CNET’s download.com has been, from what I can tell, a stalwart bevy of free and free-to-try software on the internet for over a decade. Today they continue to note their status as “safe, trusted, and spyware free.”
Despite this, user comments note gripes with “bloatware” that comes with software. In my case, I’ve learned to read the download screens carefully. I mean, how many times have I avoided adding a toolbar to my web browser?
So, what does it mean now that some of CNET’s downloads are now set with extra screens that try to push bloatware and browser changes, directly from CNET? Sure, it’s not spyware, so the tagline is still true, but what does it mean that a trusted download site is giving users “special offers” to gunk up, in my opinion, their computers? Here’s an example of one of their newer screens that appears in the middle of a software download:
What do you think? Is this OK — or has CNET taken a step too far?
One thought on “CNET’s Download.com — What’s Happened?”
The bloatware diminishes CNET’s relevance. I don’t visit the site so often anymore. When I went there today to look for reviews of file synchronization software, I couldn’t find any through the most prominent link to software search on the main page. I was able to find some through the download.cnet.com domain (instead of just cnet.com), but not before I searched “what happened to CNET” and found your article. I also found out that CNET’s owner has taken away their journalistic independence, which further diminishes CNET’s relevance. I hope they can turn it around, because I still don’t think there is one other website that can provide free reviews on so many competing software products (which is mainly what I use it for – I never have trusted downloading directly from CNET, I generally go to the software developers’ web page).