Our MacKeeper review has gathered countless stories in its comments section, nearly all of which speak of how “terrible,” “bad,” and “awful” the software, as well as the company behind it, ZeoBIT, really is. Having read all the comments and speaking to a few people familiar with the matter, I have decided to shed some light on MacKeeper.
The first area I would like to address is the “fake” websites and misleading advertisements that are floating around the internet promoting MacKeeper and attacking its competitors (Example 1, 2). If one were to Google “MacKeeper review,” the results which appear are vastly “fake” websites setup solely to promote MacKeeper and discredit its competitors including CleanMyMac, MacCleanse, and Cocktail. To anyone unfamiliar with Macs, these websites appear to be trustworthy and legit which, in the end, leads many to pull the trigger on software without really considering all the options –this alone is a bit troubling. Further, the keywords these sites use include “MacCleanse,” “Clean My Mac,” “Cocktail,” and many of its other competitors names.
According to ZeoBIT’s CEO Slava Kolomiychuk, “no sites other than the ones hosted on the zeobit.com domain are operated or have been established by ZeoBIT.” Kolomiychuk says that these “fake” websites are solely done by its affiliates (Plimus, Affiliate.com, ClickBank, AffiliateBot and others) and that there are currently “more than 500 affiliates participating.” Many of these “fake” websites do offer a disclosure somewhere, whether it be a small link on the bottom of the page, or hidden in the about page. Kolomiychuk said that these sites floating around “have nothing to do with fake; the affiliates did everything right, except a couple of moments.” Apparently, some affiliates are not following the guidelines made by ZeoBit:
Some affiliate networks do a poor job of policing their affiliates and the duty is put onto merchant’s shoulders (which happened in our case). We’re still a developing company and only have 1 person dedicated to recruiting, policing and coordinating affiliates. As our affiliate program gets picked up by more and more affiliates, it’s becoming ever more difficult to control all affiliates.
We are on the constant lookout for nonconforming advertisements – we find a lot of them through search engines, some are submitted to our support team. We take proactive action on these affiliate accounts: they are first asked to get their affiliate website to comply with the T&C – and if they fail to do so within 48 hours, their account is terminated immediately.
MacKeeper itself is one of, if not the largest advertiser in its genre. It has ads on a large number of Apple-related websites including Mac App Storm and TotalApps. The word usage on its ads is something to take note of; On Mac App Storm, its ads state “Clean Your Mac,” which is oddly very similar to one of its largest competitors CleanMyMac. On TotalApps, a completely different looking ad too states “Clean Your Mac.” Coincidence? Unlikely. One more rather interesting bit is that when one Googles “CleanMyMac,” ZeoBIT’s MacKeeper is the second link. Accident? No.
Moving on from its questionable advertising techniques, I’d like to quickly address MacKeeper itself. MacKeeper advertises many features that the Mac already has including backups (Time Machine?), Shredder (Zero out data?), Antivirus (Really? Many free options available if one actually wanted this), Login items (This already exists on every Mac). MacKeeper does offer some relatively useful features, but that’s not to say its competitors don’t offer them as well at a lower price, if not for free. One of the comments on our review said:
Mostly what they do is take existing features of your operating system and put it in one place, and make you pay for the privilege. Add in their aggressive marketing, the fact it uses wine (classic half-assed windows developers trying to cash in on gullible Mac users), and the reports of horrible system performance after installing this crap, and well, do you really want to deal with it?
ZeoBIT’s method of advertising, in my mind, really needs to change; I’d rather know more about its product, and see less popups, claims, and glitter. If it doesn’t clean up these affiliate sites and make it’s own system of getting MacKeeper out there a cleaner, less scam-filled picture, I do not see it surviving as long is it potentially could. Moreover, the application itself could use an overhaul from its use of Wine to many of its pointless features –not to say they are all pointless. In the end though, this is just me talking with information I have found. The final decision is up to you, the consumer.
Update: It appears I am not the only one who feels this way, Josh Hoggan, the president Koingo Software (the people behind MacCleanse) said:
We hope to see them [ZeoBIT] either clean up their act and participate as a true Mac community citizen, or step out of the market entirely. They are continually taking advantage of uninformed users.
Update 2: And another email comes in. MacPaw, the people behind CleanMyMac, have sent in what they have to say about this:
We completely agree with Josh Hoggan about ZeoBit not truly being part of the Mac community. Aside from ZeoBit, we do not know of any other Mac developer who uses these kinds of techniques to advertise their products. Competition makes us improve our products, but we are used to honest competition. Unfortunately the techniques that ZeoBit uses to promote its product misleads the final user, and he or she is left almost with no choice. There is no place for these kind of practices in the Mac community, and hopefully ZeoBit will realize this soon.
A disclosure: Both MacKeeper and CleanMyMac have advertised on TheMacFeed at one point in time. This article was not in anyway swayed by this.