My initial plan was to review the personal -- that is free -- version of SecPod Saner here today. Everything looked promising at first. I was able to download the software to my system, the scan on Virustotal told me the application was clean, and the installation worked just fine and without any issues or third-party surprises.
When I started the program however I was greeted by a screen that told me that I had to activate the software before I could use it.
I could either import a license if I already had one, or request an activation key on the SecPod website.
A click on the link took me there, and all looked well at first. I was asked to enter an email address and fill out a captcha to complete the registration.
The issue that I ran into was that the registration did not work. It displayed the loading page status message after I typed the email address and captcha and did not change screen at all for the next couple of minutes.
I tried different browsers but that did not work as well.
The result? I was not able to get the activation key. Without the key, I was not able to test the software, and that is the reason why you are reading this now instead of a review of the program.
I can understand that companies want information about their customers, no matter if they are not paying for the software or if they are.
The problem here is that this should never get into the way of availability in my opinion. If the registration process prevents that potential customers can test the software properly, then it should be changed to mandatory instead in my opinion.
The software itself looked promising and if it is good, it would have certainly got a nice boost from a positive review here on my site. But since that is not possible, I have made the decision not to test it at all.
I do not want to get back to the registration form later today to find out if it is working now, or if I wasted more precious time by trying to get this damn thing to work.
Now, what I would suggest instead is the following. New users should be able to run the software without activation, at least for a trial period. This ensures that potential registration issues are not blocking the user -- or in my case the reviewer -- from running the software at all.
This would be the customer friendly thing to do, and since it is likely that I'm not the only user who ran into registration problems on the site, it would not have such a negative impact on potential customers and users.
What's your take on forced registrations?
Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.