Sunday, February 10, 2008

BW wtf?

My iPhone just started showing me advertisements. I just have to say: It is really friggen pathetic.

I fully understand the need to support yourself as a software developer (I do it), but come on, this is over the top! If you are willing to invest so much time and money into developing such a cool piece of software as, then you should be smart enough to figure out how to get paid to do so. I know it costs money for hosting and you need donations, but it should not be at the expense of your users ability to use the application. Screwing up the user interface of your application and forcing users into having to view an ad on each and every single package in is just plain absurd.

Boycott those two sites. Don't give them a single cent.

Update: I have my own advertising free feed to replace Ste's feed with.


VenomousSVT said...

I couldnt agree more with you on this. I stopped installing apps at first thinging something had happened to my and I may brick my phone. Then I realized the SPAM was intentional! I would be willing to pay a few $$ anually to have unlimited access. it would be better for me than having to look at the BS ads.

Ian said...

Hello from Freeit4Less.

First off, take a look at

We're not the ones cluttering up the descriptions of packages with the whole sponsor deal. Nullriver (the makers of is being slow to actually add a little "Sponsor" item on the app info page so that credit for bandwidth goes to where credit is due without effing up the whole Installer experience. I hate it just as much as you guys do. I use Installer on my iPhone!

About this little Sponsor info blip on the actual package descriptoon, you can look at the post on the blog of the guy who runs the packaging repository in question, and it seems people like the idea of the Sponsor lie item in the system. If you guys disagree you're in the minority.

Last, a bit about why the sponsor stuff took place in the first place:

1. The repository is VERY popular Over 300 GB of data transferred per day. If you're thinking any shared hosting plan is enough for this, or even a "dedicated server" from 1&1 or something, you're wrong. Dreamhost was kicking this guy off because he was negatively impacting other customers' website performance with his repo.
2. We, then Polar Bear Farm, then offered to spend $500-$700 per month each to give the repository a dedicated, high-bandwidth server so the iPhone apps would actually be downloadable rather than failing due to hosting provider constraints.
3. The repository is now up and running and downloads are quite fast. We'd like a little compensation, as would Polar Bear Farm, for dumping hundreds of bucks per month onto the server, and we're fine with as unobtrustive a piece of text as possible in the Installer app itself. Please note that we're both legit companies and we aren't trying to change Installer so that it shows a popup every time somebody installs an app, saying "bandwidth by whoever".

Two more things. One is quick: we hate ads as much as you do, but we're a business that needs customers. Rather than dumping money on AdWords, we have decided to help out the iPhone community and just want a little recognition in return.

Second, heard of Tucows? FileForum? I may be wrong, but there's no premium no-ads membership available for any of them, and you get some ads on them. Want to boycott all applicationd wonload services? I thought not.

One more thing: if everyone boycotts Freeit4less and Polar Bear Farm, there'll be no money left for us to keep Ste Packaging's servers (both of them) running. Which means he has to lok for other sponsors who will likely ask for the same thing in compensation, and in the mean time you won't be able to download any sweet apps like Labyrinth, openSSH, ApolloIM...the list goes on...

So please take a look at the blog post link I posted at the beginning of this comment. Read my comment. Then if you have anything to say my e-mail is

Hioe this cleared things up or both of you guys...

Jon Scott Stevens said...

Hi Ian,

Thanks for your response. It sounds like you have a lot of technical issues to overcome. However, I'm going to stand strong with my opinion that the way that you have added advertisements is atrocious, unnecessary and detrimental to your business.

Yes, it costs money to serve content. I work for a porn company and am well aware of the costs as we serve about 2mbit/sec of video and images 24/7. I am not disagreeing with the need to somehow find a way to pay for those bandwidth costs. It is not cheap.

Once again, the problem I have is with the WAY that your company has gone about displaying ads. Simply put, it is wrong. First off, there was no good notification that it was going to happen. I updated my sources as requested and suddenly all this crap appeared at the front of the descriptions. What the hell does BW stand for anyway? Second, by putting ads in the descriptions, you have severely hampered the functionality of the application. I now have to look at each individual application to figure out what it does. The description field is now worthless.

The discussion in the url that you sent me is a much more valid way to handle things. Putting another field in is the right way to go. Thus, you should take the ads out right now and wait until the people do it the right way. Until then, I will tell people to continue to boycott your companies and look for other sponsorship that does not hamper in order to distribute the content.

Ian said...

First off, I wasn't the one who did the whole descriptions deal. That was Ste. That's the best he\we can do right now as far as unobtrusive advertising goes.

Second, you wouldn't have gotten notification in any other way of the ads; if they weren't there the repository would be down.

Third, we're the ones supporting the post at the blog...if we had it our way that's how the ads would be in the first place. Not this mess; we're on the same side here.

Problem is, if we took off ads like this (both us and Polar Bear Fram, that is) then Nullriver would have no incentive to fix the problem, we couldn't keep supporting the servers, the servers would go down, repository. Hate to sound pessimistic but that's the way it'd happen. Trust me, I hate the ads just as much as you do in their current form...I use Installer too.

