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Limited Content: Software download products & services, freeware & shareware
Limited Content: Software download products & services, freeware & shareware
Malgorzata Pietruszka avatar
Written by Malgorzata Pietruszka
Updated over a week ago

Software download products & services, freeware & shareware advertising - general rules

Advertisers, publishers, and partners must ensure a positive download experience for users. This includes, at a minimum: clearly identifying the software that is being installed and its source; explaining the effects on the user’s browser settings or operating system and its settings, etc.; and allowing easy uninstall and disablement. Use the policies on this page for help.

Specific rules apply to the following:

  • User choice and control - users must be provided with adequate choice and control before, during, and after installation:

    • Choice ensures that users are fully informed about how software may affect their experience on their devices and that none of the functions of a program or settings on the device are altered without the user’s clear and informed consent.

    • Control ensures that users are in full control of the overall experience on their device, including all software applications they download. Users must be in control at all times, including if and when they elect to revert back to previous settings or uninstall or disable any previously installed software.

  • Update functionality

    • Updates must not be triggered without user consent, with the exception of enterprise product background updates.

    • Update dialogs must clearly disclose what is being updated.

    • Software updates must not materially alter the original function of the software disclosed at install without the user's consent and control.

    • A software update must not alter third-party software without user consent.

  • Uninstall functionality - any software download must include an uninstall function in the Programs and Features or Add/Remove Programs control panel or the browsers or operating system’s default removal method:

    • The uninstall process must not be difficult, confusing, or made conditional to payments, subscriptions, other downloads, etc.

    • Upon uninstall, a program may only display one single confirmation prompt. The confirmation prompt cannot be misleading or otherwise attempting to persuade the user not to proceed with the uninstall.

    • During uninstall, software may not install, uninstall or reinstall other unrelated software on the device without user consent.

    • The uninstall process must be complete and permanent for each software download. No traces of the specific uninstalled software can remain on the user’s device.

  • Bundling functionality

    • All software that is included in the download bundle must be clearly disclosed to the user.

    • The software or bundles must not be altered from what was disclosed to the end-user or after review by Match2One (for example, by injecting code into the bundle).

    • End users must be allowed to easily decline each individual software within the bundle, either individually or through a “skip all.”

    • Installers and bundles must not crash or freeze programs or the device.

    • Chained bundlers (bundle within a bundle) are not allowed.

    • Legitimate software cannot be bundled with other software that is not allowed by this policy. For example, an otherwise “complaint” software cannot be bundled with spyware.

  • Additional requirements for advertisers - software should be available on the website as advertised in ad copy:

    • The software promoted in ad copy must be present on the landing page.

    • If the ad copy promotes the “latest version, free” of a download, users must be able to download the latest version of the software from the website at no cost, and without the need to download any additional software (either for payment or free).

    • It must be noted in ad copy if access to content or services requires a software download (e.g., toolbars).

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