A question has continually been running through my mind. Why do people pay for Antivirus protection? I firmly believe that the average home user has no need to fork out cash for antivirus software. There are reliable and effective antivirus programs out there that when combined with some common sense and some knowledge of safe surfing will be absolutely sufficient at keeping you free of malware. I take myself as a perfect example as I’ve been using AVG Free on my home system for over six years with not a single serious problem. The biggest ‘minor’ issues I’ve had to deal with include tracking cookies.
Best Selling Antivirus in the World
I stumbled across a Norton advertisement the other day in which they describe themselves as the “Best selling antivirus software in the world”. Why is that do you think? I would suspect that because they have successfully marketed their product so well, and pre-loaded ‘free-trial’ versions onto virtually every machine on the planet, that many computer users assume this is their only option for protection. In fact I asked a few people why they are paying for antivirus protection. One individual told me directly “I didn’t know there were other options out there”. Another person let me know that it seemed easier to pay for a product they already had on their computer than to take the time to look for an alternative. WOW! Not just picking on Norton here but running with my primary example, it is an expensive product. That’s a lot of extra cash to just fork out, when a free product such as AVG, Avast or Avira will be relatively just as effective (Read my post on top free antivirus picks for 2010)
Is a Free product an Inferior Product?
I wonder if people feel naturally safer by paying for something? Perhaps there is the subconscious assumption that a free product is an inferior product. This is something I can understand, and it certainly wouldn’t surprise me. But in the case of Antivirus products it just isn’t true. Sure some pay products offer you features you simple won’t find in a free product (they have to give some incentive), but ultimately as I mention above safe browsing and common sense will protect you from the majority of threats anyway.
Clearly effective marketing is driving the economy for antivirus vendors. And those that offer free products obviously don’t have the resources to market their product in the same way. It is therefore up to us, to promote and assist individuals by helping them find and install free, effective, solid antivirus solutions.
So the question provokes thought. How can I motivate my friends and others to stop wasting valuable dollars on software they don’t need. Now I’m not advocating to say paid antivirus protection is wrong, simply promoting my own opinion which states that it is unnecessary. Corporations and other businesses would be unwise to stick with a free antivirus solution. But you at home, if you’re paying for antivirus software there are free alternatives which can save you money.
Maybe you have some of your own thoughts regarding why people are paying for antivirus software. Please let me know with a comment here, I’d be interested in what you have to say.