Beware Of User Reviews On Software Sites

Martin Brinkmann
Jul 16, 2010
Updated • Mar 19, 2012
Software, Windows

User reviews can be a fine thing, they add value to program descriptions and new perspectives to reviews. Many software sites use them, Betanews, Softpedia or Giveaway of the Day give their users options to vote and comment on software reviewed or hosted on their sites.

There is nothing wrong with user comments and ratings as long as they do not influence a software's visibility on a website.

Softpedia for instance allows users to vote for software, but does not use the overall rating to determine where and how a software is presented on their site, as this is solely determined by the number of downloads.

That's not so with Betanews. If you take a look at the software listing you notice that ratings play an important role on the site. They are displayed prominently and trigger the popularity listing as well.


That alone would not be a problem, but the system could be used by individuals or companies to increase the ratings and reviews of their products, with the purpose to gain visibility on the site.

Remove It Pro SE for instance currently has a rating of 4.2 (of 5) with 213 votes. That's a lot of votes for a program that is not well known. It has for instance roughly the same amount of votes as PC Wizard, PHPmyAdmin or Audacity and at least twice as many as MemTest 86+, Gspot or HashTab.

remote it pro review
remote it pro review

The amount of ratings is an indicator, but not proof that something is wrong with the program's listing. If you take a closer look at the reviews you notice huge differences. Some users have rated it with 1 or 2 stars, with the following comments:

Took Removeit for at test run, found 16 files and tagged them as dangerous, only problem, every single file are good file, and if I'd had quarantine the files I would have crippled my system.


This is Crapware, almost bordering on Rogue (IMHO)
Got a handful of false positives from this one.
Best was when it detected my PPPoE protocol driver (RasPPPoE) as a Trojan.
I know people say prevention is the best protection, but not letting me on the internet (had I deleted PPPoE) is just too much for me.
Too bad the lowest rating is 1. I would rate it 0 if I could.

I find it suspicious how it ALWAYS finds something on your system the first run, probably a false positive too. Seems mainly designed to scare people into getting their 'paid' support product.

I gave it a 2 for effort....but still too many false positives.
On my system were three (supposedly dangerous) files identified (2 were part of Tune Up Utilities 2007 and one belongs to BoClean 4.25/Comodo Firewall)
After uploading these files to Virus Total where they were scanned with 31 AV engines everything came back clean. So I recommend you get a second opinion before becoming all panicky and trust the findings of this scanner too much.

The majority of voters on the other hand rated the program with five stars, the maximum available. Let's see what they have to say:

I have tried just about every Antivirus Antimalware program on the market. But RemoveIT Pro has always proven to be more efficient in removal of Virus attacks....Fantastic Program

After using adaware, malwarebytes and avg, only RemoveIT Pro fixed malware problem. Great tool! :-)

It is the best malware removal tool ever, works well and fast!

Light, user friendly and very effective in removing malware.

The trend is obvious. The low rating commenters mentioned false positives, the high rating commenters how fast, efficient and great the tool is.

Let's give the program a test ride, shall we? First problem, the program only starts if it is executed with administrative rights.

Scanning of the system started and it quickly found the first trojans and malware on it. First up was googleupdate.exe, identified as Win32.Unknown.Random.X, then several system32 folder files, heck, even the Windows Screensaver that ships with the operating system was detected as a virus.

RemoveIT Pro SE detected 27 threats on the computer system, that Kaspersky missed, apparently.

remote it pro
remote it pro

Next step was the verification of the findings. Opened and submitted every single file for inspection. All 27 files were clean, according to Virustotal and the 41 different malware scanning engines it uses.

false positives
false positives

The confirmation that RemoveIT Pro detected false positives added weight to the user comments who stated that, and all who did rated the program with 1 or 2 stars.

The positive ratings, especially those stating that the program removed malware that no other program was able to find could be attributed to those false positives in some cases. RemoteIT Pro does actually detect malware that no other program detects, problem is, they are all false positives.

The amount of five star ratings on the other hand could also indicate a campaign to artificially increase the program's rating on the site, and likely on other software sites as well.

How do you handle user ratings on software download sites? Let us know in the comments.


