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Author Topic: Cnet's Download.com and the installer scam  (Read 33848 times)
db90h
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« Reply #100 on: August 26, 2011, 11:30:36 PM »

BTW, as I keep trying to tell people (though nobody listens) --- CONSUMERS have the power to force companies to act ethically by simply choosing who they do business with. The power is in YOUR hands. So, if you don't like what company X is doing... well, don't do business with company X. That is the only way to get the upper management to listen, as they are only thinking about fiscal concerns - at least in *most* cases, especially publicly traded companies. The more you make ethical concerns fiscal, the better they behave.
« Last Edit: September 05, 2011, 01:16:30 PM by db90h » Logged
vlastimil
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« Reply #101 on: August 27, 2011, 01:50:08 AM »

I emailed Seth after reading his post (after getting no response to my previous email sent to cnet-installer@cbsinteractive.com few days ago) and success! My programs are not using the installer anymore.  Kiss

My thanks go to Seth for showing that even big organizations have people, who really care; to mouser for making donationcoder the place, where good things happen; and to everyone else, who did their bit.
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Jibz
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« Reply #102 on: August 27, 2011, 02:12:17 AM »

+1 to mouser and db90h's comments thumbs up
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db90h
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« Reply #103 on: August 27, 2011, 09:51:23 AM »

+1 to mouser and db90h's comments thumbs up

Thanks, though I wish I'd have stopped at my first comment, or just appended to it.. but couldn't delete that second posting after I made it. I get used to replying a second time on my own forum, instead of editing, to let people know new text is there. Sorry about that mouser, didn't mean to add bloat on my tangent about CONSUMERISM (look it up).

Previous page's post was complimenting Seth, as we all have. Great person, with integrity.
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db90h
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« Reply #104 on: August 27, 2011, 09:52:54 AM »

I emailed Seth after reading his post (after getting no response to my previous email sent to cnet-installer@cbsinteractive.com few days ago) and success! My programs are not using the installer anymore.  Kiss

My thanks go to Seth for showing that even big organizations have people, who really care; to mouser for making donationcoder the place, where good things happen; and to everyone else, who did their bit.

I got a response from them the same day... they may have missed your email. I also emailed Seth, but just to say Thanks. He also responded. It is sad though that a 'random' employee had to take it upon himself to do PR for a large corporation.. sigh. That should be someone's job. Whoever is in charge of PR is failing miserably.
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wraith808
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« Reply #105 on: August 27, 2011, 12:34:39 PM »

@Seth - I can't help but ask, what is CNET's position about one of their employees speaking to the general public about a controversial issue surrounding the company.

Most corporations have fairly strict rules about employees not doing that sort of thing.
 smiley

They should give him a promotion Wink.

They should, but I'm just hopeful that he doesn't experience anything negative from his initiative.
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mahesh2k
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« Reply #106 on: September 05, 2011, 12:45:17 PM »

After CNet downloader, we have a new brand in this market - softonic download manager. Forcing users to download installer.
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db90h
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« Reply #107 on: September 05, 2011, 12:53:37 PM »

After CNet downloader, we have a new brand in this market - softonic download manager. Forcing users to download installer.

That company preceeded CNET, they did not follow. This is their entire business plan. That is all they do. They advertise for freeware downloads (e.g. for VLC or WinRAR), to get people into their toolbars. They've also managed to out-wit rating services using new tactics, at least for now.

Since bundles are used by almost every major corporation these days, they have become accepted - and that's the real shame. In fact, it is major software corporations who cause half the problem to start with. For example, Microsoft spends probably hundreds of millions to have their Bing toolbar bundled with stuff. In a twist of irony, the security industry has their 'free scanners' bundled with lots of the most popular software on the planet, while at the same time detecting other bundles as malware just for being a bundle. The whole thing is just a mess.

