The most misleading banner ad ever?

If you’re looking for a decent, free image editing tool, but don’t need the expense of Photoshop or the complexity of GIMP, I can highly recommend Paint.NET.

However, if you plan on downloading this free software, stay sharp when you’re on the Paint.NET website. Because the link to download isn’t quite as obvious as it seems:

Download link

That big ‘DOWNLOAD’ button with the huge green arrow that drags your eyes in and won’t let go? That’s not it.

It is, in fact, an advert. It takes you to, a site offering ‘the ultimate search tool’ – as far as I can tell, a toolbar you can download and use in your web browser.

I can’t find much other information about the company, apart from this complaint from someone who had the ad appear unexpectedly on their own website. So my advice would be to steer clear.

Oh, the actual download link? It’s up the top there, just beneath the logo:

Paint.NET download link

It’s not hard to see how SearchAle benefits from this advertising. I’m sure there are more people using its toolbar then there would have been otherwise.

I just wonder how many of those people actually wanted it, or even understood what they were downloading.

2 responses to “The most misleading banner ad ever?”

  1. Hi :)

    I’m a devotee too – very, very nice piece of kit considering the zero pricetag.

    Agree though that the banner ad is hugely misleading. I suppose has to be funded somehow… perhaps that was just the best offer they received. Have you contacted them about it?

    Debs :)

  2. John says:

    Hi Debs,

    Thanks for the comment. Yes – I use Paint.NET a lot too. It’s about as advanced as I need, without being bogged down in features I’ll never use.

    I’ve emailed Paint.NET about the ad – will update the post when/if I get a reply. I gueess it’s probably served up as part of an advertising network, so they might not have much choice over what actually gets displayed.



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