spaceoctopus

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We are all familiar with the concept ‘there is no such thing as a free lunch’. There is always an agenda that involves us giving information up or doing something to earn the lunch.

Recently Kaspersky Lab announced their adding of a free antivirus to their portfolio, making them a member of the growing list of vendors that give away their security software, apparently for free.

We all know that there is no such thing as a free lunch, or security product, so what’s the catch?

I’ve taught my son that when you download an app that’s ‘free’ you need to understand how the company makes money – maybe advertising, cross‑ and up‑selling, in‑app purchases – and if you can’t see how then you are probably what they make money from. Of course, it may be by all the methods mentioned, the key is to understand what you are trading to use a free product.

There are numerous ways free products can potentially make money and, like me, you may have experienced ‘some (or all)’ of the examples below at some stage. All these methods are examples in use by free security products being offered for download at the time of writing.
 

shmu26

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The classic way that free apps make money is by getting you to try their software, and if you like it, you will put down your money for the full version with expanded features. That may be the case with Kaspersky free. Many users until now have been hesitant to even try Kaspersky, because of the price tag.
 

AtlBo

Level 27
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Maybe Kaspersky's feud with Microsoft has led them to create the free a-v to woo users into trying the product as @shmu26 mentioned. On top of their agenda, good p-r is good for business. Kas is going in deep fighting MS (on behalf of all vendors honestly) over who will control PC security, MS or the vendors, so the good p-r should help.

Only drawback I could see is if the program is underfeatured and doesn't perform to the standards expected by the users who install the free version. Then again, I think they are crafty at Kaspersky and probably have thought ahead about leading newer users "to the promised land" so to speak. Nevermind the promised land will surely involve an exchange of monetary compensatories on the part of the users.

Qihoo has put together a good free framework with 360. If Kas can do this well with theirs I think it will lead to success...
 
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brod56

Level 15
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The classic way that free apps make money is by getting you to try their software, and if you like it, you will put down your money for the full version with expanded features. That may be the case with Kaspersky free. Many users until now have been hesitant to even try Kaspersky, because of the price tag.
That is one factor, but I think that the most important aspect of free AVs is the data they collect from the user, improving their cloud database.
In the particular case of KAF, its future large base of users aims to improve KIS.
 

kev216

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Of course there is always a cost when using free products. If the company would not benefit from it, why should they release them anyway?
Making people getting interest in their paid products is one factor. Kaspersky free for example is only signature based with KSN cloud, so if you want behaviour blocker, you should consider upgrading, which is of course what the company wants. In the meantime, they also improve their detections because of the larger userbase they attract. Win-win for both parties, the user and the company, but who wins more, that's the question, with of course the easy obvious answer. If you dig a bit deeper and look for less visual things, you can find that Kaspersky, and a lot of other companies too, has in their end user license included that they have the right to share you data with thirth parties. Peoples data makes money rolling these days.
I personally would only use free products that are not too aggressive in advertising paid variants and that have a nice or at least acceptable privacy policy. That's why I would never use products like Avast, Qihoo or Kaspersky, even if they offer very decent products in terms of security. No hate to these companies of course, but keeping an eye on the things that come with the nice free price, is always an interesting thing to do.
 
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