Every day we get a lot of questions about our business model and what Uptodown is all about. “Do I have to pay for downloads from your website? Are you going to fill my computer up with junk through one of those installers full of toolbars and adware? Is it illegal to download stuff from your site?” Here we’re going to clear things up: THE ANSWER TO ALL OF THOSE QUESTIONS IS NO, and below we explain how that’s possible.
Firstly, the most important detail: as of right now, every single file available on Uptodown is the unmodified original program, and is stored on our own servers after having been analyzed by the more than 50 antiviruses included in VirusTotal. In other words, we don’t add any kind of adware in the form or toolbars, program packaging, or extra software integrated into the installer. All that nonsense is long gone.
With 12 years behind us, our monetization system here at Uptodown has varied based on market realities. Many moons have passed since the program catalogue offered ‘premium downloads’ by sending an SMS or sponsored programs, among the many different attempts to keep the ship afloat. (You can’t live on air!)
A sustainable business model
How is it possible to have completely eliminated these techniques that until recently were completely indispensable to fund a platform like Uptodown? Well, as of October of 2014 we topped 40 million monthly visitors. Getting such an enormous volume of traffic is the only way to achieve enough of a revenue margin exclusively via web ads without having to turn to other monetization methods like the ones mentioned above. No gimmicks, no catch – we just have learned to juggle this margin to be able to offer the best possible user experience for all our site visitors.
Our structure has three main protagonists: the user, the developer, and the downloads site as the intermediary. Although our team of editors works to discover, analyze, and catalogue the most interesting programs for each platform, we also have a Developers Zone where software developers can send all the relevant info about their projects to keep their program pages up to date on our marketplace. In other words: users get access to our enormous multiplatform catalogue with more than 26,000 programs, developers get greater visibility for their projects, and we get a bit of revenue for the web traffic that’s generated.
100% legal programs unless used otherwise
We are completely opposed to piracy, although we’ll defend to the death your right to access any kind of software. It’s one thing for a program to be able to decrypt WPA keys to access remote WiFi connections and quite another for the user who downloads it to use the tool for illicit purposes. We believe users are the ones responsible for their actions, and thus our software catalogue is much more flexible than other marketplaces like Google Play or Amazon.
You just have to glance over our list of most-downloaded Android apps to come across titles like TubeMate YouTube Downloader, Router Keygen, or Towelroot, none of which are available in the aforementioned app stores. Even so, any time a developer or industry heavyweight like Google asks us to remove a program, we always do so immediately. That was the case in the recent closure of WhatsApp Plus, whose file we duly removed after some 36 million accumulated downloads.
Is your marketplace for Windows or smartphones?
We haven’t necessarily changed our focus, just broadened it. Although Uptodown has historically been a platform for desktop downloads (Windows, Mac, Linux…), the market is what determines the directions in which we evolve. Currently some 75% of our site traffic comes from mobile devices, which inevitably translates to a higher download rate for Android programs (we have more than 4,000 of them).
In the particular case of Android, when you go to install programs from outside Google Play using an APK (Android’s native format), you have to permit downloads of this kind of file from the device’s settings menu. We explain step-by-step in a blog post how to do this.
Although the apps can be downloaded directly to your device by visiting our website on your browser, we also have our own official app to make it even easier, designed to be used as an alternative to Google Play for installing and automatically updating your apps.