Ask the Experts: How does your Antivirus Software Testing Compare with Other Sites?

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Ask the Experts: How does your Antivirus Software Testing Compare with Other Sites?

Kevin R. Smith

Wes writes,
Do you read reviews on other websites? Can you comment on your review technique vs. some other sites?

"Some sites appear to be more thorough in their reviews than others. I'm having a hard time deciding, given the very different ratings between your site and others I'm looking at.

"For example, you rate Vipre #1, another site puts it at #12 and a third site doesn't even mention it!


Grandma taught me when it comes to speaking about others, if you don't have something nice to say, you don't have anything to say.

Kidding aside, I can't speak too much about the testing methodology that the other sites use; I can tell you ours is better.

We have a repository of 500,000+ viruses, worms, trojans, rootkits, bootkits, keyloggers, spyware, adware, and every other type of malware under the sun. We test the software from soup to nuts and run it on: workstations/desktops, laptops, netbooks, and virtual machines.

Whereas a lot of other sites (not naming names, just stating fact) might test on one, or maybe two machines and/or may use a handful of viruses, we test with a huge sub-set of the 500,000 (and growing) sample set. Then, thanks to some special insight we get from our own email honeypots, we even test with fresh phishing and malicious websites when conducting the realtime part of our tests.

Beyond that, the biggest difference I can say between "us" and "them" is that our approach starts with a basic premise: break the software.

The virus writers are trying to, so why shouldn't we?

In contrast, the other sites aren't really ever doing that. Look closely at the some of the other reviews. When there aren't any "cons" is a list of "cons," someone is getting conned.

I'll let you be the judge of whether or not reviews like these sound (even remotely) unbiased.

Now, have a look at our VIPRE and VIPRE Internet Security review.

We come out guns blazing with the downsides to VIPRE, and it's our Editor's Choice! The thing is: It's not perfect, no software is. And, we're honest about that in our review of it just like we are in all of our reviews.

Aside from that, the next thing I question in some other sites testings is the small sample size of the malware they use in testing.

Then, how easy is it to get relative comparative data from other sources about two products side-by-side?

In contrast, we have several ways, not the least of which are these two:

As for VIPRE being our top pick this year, if you read our reviews, aside from excellent detection and removal, you'll see the shining star of VIPRE is their tech support.

I've personally been back and forth with another company for a week now just to get them to honor Black Friday special pricing for some customers. First their links don't work. When the links work, they have a U.K. based sale support phone number on those web pages. When that's fixed, the coupons don't work. Oh, and that phone number is just for sales support, it's not actual tech support!

Now, don't misunderstand me, I'm not saying experiences like this are representative of support from this other company, I'm not. I'm just saying that in our various calls, chats, and emails to GFI for support with VIPRE Antivirus and VIPRE Internet Security, our experience is consistently good, and we don't get the runaround.

And the same goes for the (large) group of antivirus software users who we regularly survey. We ask them about their experience with their antivirus software and the companies behind them. Their answers give us the real scoop on what's happening between customers and each of the companies, and we take this into account in our reviews.

The bottom line?

We give assessments and ratings with candor. We're honest. We look at the big picture. We get real-world feedback from consumers. And we actually test the crap out of the software with real viruses, real worms, real trojans, and so on.


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