Wondershare (RecoverIt), Stellar and DiskDrill unethical(?) marketing.
It’s no secret that I am not a fan of Wondershare’s RecoverIt. I think it’s a very poor, over hyped tool. And yet you see it pop up it’s ugly face everywhere, despite the fact you can get get superior software for less money.
Now, in my opinion there is nothing wrong with affiliation programs. In fact I am affiliated with most vendors of data recovery tools. I am affiliated with ReclaiMe, R-Studio, Easeus, you name it. So the fact I am a ReclaiMe fan has not much to do with me being affiliated to them, but all the more because I have objective reasons to love their product.
There is also nothing wrong with trying to get some attention for your product. I take time to browse the web and see if there’s any websites that might be interested in mentioning my tools. For example, I dropped geckoandfly.com a mail when I saw they listed several JPEG repair tools, and I am glad they now list JPEG-Repair there too. But I am a one-man-show and don’t have much time to dedicate to such activities.
Now, the fact you see certain tools pop up literally everywhere is not s much a testimony to their quality and effectiveness, but all the more a matter of money. The Stellar’s the DiskDrill’s and the RecoverIt’s are all over the place because they invest money into their marketing. Again, there’s not anything per se wrong with that, but it is good to be aware of that. Where it becomes absolutely dubious of course is paying money to influence ‘editorial’ content.
I am glad I am not the only one noticing this and see others hinting at these practices too. The gentleman in the video is an expert on flash memory data recovery:
I don’t want put words in his mouth, he’s not accusing RecoverIt of anything, I think. It’s more matter of reading between the lines. And IMO it illustrates the problem of RecoverIt encouraging people without any expertise to ‘review’ their software and make false claims.
Why, oh why would anyone buy RecoverIt?
Why would anyone buy RecoverIt? Or DiskDrill? Or Stellar Data Recovery? Because it’s in their face! I think it can only be explained by one thing: effective ‘marketing’. And by that I mean buying your way into places and content people are likely to visit. I think, 9 out of 10 of the positive reviews you see on the web are either paid for, or the reviewer get’s a cut form each copy purchased via his website. The remaining 1 out of 10 is a review done by a person who doesn’t know what he’s talking about.
But never the less, these effectively marketed tools are every where. They’re not hard to find, in fact it will be often the first data recovery tools you will find.
Today in Twitter I saw an interesting tweet from the maintainer of the website www.majorgeeks.com.
It’s an illustration of a couple of things.
- Majorgeeks.com shows integrity.
- An example of Wondershare buying it’s way into editorial content. This is their m.o..
This is the entire mail
I have received similar offerings from Wondershare.
And more recently:
Unlike Tim, I confess that don’t give them no for an answer. I instead quote them a price, and make it absolutely clear to them that this will be a thorough and honest review. I refer them to a video I made on their photo recovery tool in the past, which wasn’t very favorable. I never heard from them again.
And here we have Stellar making a similar proposition via LinkedIn:
He kept pushing me to review their latest version of Photo Recovery, sent me a license to test with. As this is a kind of a hobby of mine (because I love data recovery software) I ran it against a batch of memory cards and card images. Real world cases, not some made up scenario by a ‘reviewer’. Those cases that typically end up at my desk because people already tried all the usual suspects. As expected the new version of Stellar failed spectacularly. Not missing a few files, no not detecting any files on cards I did actually manage to recover all data from. I relayed my results back to Mr. Yadav, and asked if I could have technical support to resolve these issues, to never hear from him again up to this day.
Another example. CleverFiles is the maker of DiskDrill. I did a review on their data recovery product and of course they’re not very happy with that. I put a lot of effort into it. Not only into testing but I even edited their annoying mascot so it had a sad face and was wearing dark glasses to suggest it was blind. The article is one of my Google success pages.
The previous marketing manager of CleverFiles responded b deactivating my affiliate account. But of course this doesn’t make the blog post go away. The other week I received an email from the new PR manager.
It appears she took the time to glance over my website, commenting on my dog. Now again. I have nothing against her contacting me. She is not asking me to do anything illegal or immoral. She’s not offering bribes, she’s simply asking for a second chance. But what it does illustrate in my opinion is that these companies have the funds to dedicate people to follow up on this type of content that may hurt their product’s reputation.
Although it’s hard to prove, it is very likely there’s another type of very dishonest marketing taking place. It often goes like this: User a reports he has lost data in an online forum. Very quickly user B pops up. Often User B is a fresh member of the community and reports excellent results with product X in a similar situation. Often it goes beyond just recommending product X; He supplies download links and some times even a detailed procedure on using product X, specially on platforms such as Quora.
It is my impression these Samaritans are in fact sponsored by the vendor of the products being pushed, so shills.
Now if you’d tell me that I am being paranoid now, I might agree with you if it weren’t for the fact that I am not the only one who sees this.
So, IMO the conclusion must be that people buy RecoverIt, Stellar Data Recovery and DiskDrill because they’re effectively marketed, and as a result are hard to miss. And again IMHO it illustrates that the tools are easiest to find are not because of them being the best solutions, but because they’re backed up by companies that are able and willing to, to push their products.
Good one. These companies Stellar / Wondershare do en-ethical marketing over the net.
For example there is a FREE tool for converting videos called Handbreak. 100% Free.
But if we aearch on Google with Handbreak you hit “HandBrake Video Converter – Makes Your Video Stand Out” but if you click it goes to Wondershare§ Why are they mis-using the keyword “Handbreak” with Wondershare?
Yep. That’s what they do too. Using competitor brand names in articles for the sole purpose of SEO. And Google search, stupid as it is, falls for it.
Updated 24.04.2020 – added shilling, thanks Franc Zabkar
I think the best approach is to keep doing what you are doing — assess each product using unbiased criteria and methods, in such a way that others can reproduce and verify your results.
I have found that many of these software companies use paid shills to post fake testimonials in various data recovery forums. Their own web sites provide unlikely, unverifiable testimonials, and many of them use generic personal images which they have downloaded from royalty free databases.
That said, I think the biggest threat to DIY data recovery is SpinRite, namely because it can damage a failing hard drive, and because so many technical professionals believe in it and promote it as a data saviour. Who needs paid shills when tech guys do your selling for you?
I agree Spinrite is a dangerous meat grinder. But you could argue any logical data recovery tool can achieve tremendous damage too. Yeah biggest threat may be Dunning-Kruger actually. I chip in on some online communities where it’s related to recovering data, for example a photography forum. On such a forum there’s usually one or two that are regarded the resident experts on recovery matters. It’s really the one eyed leading the blind. Correcting them is almost a guarantee to get flamed. Good thing I am a masochist ;)
I find it painful to watch forums like Tomshardware and Anandtech that have no problem with the very bad data recovery advice of paid spammers and absolutely no tolerance for anyone who dare to suggest that those programs are garbage. So, unfortunately, people are seeking advice on such forums thinking that they are getting unbiased expert advice and they are getting the absolute opposite.
True! I had myself kicked from tomshardware and these forums are the worst places to get any advise on data recovery. I see it it on dpreview too where the one-eyed are leading the blind.
Don’t play with tech giants like Wondershare
What do you mean, play?