Pando Media Booster – dodgy, clever or both?

So a few months ago it was a quiet WoW maintenance Tuesday night (rant on that coming soon) and at the time I had almost completed the entire Star Trek TNG series. I decided I’d download and try out the “Star Trek Online” MMO. I wasn’t expecting anything super special but I like Star Trek, I like MMOs, some YouTube videos looked ok so I figured I’d give it a go. Somewhere through the installation process it prompted something about installing “Pando Media Booster” to help with the download. Now unlike a hell of a lot of incredibly retarded internet users, when I get prompted with some third party software being installed, I will stop and find out what the fuck it is before I install it. On doing some reading it turns out that a lot of (previously mentioned) incredibly retarded internet users had clicked ok & installed this software without doing any reading and were complaining and screaming in anger that this apparent “P2P software” had installed on their computer. People were reporting that this program had literally used up ALL their bandwidth without their knowledge, behinds the scenes which means capped internet usage where ISP’s shape or charge extra for further internet usage. My initial response was to laugh so hard my throat hurt at the hilarious misfortune of these idiots, but my next reaction was to feel extreme anger at the horribly dishonest disgusting pigs who pushed this seemingly ‘virus-like software’ on to people. Why the hell would they do this? “This is a fucking outrage!” I screamed as I noticed a look of shock from an innocent walker by on the street just outside my window.

So I kept reading beyond these dribbling bullshit rants from all these internet nutcases and discovered what it actually is. In a nutshell what this software is, is basically peer to peer software sharing, almost like a torrent client, where the software SHARES the content (in this case Star Trek Online) for others to download. So when you download, your Pando client is basically pulling in pieces from hundreds, or thousands of different Pando services running on peoples computers around the world. The benefits and the ‘selling point’ of this is EXTREMELY FAST DOWNLOADS. And man, it was FUCKING fast! The other huge benefit for the software provider (ie the developers of Star Trek Online) is that they don’t have to maintain a single server and the bandwidth that would come with it.  To serve such a HUGE game  to a hell of a lot of people would be expensive. The cost of that alone would be enough to completely rule out the possibility of many indie game developers ever getting a game to market. Also some might say that it’s reasonable for people to ‘give a little’ (share the content they have downloaded) in return for receiving this game which is FREE!

But of course the dodgy aspect of it is that this software runs in the background, potentially serving HUGE amounts of data without any visual indication. And for many internet retards, this could be crippling. So the reality is it seems to be somewhat dodgy. But the concept is very interesting. Ultimately this is a viable way for huge amounts of data to be shared at staggeringly fast speeds at virtually no cost. I think there just needs to be some more transparency. I guess the heart of the problem is that if there was complete transparency, then people, being as greedy and selfish as they are, would likely not share/upload ANY data at all, dooming the entire concept to fail!

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  1. Star Trek may have prompted you, but with MANY other games the only prompt is hidden in the ToS and EULA. I spent several hours troubleshooting my router because my internet went all crazy, before I took a shot in the dark and Googled “LoL slowing down internet,” as it was the last thing I downloaded and the problems seemed to begin shortly after installing it. I figured a popular and reputable game could never have done this, but to my disappointment it turns out that this leech came attached to it.

    Perhaps it is my fault that I didn’t read all the agreements, but let’s face it, how many people do? In most cases, it is simply legal fine print which is there to ensure that the company’s rights are protected. Rarely, if ever, is it used to hide bloatware. If you do read every bit of legalese, then good for you. However, considering that most people don’t have the time or energy to deal with such things, it could very well crash the entire software industry if it became the norm (though if this is how companies are to use these legal tools, perhaps it needs a good crashing).

    I don’t have (too much of) a problem if a piece of software is included with a download, but in most cases I am given a clear prompt whether I want to install it or not. With my encounter with PMB, this was not the case.

    • Hey Ben,

      I totally agree. If the installing software doesn’t make it VERY clear that Pando is being installed, then I think that it’s completely unethical and immoral. As I said, with Star Trek it gave a very clear prompt which I needed to explicitly accept, but I have since read many claims (including your own) that some other products just install it as part of the process. If it’s only mentioned within the terms & agreements then I think it’s ridiculous. I never read that fine print, and it’s pretty fair to assume that most people don’t. I actually think it’s an insult and lacking any respect for end users if game devs/distributers don’t make it a clear prompt.

      It’s very odd that games choose this path of action, because if they were open, honest and transparent about it they might find that people are actually ok with it to an extent, and Pando might have a constructive reputation instead of a destructive one!

      Cheers,
      Manachi

  2. Apparently, it now uses your GPU as well in the background for god knows what. Bitmining?

    • Wow seriously? I’ll have a read about that. They’re not doing themselves any favours in terms of their public image.

  3. Thank you for this article! I was setting up an ipod touch and got this notice saying I needed to update my Pando Media Booster, as though I already had it? I don’t blindly accept third party downloads either, so I searched my computer and couldn’t find anything even similar to that already being on it. Then I went to google it and found this article first. Definitely better than trusting pandomediabooster.com for real answers like this.

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