The Free Software Dilemma: Why Free Software Isn’t Always Free


To free project management softwaremarketing automation tools, email marketing apps, free antivirus software, open source apps – the list goes on. But do you really get what you pay for with free software??

Lack of consumer interest is a proven way to kill a business. This explains why the majority of software vendors offer their products for free, if only to entice users to try them – a burden that weighs on most new entrants, especially given the sheer number of competitors in an industry already densely populated. Although the use of free products or services should not be viewed as purely negative, keep in mind that free is not always fashionable.

With that out of the way, here five reasons why free software might not be the best solution for your software needs:

1. It’s a ploy

When it comes to strategizing their software marketing, free trials, even a basic free app with limited functionality, are commonplace among software companies. This, of course, is a legitimate way to familiarize users with new software. But remember that to take advantage of the free trials, email addresses are normally guaranteed, and once you provide yours you are automatically added to their Tracks listing, which then gives them the right to spam you for life – until you permanently unsubscribe.

Kidding aside, from a marketing point of view, free software and free trials are a great way for potential customers to download and use an app, with the intention of eventually turning them into paying customers by upgrading them to premium versions with more features, more data storage capacity, dedicated customer support, etc.

2. No updates or technical support

If you choose to download and use a free app or program, expect to run into a problem or two along the way. Unless you’re dealing with a software vendor whose motivation for offering a free app is a “ploy”, where it’s entirely possible to turn free users into paying customers, free apps may not have updates or knowledgeable technical support to answer your queries.

This is probably because keeping free users does not financially benefit the creator of the software. Therefore, if you’re having technical problems, chances are you’ll end up looking for the solutions yourselfsuch as going to forums and browsing the internet for reviews or articles written by people with similar experiences.

3. Lack of security and privacy

Caution is advised when downloading free programs, because free software can end up costing you. Some free apps contain spyware, viruses and other malicious codewhich can destroy your important files, or worse, your entire computer.

If your device is unfortunately not equipped with a security software or firewall, you may fall victim to the manipulation of a botnet controller that can use your computer, as well as other infected computers, to send spam and viruses to other computers and/or perform a DDoS (distributed denial of service) attack on a website.

Then, there are malicious programs taking over your computer so thieves can steal your identity and potentially wipe out all the money you have in your bank accounts.

4. Lack of reliability and functionality

Although this article mainly discusses the disadvantages of using free software, that does not mean that we are entirely against it. In fact, we’ll be the first to admit that if you’re perfectly content with an app that lacks miscellaneous functions or features, like in the case of a human resources software without any payroll or recruiting modules, as long as it comes from a reputable software vendor, good for you.

Meanwhile, in another corner of the HR universe, many growing companies find the big question isn’t how much the software costs, but rather what it does. If a free service is available, what are the missing attributes that could potentially cost the business more? Ultimately, you want a program that automates your HR processes in a way that maximizes your most important asset: your employees. And that means being equipped with comprehensive software that includes recruiting and 360-degree feedback, among other things.

Using free HR software to cut costs isn’t necessarily always an option, as a limited feature set can end up causing delays and lost productivity, which in the long run can be more expensive.

5. Poor software quality

Unless you’re a brave, adventurous, risk-taking early adopter who enjoys being an enterprising developer’s guinea pig, free software, especially in the early stages of development, is probably not for you. you. Besides the expected error-prone nature of the application, there is a huge risk that the software will not gain popularity, and an overreliance on it can cause you more headaches than you are prepared to bear.

Last word

There is no free lunch, goes an old saying. And while the free software market is constantly advancing to refute this age-old wisdom, If you’re a business owner, before getting into a potentially bumpy relationship with freeware, make sure you’ve tested it against the following aspects: technical support, reliability, user-friendliness, security and durability. After all, when it comes to entrusting your business processes to software solutions, it is definitely better than sorry.


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