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  1. Anonymous said on March 9, 2023 at 1:52 pm

    Does it come back after every “moment” update?

  2. Baloney said on March 9, 2023 at 2:23 pm

    Yeah right.. Like this is going to stop defender from running =) This is comedy gold right here.

  3. Anonymous said on March 9, 2023 at 3:25 pm

    no ‘about the author’ paragraph?

  4. Gregory said on March 9, 2023 at 4:19 pm

    For permanent disable defender is if removed complete from system no just change permission folder.

    Just this is joke.

  5. moi said on March 9, 2023 at 5:57 pm

    simpler, load Autoruns (SysInternals)
    – filter “Defender”
    – untag all entries
    – reboot
    nothing has changed since my 1st modification years ago

  6. John G. said on March 9, 2023 at 6:32 pm

    I wouldn’t disable Defender imho, it has too many hidden roots inside Windows itself. One time I tried to uninstall it using brute force scripts and then the Onedrive feature stopped working definitely. A reinstallation was needed and since those times I prefer to maintain Defender untouched. It’s a better method to install another antivirus and it will disable Defender in a safer and easier mode (e.g., Avast is the best in this way, and also Panda Cloud Free is good too).

  7. boris said on March 10, 2023 at 12:19 am

    You can not stop defender from running in background or remove it without some penalty. All you can do is to limit telemetry.

    1. TelV said on March 10, 2023 at 4:52 pm


      It’s probably Smartscreen which is preventing WD from being disabled. Get rid of that and the problem should be solved:

  8. hoho said on March 10, 2023 at 1:47 pm

    Remove Windows and go for Linux.

    1. basingstoke said on March 10, 2023 at 2:51 pm

      Linux sucks dude. Besides it’s not comparable to Windows, these OSes are in different classes entirely.

      1. Derp said on March 10, 2023 at 4:36 pm

        I use Linux as my daily driver. It’s far more stable than Windows. When’s the last time you used Linux, 2010?

      2. Bromosexual said on March 11, 2023 at 2:04 am


        You’re right, dude. Bro, linux is just a bunch of code that starts before the OS, dude. Brobrodude, that shit ain’t even got emojis, dudebrodudeman! Dudebro, it’s no way near as cool as Windows with its hardcoded abilities to make money off the user, bro. Yo brodude man, you’re the coolest dude ever man, bro. Dude.

      3. basingstoke said on August 16, 2023 at 7:20 pm

        Lol what? Windows 7 doesn’t come with any Emojis

  9. TelV said on March 10, 2023 at 4:46 pm

    Download Autoruns and remove the checkmark from Windows Defender. It doesn’t remove it, but it will never run.

  10. Simon said on March 10, 2023 at 8:37 pm

    Just use “Defender Control”:

    Per this video,
    it also works on Windows 11 too…

  11. Someone said on March 10, 2023 at 9:26 pm

    Win Defender, is completly the most succesful free-built in antivirus of Microsoft. Really nice product. Saved my ass a lot of times. Has updated malware database, completly strong defence
    from whatever smart screen disables. Or if you want better and more upgrated (paid) program,
    you can go further. But defender is always on your side.

  12. CalixtoWVR1 said on March 10, 2023 at 10:03 pm

    Why would one disable Windows (or Microsoft) Defender in the first place?. I consider this to be playing with fire big time. Everybody knows that if one is using another A-V, Defender will be disabled on its own and won’t be in one’s way.

  13. Ed D said on March 10, 2023 at 11:09 pm

    Why would I want to disable Windows Defender in the first place? It’s a great anti virus in my opinion. Been using it since Windows 8 and and never had a problem or a virus. Why mess with a good thing, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.

  14. owl said on August 17, 2023 at 1:57 am

    How a ridiculous article!
    I am thoroughly stunned.

    Why Should You Disable First-Party Windows Defender?
    I can only think that it is “malice or perversely intention (want you to buy a third-party AV where you can expect a back margin)” to guide invalidation without showing the premise.
    No sane company will use third-party closed source programs (such as AV).

    As I thought, “Ghacks Technology News” seems to be coming to downfall.

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