Licensing models - Ad-supported

Ad-supported software

Ad-supported software is generally defined as software that is free to use but includes third-party components or services not necessarily related to the program's functionality but intended to somehow generate income for the developer, as compensation for providing the software free of charge.

Most ad-supported software products notify the user about these components during the installation process and offer the option of skipping their installation. There are cases, however, when these components are not optional (enforced) or hidden completely. The standard Softpedia policy is to avoid adding such software to the listing at all or to remove already existing such programs.

A software product is considered to be ad-supported if it falls into at least one of the following categories:

(1) Displays ad banners or other types of advertising material during its runtime
(2) Offers to change the homepage for web browsers installed in the system
(3) Offers to change the default search engine for web browsers installed in the system
(4) Offers to download or install software or components (such as browser toolbars) that the program does not require to fully function
(5) Offers to create desktop or start menu shortcuts for items unrelated to the program's functionality
(6) At program startup/shutdown, opens web pages featuring advertising or similar income generating content

Ad-supported programs are clearly marked by Softpedia with the "License: Ad-supported" label. Additional information is often provided about the program's behavior or the included components. Furthermore, ad-supported products do not qualify for the Softpedia "100% Free" or "100% Clean" awards. They are, however, safe to install since the included third-party components are not malicious or dangerous.