Here at PC Mechanic, we have worked with Uniblue for a few years now off and on. Uniblue has been an occasional sponsor here at PCMech, and we have operated as a Uniblue affiliate in the past. Uniblue is the creator of several utilities one often sees marketed online, including Registry Booster, SpeedUpMyPC, WinTasks, and SpyEraser.
Commonly seen advertised with these utilities are free scans. These free scans are small applications which will scan your computer looking for outpoints. In order to repair any of the issues it finds, you would need to purchase the full version. Some of our users have reported issues removing the free scan software. Others have reported issues in getting in touch with Uniblue regarding their order. These complaints were, by no means, rampant compared to the quantity of business done, however it was enough to take notice. For this reason, we were interested in tossing a few questions at Uniblue in the form of an interview. We wanted to get their direct take on some of these issues and learn a little more about the company.
Below is my interview of Johan Malmberg, VP of Product Strategy at Uniblue Systems.
1.Can you give me a brief history of Uniblue? How many employees does Uniblue have and where are you located?
CEO, Bosse Malmberg, launched Uniblue in 2003 with a clear vision to bring simplicity and clarity, and maybe a dash of fun, to the two unnecessarily complicated, yet essential, fields of PC security and performance. Uniblue employs around 70 staff and is based in Malta, a country in the central Mediterranean, where IT is a driving force and English is an official language.
2.Uniblue products are all sold online, correct? Any movement toward shelf-available software?
That’s correct, yes. Our eCommerce partner, Digital River Inc. handles the majority of our online transactions. We are going to continue with an online emphasis, as the model works extremely well for us, however RegistryBooster is available to buy in stores across the USA, and we will soon have a presence in Europe too.
3.What kind of resources does Uniblue use to stay on top of Windows processes, spyware threats and other changes in the industry that affect your products?
We offer a free tool at our site www.processlibrary.com; ProcessScanner scans a user’s PC, and as well as providing users with information on what is running on their PC, it also helps us to stay on top of new processes and threats as they appear. When a new process, threat or DLL is identified, it is passed to a team of dedicated reviewers who conduct in-depth research and analysis and then update the ProcessLibrary database on a daily basis with any new findings.
4.What kind of testing procedures does Uniblue have in place to ensure that products like Registry Booster do not mess up users’ computers? How do you guard against false positives?
Once a product is ready for release, then it goes into our fully equipped “Test Lab”, where it’s rigorously tested on a wide variety of hardware, supported Windows Operating Systems and on a number of virtual machines. The product is only released when we are 100% satisfied that it meets all criteria. We eliminate false positives during scans by drawing on our extensive research with ProcessLibrary, and also work with our vendor partners in this area. We always aim to cast the widest net possible to keep up-to-date on these issues.
5.What is your policy on online advertising and spam? Some of our users have reported getting spammed by Uniblue. PC Mechanic has advertised for Uniblue in the past and I know we are not spamming anyone, but I cannot speak for any other places where you guys may advertise. Do you place controls over the activity of your affiliates and monitor their activities?
Here at Uniblue, we have strict anti-spam policies which comply with anti-spam laws. We do not send spam, nor do we tolerate it – in any way – from any affiliate. All affiliates are mentored and monitored by account managers, who discuss with them how they will promote our products. If something falls outside our policy, then we do not allow them to utilize the method in question. Also, our affiliates must gain approval from us before they undertake activities concerning our products. Additionally, all affiliates sell through One Network Direct, a Digital River company, with an excellent reputation in the field of affiliate marketing which also imposes its own rigorous standards on affiliates.
6.Some of our users have reported difficulties in removing the free system scan software from their computers. Is there anything done to the free evaluation versions of your software that is designed to make them difficult to uninstall? How do you respond to these users. And what is the different between the free scans and the full versions?
We are aware that some users who utilized trial versions (free scans) had difficulty in uninstalling the software. This wasn’t intentional, and this was caused by the fact that the software was running in the System Tray when the user tried to delete the program. This wasn’t clear to many users, and, once alerted, we acted on it immediately. In response, we have developed a new feature which closes the program automatically when the user starts to uninstall. These free scans are diagnostic; RegistryBooster alerts the user to any potential problems in the registry, and SpeedUpMyPC tells the user if their PC performance can be improved. Clients can then install the full versions to actually fix any identified issues.
7.Some of our users have reported issues getting in touch with Uniblue to deal with support or billing questions. Can you please provide full details on how customers can contact Uniblue support to deal with issues with their purchases?
We have recently re-launched the Uniblue.com website, with clear and simple navigation. Our support team handle all inquiries from prospective and current customers. There has always been a dedicated section for support on the website, but it’s even clearer on the new website: www.liutilities.com/support/. The company’s Contact page also directs you straight to support. The FAQs on the support section of the website are updated constantly to reflect the most common questions asked by our customers.
8.Does Uniblue have direct ways for customers to interact with your development team? For example, reporting unknown Windows processes, new spyware threats, or perhaps unknown results on registry scans?
Yes – all queries sent to support are logged, and any to do with development are forwarded to the QA team who will investigate further and then compile a bug or to-do list for the development team. Sometimes fixes may take a while to be uploaded, as we tend to release a number of them in a single upgrade to the version. Any suggestions about possible enhancements to our products are reviewed carefully by the product strategy department. If anyone wished to get in contact, please go to the support section of the website: www.liutilities.com/support/ticket/ , and create a ticket.
9.How has Uniblue been dealing with the release of Windows Vista? Has Vista been any kind of a curveball for Uniblue or is the transition for Uniblue’s products fairly seamless?
New operating systems always present a challenge for software companies, and we were gearing up for Vista for quite some time. RegistryBooster 2, SpeedUpMyPC 3, SpyEraser and PowerSuite are all Vista compatible, and the biggest test was ensuring that they were all OK on the new OS. That was quite a job for our QA team. Being a Microsoft Certified Gold Partner certainly helps when faced with such a transition.
10.Lastly, I thank you for fielding a few tough questions. Can we end off by having you tell us about any future plans for Uniblue. What can we expect from Uniblue as we end the year and move into 2008?
Thanks, David for giving us the opportunity to speak to you. The coming months into the next year will be an exciting period for us. ProcessLibrary is being re-launched on a faster platform, and in several other languages – French, German, Spanish, Italian and Japanese. WinTasks is being launched as a totally new product called TaskForce, and www.localcooling.com – the free initiative for PC Users to fight climate change – is coming out of Beta. We are continually striving to improve existing products and offerings, and we have several new products in the development stage.