Last year CNET started bundling an “ad-supported stub installer” with downloads on Download.com. This installer was CNET’s way to bring Ask Toolbar-like crapware bundles to CNET downloads. The installer wasn’t added to all downloads on Download.com but was added to enough downloads for people to take notice and come up in arms. Back then the only ways to avoid installing crapware courtesy CNET was to either
- Be very careful when downloading files from CNET, making sure to avoid installing crapware offered by the CNET installer;
- Create a CNET account, login to that account whenever downloading something, and using a direct download link;
- Or not using Download.com altogether.
While I’m sure many people opted for option number three, there are still times some people download from Download.com (sometimes we have no option except to use Download.com because some developers only put their files on Download.com). For those of us that still use Download.com, you will be relieved to know Download.com now clearly marks downloads that have the CNET ad-supported stub installer as “CNET Installer Enabled”; and Download.com now allows everyone to download via a Direct Download Link that bypasses the CNET installer — you no longer need a CNET account for a direct download. So the next time you venture to Download.com, keep your eyes open for a direct download link when downloading software that come with CNET installer.
Stay safe everyone.