Affiliate Marketing

MacKeeper’s decade-long journey to win back customer trust

MacKeeper's decade-long journey to win back customer trust
Written by publishing team

This post is brought to you by MacKeeper.

By Andriy Shvets, CMO at MacKeeper

If you’ve heard of MacKeeper, you’ve probably seen statements like these: “Avoid MacKeeper like the plague.” Invasive malware. “Get rid of him ASAP.”

As Chief Marketing Officer at MacKeeper, it pains me to read comments that disparage or caution against our software, especially because they come from people who have real and real concerns about the way we market our product.

MacKeeper: A Short History

Released more than a decade ago, MacKeeper is a program designed to protect Macs from malware and give users tools to manage data and improve their systems. The goal of MacKeeper is to provide the Mac user with a complete suite of software tools to stay safe and private: antivirus, adware cleaner, identity theft guard, anti-tracking and VPN. Moreover, MacKeeper adds optimization tools and cleans up junk files, duplicates and unnecessary apps to improve system performance and free up storage space.

While the software ran well, and got some great reviews, several unfortunate business decisions caused problems. Some users have complained about aggressive pop-up ads. Others have found it difficult to uninstall MacKeeper.

It is true that MacKeeper has earned his notoriety. But it’s also true that the mistakes we’ve made have taught us a valuable lesson in the importance of maintaining customer trust. As a result, we have now completely changed our business practices. And I’m happy to say that in 2021 we passed 60 million users.

Our existing customers continually reward our efforts with positive feedback and praise for our friendly and helpful customer service team. We have also received positive reviews from prominent media outlets, including tech radarAnd Forbes And Macworld.

But, despite all the changes and achievements we’ve made, I understand that some in the Mac community are still hesitant to give MacKeeper a second chance. As someone who joined MacKeeper after the company changed ownership, the focus of my job was to fix the issues that caused our negative image and chart a new path forward.

We’ve worked hard, and I’d like to take this opportunity to explain our mistakes, what we’ve learned from them, and what we’re doing to make sure it never happens again.

What happened

MacKeeper was launched in 2010, and by 2011 our software had been installed over a million times. As the product grows, we discover new streams of marketing and promotions to increase sales. This included affiliate channels, which operate on a revenue sharing model. In other words, the more our affiliates sell, the more they earn. Of course, we have written specific branding and compliance guidelines for external affiliates to follow.

Unfortunately, it’s nearly impossible to know if each affiliate company adheres to them, along with the additional rules and agreements for our partnership. Monitoring bad actors lies with us – and we fail to do so.

As we later learned, some of our affiliates were installing MacKeeper on users’ Macs via bulk distribution and without customers’ permission. Many of these vendors have used aggressive messages and ads that scare Mac users into mistakenly believing their devices are infected with malware. We eventually became aware of our customers’ complaints and hired an expert to look into the issues. But by then, it was too late to prevent significant damage to our reputation.

where are we now

These bad decisions are part of MacKeeper’s history and cannot be erased or changed. Our team knew this when we were faced with our options. We can:

1. Give up and leave the industry.
2. Try to hide our past by rebranding and giving us a different name. or,
3. Walk away from our mistakes and keep changing the digital landscape for the better.

Although it was the most difficult, we chose the third option. This has meant acknowledging our errors of judgment, giving back to those affected by our actions, and completely transforming MacKeeper as a company.

Today, we no longer use strong marketing. Instead, our advertising – whether it comes from affiliates or from us – is based on adding value to customers. We also strictly apply the Affiliate Guidelines that govern advertisements posted about MacKeeper. An internal team closely monitors any aggressive or inconsistent ads.

If we find any violations, we will either impose a fine or immediately ban the affiliate from the program. This means that we often turn down potential affiliate marketing opportunities in order to prioritize our reputation.

As an extra layer of protection, we’ve also appointed a fraud detection company. This partner uses a script to scan websites for MacKeeper ads, then sends us any instances where affiliates have violated our rules. We even started developing a proprietary service to detect dishonest affiliates.

We recently launched MacKeeper 5, which gives our software a fresh new branding and design. We now offer real-time monitoring, one-click scanning, and repair of Mac issues. We even added 296 new locations to our VPN. And all this comes with 24/7 simple English technical support.

Apple believes in MacKeeper

Now we are seeing results. In April 2020, Apple certified MacKeeper, starting with version 4.7.21, acknowledging that the software meets the latest security requirements for macOS Catalina and all later versions of macOS. Then, in March 2021, we reviewed the source codes of all of our systems to obtain our ISO-27001 certification.

In addition, MacKeeper parent company Clario has received certification confirming that all Clario-owned product data security systems meet current industry standards and best practices. The latest version of our software, MacKeeper 5, received the highest possible score from AV-Test, including a virus detection rate of 99.7%. On the product review site TrustpilotMacKeeper has received a rating of 4.7 out of 5 from over 1,700 reviewers.

Today, our team strives to increase customer trust, by working with Apple to release MacKeeper software to the App Store. We hope this move continues to prove that MacKeeper’s transformation is real. As always, our reputation is our number one priority.

what we learned

Lesson 1: We don’t rely entirely on affiliates.

Working with affiliates can create a valuable network, but we’ve learned to choose our partners carefully. We now spend a lot of time sifting through and filtering our affiliate listings. We also know the value of carefully setting up our company’s affiliate marketing operations, choosing wisely the people who will run the department, and keeping a close eye on its activity.

Lesson 2: We respect the information hygiene of our customers.

Customers won’t tolerate annoying “buy, buy, buy” ads – and they’ll blame the company behind it. Communicating value to the user is more effective, rather than simply having to purchase a product.

Lessons #3: Customer focus helps build a community of loyal customers.
We know the importance of asking our customers what they need – and what they don’t. We research clients through interviews, and review every comment. We work hard with our community and on social platforms, and value and respect our loyal customers and their feedback.

Our battle scars have made us wiser and our product better. We are now screening everyone we partner with. This has made our product not only better, but more trustworthy. We made mistakes, but now we’re more careful than ever that we refuse to get burned again.

Andriy Shvets is Chief Marketing Officer at Clario Tech, the parent company of MacKeeper. He has over 10 years of experience leading marketing and product teams at startup software companies, technology services companies (B2B and B2C) as well as consumer goods companies.

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