If you don’t know WhiteSmoke, it’s because you never heard about them. If you know WhiteSmoke, you’ll hear a lot from them… and precisely you’ll hear a lot of promotional offers and many other good deals… even if you already bought the software! Here’s a little story of a company who hasn’t got enough of your money…
I first heard about WhiteSmoke after using “Antidote”, the equivalent in French. I was looking for some software that could help me improve my English and fix some of my mistakes automagically like Antidote did. After a bit of Google search, I did found WhiteSmoke and wanted to give it a try. Hopefully, there was an “incredible offer” that ended in two days, so I thought “this is my lucky day, I have the opportunity to buy this stuff cheaper than it would be”. After buying it and installing it, the very main difference I saw with Antidote was the fact that you don’t install the whole software, but only a “frame” that uses WhiteSmoke’s servers to do all the processing. I sort of dislike that because I cannot use it offline, my writings are sent through the Internet so I cannot ask them to fix confidential stuff, and the software is totally controlled by the company: if they decide to stop they do, and I cannot use the software anymore.
Anyway, the second “bad thing” is the shortcut key: you have the choice between F2, F4, F6 or F8. That’s a bit weird. I use each of these keys for daily work with other software, so I simply cannot use the shortcut because it will pop up in front of my work. Okay, but there’s no way to disable this shortcut key… Too bad for me, I have to shut it down to be able to work.
I’ll not discuss anymore of the quality of the software, which depends on so many things that it would not be relevant. Let’s talk about what they certainly do the best: advertising. Some day, the program started displaying ads after each single boot of the computer. Ads about… their own software of course. You bought a license but it’s not enough, let’s buy another one for fun! Look, there’s this amazing discount price for this thing you already own, $1 for everything (what they don’t tell us is $1 for the add-ons only, the main program is still $80 or so). Ends in 3 days… well ok but in the next 3 days there will be just another discount, also so crazy… but also not so discount. And if you don’t like the popup ads… no matter, you cannot disable them. Oh, one month later, they decided to add a freakin’ little checkbox saying “do not show again”… good thinking, guys.
And now, I receive a call from WhiteSmoke VIP Service at 9 PM telling me I won something… Good, you tell me. Everything, plus the best translator system in the world, plus two additional licenses for the whole family, plus a backup CD, plus many things…. that would cost me about $900. However, as I’m lucky, I get this for only… $399. Ok great. I didn’t ask for that… You think I have $399 to spend on this? They get me to someone else, that propose me to send the CD with a cheaper mailing service, final cost: $329. Well, that’s still not matching it, guys… For this price, I thought I could get the real software, not a simple front-end program on their servers. Anyway, I cannot think about it or try their translator or anything, I have to tell my credit card number… or what else? I can also… hang up. Goodbye, losers.
After that, I looked at their translator demo (the video only) and checked the translation on the video. Unfortunately for them, it was a English to French translation… and I’m French. Well, from what I see, I’m sure Google’s free translation service would’ve done an equal job, at least. And the best part, is the “become a VIP” promotional that displays on their website now… the exact same thing they told me on the phone. How lucky everyone is…
I’m sure I’ve made some mistakes in this article, as I’m not a perfect English writer. I did not use WhiteSmoke to check this text, I’ll let you think about how my writing skills are, and if you were offended by some of my mistakes, then I’m sorry. In the meanwhile… open a window to let all this smoke get out of here.