Every now and then I’ll receive an angry email from someone lambasting me for installing my software on their machine, which always surprises me since you have to download TopStyle and FeedDemon and then manually install them – so it’s not like this is something I force people to do. I’ve talked with other shareware developers – none of whom do anything remotely spyware-like – who have run into the same problem, and we’re never sure how to respond.
It usually turns out that the person downloaded a trial version, installed it, then completely forgot about it. When they find it again, they assume that I somehow secretly installed it on their computer. Like I’m some sort of software gnome who visits people during the night, installing my products while they sleep.
This morning I received two such emails, which is especially strange since they’re usually so rare. The first was short and to the point:
“Stop installing software on my machine goddamnit!!”
The second threatened to contact the FBI:
“Hello, today I discoverd your crappy software on my machine. I just wanted you to know that you have a f—-d up piece of s–t for a product. I plan to forward your company information to the proper authorities since you think it is OK to install it on peoples machines without permission. I consider this kind of thing disgusting and will make sure you are not allowed to continue this practice. Promise.”
Usually I provide a canned reply letting them know that our software doesn’t install itself, etc. But since I received two complaints in the same day, I have to wonder if I’m missing something here. Perhaps there really are software gnomes running wild?