What types of programs will Tucows Downloads not accept?

Closed applications and Online Services

Please note: The following list is by no means complete, but it does highlight the majority of reasons that a program might not be accepted. If your application or Service receives a rejection that isn't on the following list, you can find out more information by e-mailing developer@tucows.com. Tucows Downloads will not accept a program or Online Service under the following circumstances:

  1. Your Web presence is insufficient, as indicated by any of the following:
    1. A non-English home page, Online Service or program interface. Make sure the home page URL you submit to Tucows Downloads is the English version of your Web site. If you submit a foreign Web page or foreign Web page with multiple language selections, and you receive a rejection, please resubmit with the appropriate English home page URL
    2. The author's home page or description does not contain enough relevant information regarding the program that was submitted
    3. It resets the user's home page without warning. This does not apply when the program is specified as homepageware
    4. The home page, Online Service or program contains material, hard-coded links or references of a strong sexual nature, or online casinos
    5. Under construction Web sites with broken images or links
    6. Web bookmark Online Services or link farms

  2. The installation or evaluation period is inadequate in any of the following ways:
    1. It is critical that our users have ample opportunity to try your product before they buy it. If your trial period is time-sensitive, rather than based on a particular number of uses, we consider seven days to be the minimum acceptable period
    2. If registration is required to access the trial period but no specific information describing how to register appears in the interface
    3. It requires the user to provide a credit card number to use the trial version. This does not apply to MMORPGs
    4. It expires on a given date. For instance, if the trial period ends on "December 22, 2031," rather than after some period of time
    5. The program progressively disables functions during the evaluation period
    6. The program's installer is created by an evaluation version of an installation utility. For example, ClickTeam Install Creator Pro places a note that states that a evaluation version has been used and cannot be distributed.

  3. Your submission form entries contain any of the following:
    1. Screen shot URLs: All screen shot URL submissions must point to GIF or JPG files
    2. Software URLs: Tucows Downloads hosts your file and due to Web server mime-types, packages similar to MSI won't download correctly and will display within the browser
      Acceptable file list for:
      1. Windows: Windows applications must point to ZIP or EXE files
      2. Macintosh: Macintosh applications must point to SIT, HQX, SEA, IMG, SMI, PKG, DMG.GZ, TAR, TAR.Z, TAR.GZ, TGZ, BIN or ZIP files
      3. Mobile/PDA: Mobile/PDA applications must point to ZIP or EXE files
      4. Linux: Linux applications must point to ZIP, TGZ, TAR.GZ, TAR, TAR.Z, ISO, or BZ2 files
    3. File names: Your file name is too generic. Files called setup.exe and install.exe should be renamed to YourProductSetup.exe or otherwise made unique
    4. Non-compliant characters: Any submission containing any of the following symbols in the file name of the screen shot URL, box shot URL or download URL:
      ? ! # & % : ; < > / \ [ ] { } ( ) " $ * ^ ' ~ ` |
    5. Descriptions: At the Reviewer's discretion, programs or Services can be rejected for incoherent descriptions. Program descriptions should concisely and objectively describe what the program does
    6. Dual or multi-version submissions: If two or more versions of the same application are submitted, you will be required to resubmit a single version before your product is reviewed for inclusion in the Tucows Downloads library. For Mac Classic, Carbon or Mac OSX versions, and PDA Pocket PC SH3, MIPS or ARM versions, you should submit once with the correct version and provide information pertaining to your other versions -- with download links -- in the "Author notes" field
    7. Pro and lite submissions: There is a limit of two lite and pro submissions. On-site listings will not consist of multiple versions of the same software; this includes programs or Services that have Lite, Pro, Enterprise and Home Office versions

