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Disadvantaging start-up developers? The new-look Download.com

29 August 2008
Last updated on 1 September 2008

CNET has launched a new-look version of their Download.com site.

The site's traditional green and yellow interface has been replaced with a black and red design and CNET has announced that the new site is now more customisable and faster.

There has however already been criticism of the new site in that it could be disadvantaging new software products and start-up developers entering the market while favouring established ones.

By default, Download.com now organises software listings in order of the number of "downloads last week".

This could mean that new software listings, which have low initial download rates, may not gain sufficient popularity to equally compete with more established listings.

Software Industry Professionals contacted CNET to ask whether the new organisation of listings on Download.com favours established software publishers while disadvantaging those just entering the market.

Jason Fischel, VP of CNET Downloads responded that "We plan to experiment with various sorting algorithms in an attempt to find the right balance of freshness, quality, and popularity. We have historically been a launching pad for many new software products and plan to place an even greater emphasis on working with all software publishers in the future. There are several products under development to help make it easier for software professionals (both new and established) to launch their business on CNET Downloads."

When asked whether the new site could result in visitors who want to find "new" software moving away from CNET Download.com to other sites instead, Mr Fischel responded that "We plan to place a heavy emphasis on "new" software as part of this redesign and will introduce many of these features in the upcoming weeks. Specifically, we plan to incorporate "Today's Updates" on both the Front Door of the site and in many other locations. We already have Today's Updates built out fully on our VersionTracker product - http://www.versiontracker.com/macosx/ and you will see this functionality on CNET Downloads shortly. This will be in addition to our editorial content that routinely focuses on the newest software and webware products.

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