Goodbye, Tucows downloads: the software download site is finally retiring

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(Credit: Tucows.com/Internet Archive)

Remember the downloads from Tucows? The freeware and shareware download site is finally retiring.

“Tucows Downloads has had an incredible run,” wrote CEO Elliot Noss in a blog post. “We thank the thousands of software developers who have used Tucows Downloads to bring their software to millions of people, driving billions of downloads over 25 years.

The service dates back to 1993, when the Internet was still in its infancy. Back then, downloading apps from the web was still new and Tucows became a prime destination for free and trial versions of software.

The Tucows site in 1996 (Credit: Internet Archive)

In a way, Tucows Downloads was one of the first app stores. You can search thousands of Windows, Mac, and Linux programs, read reviews rating the software, and find recommendations. However, the whole landscape of app downloads has changed with the advent of the Apple App Store and Google’s dominance of internet search, which can take you directly to a software developer‘s website.

Since then, Tucows’ business model has changed, making the company more of an Internet infrastructure provider. It is now the second largest domain registrar in the world behind GoDaddy, according to Noss. “The point is, we stay busy,” he says.

The Tucows download site has remained online for sentimental and historical purposes. “We have already talked about the closure of the site. More seriously in 2016, when instead, we decided to stop publishing advertising, keeping the site as a public service, ”he says.

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So why close it now? In 2021, it is too heavy a burden to follow. “Tucows Downloads is old,” says Noss. “Old sites are a maintenance challenge and therefore a risk. Maintaining the Tucows downloads site keeps people away from the work that drives our businesses forward. “

Despite the shutdown, the Tucows download site will continue to live on thanks to the Internet Archive, which has recorded copies of the site’s web pages dating back to 1996.

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