But at least now there are two servers which combined are constantly pumping at about 31.5 Mbit/s, for a combined transfer per day of roughly 340 GB/day, where before there wasn't anything. We're looking forward to Installer being modified for unobtrustive sponsorship, too...until then, don't ask peoply to boycott either of our companies. If you don't want annoying description-clogging ads, here are the solutions:

1. Focus your ire upon Nullriver. If people keep complaining to the right people (them) they'll fix the problem and everything will be great.

2. Combined, we and PBF spend $40 per day on bandwidth for the repo (by the way, BW = bandwidth). If someone wanted to pa for the servers for a few days, we could probably suspend ads for that same amount of time, though you probably wouldn't want to do this for long...

Any more comments I'll be notified via e-maila bout. Feel free to continue this discussion.

Jon Scott Stevens said...

I'm sorry, but as far as I'm concerned, NullRiver hasn't done anything wrong and blaming your woes on them seems a bit unreasonable as well. They didn't ad the advertisements, you did. If you can't afford the $40/day ($15k/year) to support the serving of the content, then maybe your company shouldn't be serving it. Find another sponsor or turn it off entirely. Honestly, I'd rather not have the content than see obtrusive ads on my phone for some company I have never heard of and certainly have no intention of supporting. NullRiver's incentive is clear: without someone serving up the repositories, nobody is going to use their Try turning off the servers and see what happens.

Honestly, I actually thought my phone was hacked or screwed up before I started doing searches and found links saying what the ads were about. That is why I created this posting in the first place. I just think that it isn't right for your company to do what it has done. If you want ads, find a more creative way to do it than what you have done.

Ian said...

In the interest of the other few hundred thousand Ste Packaging users out there, we are not shutting down the servers. If you would like to, create your own XML repository file based on Ste's without your ads. If you would rather not have the service thanhave it with advertising, the recourse is simple: delete Ste Packgaing from your repositories section of

Also, as far as advertising goes, the point is to increase brand recognition and get a product out there, last time I checked. Just because you see an ad on TV doesn't mean you'll never buy from that company...right? If not, then fine with me. This is really a moot point because your website gets far fewer hits than any other website on this little issue.

Oh, and I'm sure the other iPhone users would be THRILLED if the repository vanished by following your instructions. Or am I making something up?

Jon Scott Stevens said...

Ian, if my website gets far fewer hits than any other website on this little issue, then why are you posting replies with an upset and unfriendly tone?

Fact of the matter is that if you do a search for bw:, my blog posting is the first that comes up in google. I've received several emails from other people who are just as pissed off as I am by your actions so I know I'm not the only one out there.

The analogy of ads on my tv vs. ads on my iphone makes absolutely no sense. There is no comparison on so many levels. In addition, most of the ads on TV are for companies that actually perform a valid service. I think that it is pretty lame for freeit4less to take advantage of Apple and sell a hacked iPhone when it is fairly easy to do it yourself. That isn't a business model. Besides, if you can't do it yourself by following the directions available, you probably shouldn't be doing it. PBF is somewhat more useful as they are developing some cool apps, but do they need special advertising as well? I don't think so.

I'm also fine with removing Ste's repository. Based on your seriously bad attitude and inflamatory remarks, I would suggest that everyone do that and wait for a repo without ads.

Jon Scott Stevens said...

It took me about 5 minutes to create a new project on Google Code, copy the official Ste xml file, remove the stupid ads and put it up for download. I just tested it on my phone and it works great. If you want to remove the Ste source and use mine, go ahead. The url is:

I'll update it every few days. Maybe I will even generate an automated update system. Enjoy.

Ian said...

Thanks for deleting the comment I posted on your newer post :/

If you want to take a look at the stats yourself for the servers, check out the Ste blog again. Looks like BW usage is now at a 52 Mbit/s average with about 70 Mbit/s being pulled right now. A typical web hosting provider would have abandoned such a site long ago. In terms of throughput, we will chew up today enogh data that, even on 1&1's highest-tier plan, we'd be over our allotment in maybe nine days. We're talking about the #1 web host's highest tier hosting package, including dedicated servers. Between the two servers, 2.25 GB of memory (or close to that) is in use, constantly. 250 simultaneous connections, on average, between the servers too.

In short, the hosting we and PBF are giving is vital to keeping the repo up, and nothing less than what we have will do, costs considered. In case you're wondering, more is spent on these two servers than what Ste is getting through his site, according to a post he wrote a bit earlier.

ANyway, check out the Cacti while you're mucking with the repo XML file...

Jon Scott Stevens said...

"[del] AFPd [The developer demanded I either remove the sponsor tag from the description or stop hosting the application, so it’s gone.]"

Oh, so now Ste's repo is selectively including applications based on whether or not you can put your advertising in the description? Call me crazy, but it sounds like other people agree with me. What you are doing is forking the community and more and more people will start to provide advertising free distributions of their software. Did you see the recent update that had some 70+ sources in it? No need to use Ste anymore I guess.

Yes, I deleted your comment. It was absurd ranting and I didn't want you to be embarrassed by it after you realized how crazy you sounded. I find it really interesting that you continue to read and post comments here. I must have struck a cord with you.

As far as Cacti goes, I don't need to waste my time looking at your bandwidth charts. I'm far more interested in the charts that we have at work serving porn. ;-)

So, I just updated my NoAds Ste feed. I deleted all 271 useless and annoying (BW:.*) entries. Just think of all the bandwidth you would save by not having those adds in the XML. In fact, it is 6246 bytes.