You may or may not have heard of SiteAdvisor before. I’ve mentioned it a few times on this blog, but usually in passing. Say, when comparing it to WOT. This post focuses on McAfee SiteAdvisor, and the reasons I’ve dropped it.
First off, it used to be an independent company. Then it was acquired by McAfee, a company that makes anti-virus software (subscription-based). Before the acquisition, everything was free. After the acquisition, McAfee removed some features and put them into a paid version of the program available as part of their Internet security suite.
But that wasn’t enough. They also have to nag users of the free version once a month, the first time they visit the website for more detailed information. A splash page is displayed before the website rating, asking if the user is sure they don’t want to upgrade to the paid version of SiteAdvisor. Once every 30 days.
And another thing: I don’t remember ads on the original SiteAdvisor site. In fact, much of the layout has changed since the McAfee acquisition (even the favicon, which is now the McAfee M; I don’t even remember what it used to be). Now there is a blinking, animated ad at the top of the page. I don’t see it usually, since I run AdBlock Plus (fabulous Firefox extension, BTW), but I know most users do. Why not use Google AdSense for unobtrusive text ads? Don’t they pay enough?
In short, the user experience has degraded quite a bit, at least from my perspective. A related concern is an incompatibility between the SiteAdvisor extension and the (great but currently non-functioning in Gmail because of code changes) Freenigma extension which caused a non-functioning address bar for me. Both add-ons are disabled now, as I’ve stopped using both in everyday surfing, but it’s still an incompatibility. The last update was months and months ago, long before even Google Talk’s last revision.
Obviously, I’ve replaced McAfee SiteAdvisor with WOT. I just hope WOT doesn’t go the same direction as SiteAdvisor, perhaps after an acquisition by Norton (so they can compete with McAfee, of course).