Many people are pissed, because the free really sucks for the following reasons.
- You can’t update all your addons with one click anymore. This is especially annoying for people with many addons (more than 30) and it’s very easy to get this amount of addons. For example if you use Cartographer, it has ~10 addons + a hand full of Ace-Libraries (each one counting as own addon)
- You download speed gets throttled down
- And there is some nasty banners everywhere which are really annoying
Besides that, Curse Gaming also violates against the new Blizzard Addon Policy which clearly states that it’s forbidden to charge money for addons, or any services connected to this addons, not even ask for donations or advertisement (at least in-game).
Add-ons must be free of charge
All add-ons must be distributed free of charge. Developers may not create "premium" versions of add-ons with additional for-pay features, charge money to download an add-on, charge for services related to the add-on, or otherwise require some form of monetary compensation to download or access an add-on.
I’ve marked the most important part of this policy. The change took a few weeks ago on 19th March 2009 giving all addon developers and publishers 2 months of time (until 19th May 2009) to adapt this and made necessary changes to their addons to make them freely available and free of charge until this date, before Blizzard start to taking actions against it (may it be legal actions or disabling addons in question).
However, Curse decided to offend against this policy and exploit their users of the client by charging them for services and addons which are (and should be) free for all, instead of asking for donations or only limit themselves to advertising to cover the traffic costs.
From experience i can tell you that from 1000 visitors on your website, there will be 0.5-1% who click on the advertisement. That’s 5-10 clicks per 1000 page views. The income of this 5-10 clicks can vary between $0.50 (~10 cent/click) up to $2.50 (~50 cent per click). Multiply this with 30 and you got $15-$75 per month, with only 1000 visitors daily.
Curse however is much more popular than my blog here (i have approximately 1500 visitors daily, more if there are some special events or new instances released, like Ulduar which lead ~100.000 visitors since 14. April 2009).
According to TrafficEstimate, Curse had little over 2.000.000 (2 million!) visitors in the last 30 days. That’s approximately 10.000-20.000 clicks per month (if you assume 0.5-1% click-through rate, which is very realistically, probably more. Always depends on the side and your visitors). Which turns in into $1000-$2000 (worst case of $0.1/click) up to $5.000$-$10.000 or more (assuming $0.50/click). Sometimes there are clicks worth even more (my highest was around $3.00, but are quite rare). According to Alexa Ranking, every visitor views ~10 pages. So take the numbers from above and multiply it with 10. That’s up to $50.000-$100.000 monthly! More than enough to pay of 10 people working on the page and this only by advertising!
And this only through advertising (i.e. Google Adsense). However, for such high traffic websites, advertisers can directly by advertisement spots on this pages, which year a much higher income or PPC (Pay-Per-Click) rate. Even PPM (Pay-Per-Mile/Thousand of Impressions) which pay ~1-2$ per 1000 impressions (with 20.000.000 pageviews per months that’s $20.000-$40.000).
And that’s nothing compared to affiliate programs, where you get a fixed percentage of the sales. For example from a $50.00 Leveling Guide you refer, you get 50% ($25.00). This has a much better conversion rate than any other form of Advertisement. Don’t believe it? I’ve earned $295.93 with this blog by having only an average of 1.500 visitors per day!
What I am trying to say with this? The thing i want to say, is that this greed really annoys me, as there is much more ways to make money from a website without having to exploit your visitors and charge money for a free service (and to violate against any policies).
Curse Updater & Spyware
Additionally to that above, there is some weird behavior of the new 220.127.116.11 version of the Curse Updater. Since the update a few days ago before they switched to Premium, there are some warnings from my Personal Firewall, that the Curse Updater tries to access private data. It’s accessing some of the values of the Internet Explorer which are declared as private data.
Click the pictures to enlarge:
Looks like more ways from them to exploit the users and make money by collecting personal data (like which website you’re visiting and sell it to marketing companies).