  4. The application or Online Service itself can be described by any of the following:
    1. Database applications (SQL, MySQL, etc.) requiring server access. A server must be supplied for adequate testing. Please use the publisher notes field in the submission form to provide details for locating the server.
    2. Direct competitors of Tucows Downloads properties:
      1. Domain resellers
      2. Software libraries
      3. Web and file hosting
      4. Blog services
    3. Blog related applications that link or use competing blog services
    4. Programs or Services that are too regional. For example, a program that only provides service to only United Kingdom users
    5. The Online Service or application must offer a product or service to the end user. The site or application cannot offer products or services that link directly to another Online Service or application. If the sole purpose of the application is to resell another program or service
    6. If the Online Service requires a username and password for access, a test account must be provided to the reviewer in the "Author notes" field of the submission form
    7. The program requires a username, password or registration number to access either the application, installation or the help and documentation, but the information isn't easily accessible through the interface of the program where it asks for the information to be entered.
      1. Example #1: The registration information is in a readme file. The login screen where the information is needed must link to this information within the readme file
      2. Example #2: The installation for the program won't continue until a registration number has been entered, but doesn't provide links on how to obtain. The installation screen must link to or display the correct information needed
    8. Active Server Page and Online Service applications will only be accepted under these conditions:
      1. When the program launches, it must be browser-like with the toolbars removed; it must look as much like an application as possible
      2. It must be wrapped with an installer that:
        1. Creates a program group, contact file or help file
        2. Installs the files locally to the system
        3. Uninstalls through the Add/remove Programs panel in the Control Panel
    9. Microsoft .Net environment requirements:
      1. The application works on a system that currently has the .Net framework installed
      2. The download does not include the 20MB framework within the installation package or elsewhere
      3. The installation verifies and provides links to the framework in case the user does not have the .Net framework installed
      Please note: To be reviewed, your product must meet all three of the requirements for .Net applications
    10. Add-ons to programs or Online Services not currently hosted in any of the Tucows Downloads software libraries. For instance, eBay-only sniping utilities
    11. Programs that generate errors. If you receive an error rejection from the review staff, use the "Author notes" field in the ARC submission form to list any information concerning the error. If you've fixed the error, please advise. You will receive another rejection for not doing so
    12. Programs or Services where the main function cannot be tested:
      1. Example #1: A trial disables the ability to use its main function as intended by the program's description or title
      2. Example #2: Shortcut Remover will not remove shortcuts until you register the product
    13. Programs that fail to restore the computer settings prior to installing the application:
      1. Example #1: Search toolbars that destroy Internet Explorer's Address Bar search functionality after uninstall
      2. Example #2: Programs that install context menu support and fail to remove the entries from the context menu after uninstall
    14. Programs that require you to disable anti-virus or security software during installation or application use
    15. Rebranded or cloned applications. The original developer and new vendor must choose which title will be allowed for distribution. In the case of conflicts, both titles will be removed until such time as the dispute has been settled by the original developer and the new vendor
    16. Labeled as intrusive adware: This type of software installs data mining programs or third-party adware modules, usually identified as third-party adware
    17. Service-based applications
    18. Command-line driven applications
      Please note: We will accept programs with command-line driven extraction or installation, but the process must be automated; the user must not encounter a command line
    19. Compilers, ActiveX components, OCX components, .NET components or source code
    20. Development tool libraries without a GUI
    21. Microsoft Office add-ins or file types -- XLS, XLA, MDB, MDE, DLL, DOC, PDF or PPT formats
      Please note: This does not apply to add-ons to the Microsoft Office Suite
    22. Programs that don't offer stand-alone executables
      Please note: This deals directly with running your application, not self-extracting archives
    23. Non-executable Java-related material such as JAR files, CLASS files or applets
    24. Programs that require a Novell Client or server installed on the test machine
    25. Mass-mailing software
    26. Programs that exploit bugs in the operating system for which they are designed, for example, Direct Messenger Service Bug
    27. Programs that claim the registration fee or any portion thereof will in some way benefit a charity, political organization or any other benefactor other than the developer.
      Please note: This is not to be confused with donationware, with which registration fees are used for product development
    28. Adult-related material within applications:
      1. Any adult-related material must be accompanied by an "18 years or older" warning. If this is not apparent enough to the reviewer, the reviewer will reject your submission
      2. Any adult-related material located on the home page of your application will be considered a closed submission
      3. Applications designed for the sole purpose of displaying or selling adult-related material are closed submissions

From time to time, Tucows Downloads must automatically refuse certain types of programs. This usually occurs when we are receiving large numbers of the same type of software. For instance, if over a period of a few weeks we see a dramatic rise in the number of FTP clients, we will temporarily stop accepting them.

Bear in mind that temporarily closed submissions may still be evaluated. If the program appears to be an exceptional entry to the genre, it will be scored and added to the library.

The current temporary closed submission list for the Tucows Downloads library is:

  • ActiveX barcode applications
  • DVD backup utilities
  • PDA translation tools
  • PDA dictionaries
  • Auction tools
  • Religious-themed software
  • Adware and spyware removal tools - any application contained on these rogue or suspect lists will be banned for inclusion.

Tucows Downloads must automatically refuse the following types of submissions:

  • Scripts
  • Start-page generators
  • Keno, Bingo or Casino applications
  • Lottery number generators, tools or services
  • Online Services or applications that promote illegal activity
  • Online pharmacies
  • E-books
  • Fonts or font libraries
  • Flash games. game modifications or games created using construction sets
  • Programs intended to assist with any gambling activities
  • Programs that have a pay gambling component, even if a non-pay function is included, for example, casinos


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