Last week Techworld ran a story about a new “free” tool from Tumbleweed for analysing unauthorised FTP traffic for security risks, the FTP Analyzer.

More fool us (or me, to be exact). It turns out that the product doesn’t actually exist at all in any accepted sense of the word. It can be used for a single month, the so-called trial period. Once the month is up, you can’t then actually buy it, even if you want to.

It just stops functioning, or at least that’s what we assume from Tumbleweed’s evasive response on the matter. That’s a radical redefinition of the term “free”.

What is the company playing at? The FTP Analyzer isn’t actually a software tool at all, it’s a sales-get. You hand over your contact details to Tumbleweed in order to get the tool, then discover you’re now a sales target.

Fair enough. But why couldn’t the company just be straight about it from the start? Because nobody would download it, that’s why, and journalists wouldn’t write about it.

Tumbleweed finally fessed up:

"The FTP Analyzer product is not offered as a purchase product. Tumbleweed is using this tool to help organisations recognise the FTP traffic flow within their IT systems and, after the 30 days, Tumbleweed hopes that they can work with those companies that have tried this tool to find solutions that will help address the FTP traffic problems they have found."

Perhaps we should embarrass them by asking to do a product review.