, home page, alternate download locations, and even the developerís address. One of the important things it lacks is system requirements for downloads.
Also it also has rankings are assigned per user and can go up to ten stars, which is hard to read and may not give you the best representation of the productís quality. A good site, but needs stronger navigation between reviews and pages. (2/27/00)
Personally I feel this type of website has seen its day a long time ago. Newest Shareware.com is an archive of email newsletters reviewing shareware. So you'll have to copy and paste a URL to go to a site. Also without a search engine, category list, or what's new section you're forced to read or find through the plain text versions of these reviews until you find what you're looking for. The reviews are kind of short and the lack of links makes it very difficult to find anything other than what's posted. (7/25/99)
Nonags sports a bunch of icons, cursors, wallpaper, and shareware that doesn't bother you every time you open it to register. They also have a good listing of Internet clients, web tools, and other programs with an excellent navigation form on their main page. They update the site daily with five or more products. Nonags also has a members' area for $12.00 per year and a CD-ROM with all the shareware on the site for $24.00 with a discount if you're a member.
The search engine did not do much for me, I would have liked to search by category, company, and some other information. Plain text search engines just don't work anymore, but the software map and form navigation help offset this greatly.
Shareware reviews were also too brief for me to get a picture of the product's features, since it was organized by product category finding the best one based solely on the review was difficult. (8/9/98)
Basically software for schools and non-profits, I know this doesnít appeal to most of you. The shareware reviews have the basic PAD stats: name, version, developer info, price, keywords, description, download sites, and system requirements. There are no screen shots and the site has a basic search engine. The developer section has a wealth of links. (4/8/01)
NPWare.org offers free or discounted software for non-profit institutions. They use PAD and have the standard features of the format: Software Name, description, company, web page, download, file size, OS, price, etc.
They donít have a lot of graphics and flash, but offer a search engine, non-profit links, and news section. (7/16/01)
It's been hard to come across a non-commercial massive web site nowadays. Pass the Shareware reminds me of the old days. It's not a bad site if you're looking for shareware. This site may have started not too long ago, so their graphics and HTML is pretty basic. Still they provide paragraph reviews of shareware and links to publisher pages.
There's no search engine, rankings, system requirements, but they provide a good breakdown by category. I'll be keeping an eye on this one. (5/1/99)
Everything is broken up by category with a list of shareware and a short blurb. Following the link brings up a longer review with file size, developer links, when it was uploaded, and how many downloads to date. It also features SmartDownload which lets you auto install, resume, and recover downloads.
Also has a basic search engine, but no ratings, comparison, or screen shots. If youíre looking for shareware and want to read a few computer articles while youíre downloading then this is a good site. (2/19/00)
ShareQ has great looking site design and a good keyword search engine, but they from what I inspected they don't have a repository and just link to the downloads they have. The format of their PAD entries are pretty generic. There's user votes, but doesn't appear to have multiple download locations.
Has a forum section with multiple boards about different operating systems and shareware. A nice site, but might be a little difficult to find what you want. (11/15/03)
This site has a lot of links and an utterly irritating three or more banner ads on the top of every main page. Review pages have a stream of mini-banners; few screen shots, some standard HTML and review text that bleeds into the sidebar.
Reviews seem to be posted from several different reviewers, so there's a lack of consistency from review to review. Some are long and informative others are short. A few have pictures, most don't. The only thing that's consistent is the rating system at the bottom, but there's little or no software with an overall category below four of five.
An ok site that uses old style indexes, "ABCDEFG..." for locating software instead of categories. Without a search engine and solid graphics, it lacks some of the things that might keep you coming back. (7/4/99)
One of the better uses of the PAD format I've seen. It takes up a lot of room on the page, but at least every entry has a small screenshot, which for games can give you a sense of the graphics. For business apps, at least you get a look at the application.
The search engine really shines when you enter keywords. Instead of some old fashioned shareware sites which just shows static pages. The search output from Sharewared.com is in the same format as the categories, so you can compare several products on one page. Downloads direct from third party with no alternate links, but otherwise pretty good.
Also has third-party hosted forums with various areas. (11/15/03)
An FTP archive by Walnut Creek CD-Rom for shareware and other programs for the Dos, Windows 3.1, and Windows 95/98. Has one line descriptions for each of the titles along with the file size and date added to the archive. Let's you sort by filename or date added to the archive.
Has a search engine to help you find a program by either filename or description. (7/25/99)
The Software Vault offers a keyword search engine that uses the review information from publishers and not keywords in the body text. Navigation is a sidebar listing all software categories. Once inside a category, you get a list of titles, companies, and a short product description. Unfortunately, when you click on one of the products you get a description written by the author.
Each entry has a lot of contact information provided by the author. So each product can have multiple download sites, version information, sales and other contact information, pricing, platforms, and even links to screen shots, everything except an unbiased opinion of the shareware. (12/3/00)
I like the layout of Top Shareware and the graphics used have a very clean look to them with downloads broken out by category. The site features a basic search engine, ratings, screenshots, download information, and pad enabled reviews.
Unlike some other sites you can purchase shareware directly from the site. Normally we have to go to the shareware author's site or some other distributor. So that boosted Top Shareware's rating considerably. (1/19/03)
A pretty good site, not a lot of graphics, but a comprehensive list of shareware by category, by date added to the site, and a decent search engine. Some of the reviews are kind of short, but include price, author and home page, two alternate download sites, screen shots, registration, and size. I was expecting longer reviews for their featured shareware.
Lastly they have a email newsletter and a few links to thrown together in a online shopping mall directory. (7/25/99)
Another site that was around back in the old days of Intervue Digest, the format hasn't changed much and that's a good thing. I like how they break everything by weeks, so if you're a new visitor you can go back and see what was released.
They have long, in-depth reviews about that week's pick of the week. They also offer a link to the vendor's home page, the file size for download, the cost of the shareware, and some screen shots.
WUGNET gets a little weak in the search area; they offer an index of all the shareware titles, but no search engine. Even an index by product category would help.
They also have an online store, but the review quality drops considerably and they lose a lot of formatting that makes their site appealing. They offer secure transactions via (https://www.digitalriver.com/) Digital River. At least, they have a pretty good search engine for the titles they have in stock. I still prefer ordering directly from the author's web page to ensure I'm getting the latest version and reading up on any additional information they may have.
All the Shareware Picks they review are first rate, so if you're looking for a particular type of product, you may wish to stop here first. A great site, but maybe they are trying to do too much without establishing a consistent look. (8/30/98)
Copyright 1996-2004 by Joseph Delgado. Enchanted Quill Press, All rights reserved.