I remain steadfastly anti-bundle, as I believe this concept is very wrong. Customers are intending to download and install ONE product, not anything else. It is a form of consumer fraud to trick them into installing toolbars or whatever else.
« Last Edit: September 05, 2011, 01:10:26 PM by db90h » Logged
db90h
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« Reply #108 on: September 05, 2011, 01:01:36 PM »

Above post massively edited when I read it and realized the name..
« Last Edit: September 05, 2011, 01:05:31 PM by db90h » Logged
mahesh2k
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« Reply #109 on: September 05, 2011, 01:03:10 PM »

I feel bad for the developer because softonic is creating google ads for the software name and diverting the traffic to their own site and in turn want users to download the installer. Traffic leak+ SEO blast. It's like writing billboard ad with name of "Microsoft" on every apple store and redirecting users to buy apple products through microsoft cart system, just because there is no distribution policy written by developer and they're not competing with these leeches.
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db90h
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« Reply #110 on: September 05, 2011, 01:06:12 PM »

I have complained about this many times, going back as far as 8 months. Every time one of these sites is taken down, another springs up. In many ways, what CNET did was legitimize their business model - making them much harder to deal with in the future. Further, the open source software may not be able to object like shareware authors, depending on the license.
« Last Edit: September 05, 2011, 01:14:27 PM by db90h » Logged
Renegade
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« Reply #111 on: September 05, 2011, 11:37:44 PM »

Hmmm... I wonder when Softpedia and Brothersoft will follow...
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« Reply #112 on: September 06, 2011, 05:49:57 AM »

I have complained about this many times, going back as far as 8 months. Every time one of these sites is taken down, another springs up. In many ways, what CNET did was legitimize their business model - making them much harder to deal with in the future.

Hmm...

Why does the word 'anonymous' start popping into my head all of a sudden?  Wink




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mouser
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« Reply #113 on: September 06, 2011, 06:22:00 AM »

Quote
After CNet downloader, we have a new brand in this market - softonic download manager. Forcing users to download installer.


I can't tell from that link what is going on with any softonic download manager.. does anyone have any more information on this?  If they are doing something similar to cnet without a way to opt out we need to start protesting it.
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Stoic Joker
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« Reply #114 on: September 06, 2011, 06:29:52 AM »

I have complained about this many times, going back as far as 8 months. Every time one of these sites is taken down, another springs up. In many ways, what CNET did was legitimize their business model - making them much harder to deal with in the future.

Hmm...

Why does the word 'anonymous' start popping into my head all of a sudden?  Wink

Now now ... You're supposed to be the (Jimny Cricket) tolerance and follow channels guy. Renegade & I are the anarchists. We have to keep the roles straight, or the whole world - as we know it - will crumble.

 cheesy
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mahesh2k
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« Reply #115 on: September 06, 2011, 07:06:12 AM »

Mouser, one user reported that softonic is creating google adwords campaign for his software without notifying him and are forcing readers to download installer. So i linked to that thread on stackexchange as it was one case against softonic. As for softonic targeting adwords campaign and making subdomains for software to rank higher than original developer, that is easy to confirm.
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mouser
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« Reply #116 on: September 06, 2011, 07:34:04 AM »

Quote
As for softonic targeting adwords campaign and making subdomains for software to rank higher than original developer, that is easy to confirm.


This is done to several of my software programs by competing companies (Techsmith which is otherwise a very nice company regularly buys google ads to redirect people to their SnagIt program when they search for my Screenshot Captor).  I find something very distasteful about that, but not to the degree that I feel the need to protest.

For me the buying ads against someone else's software is not in the same ballpark as the downloader type scam that cnet is/was engaged in.

So if someone has evidence that softonic is going to try to copy cnet with this installer thing I'd like to hear about that specifically, so we can organize some protests and start spreading the word to boycott them.  But for now I don't see any evidence of it.
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mahesh2k
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« Reply #117 on: September 06, 2011, 08:02:29 AM »

In your case they're(Techsmith) targeting your keyword but redirecting to their own program, which in my opinion is fine as it's competitor strategy on SE. That is typical business tactic and hard to argue against. But if someone is using your keyword to redirect users to your software hosted on their servers then this is something different and deserves slap IMO.

+  
Quote
e.g. Alternative Screenshot Captor download from an external server (availability not guaranteed by Softonic)
This bolded part is traffic leak and it's like discouraging users to go to developers website.

Quote from - http://screenshot-captor.en.softonic.com/download


Quote
The program you want to download will be downloaded through the Softonic Downloader, making the download process much faster, showing a progress bar and ensuring the program is virus-free.

First, the Softonic Downloader will be downloaded, and through it you'll be able to download the main program. During the download process we show commercial offers, such as the Softonic Toolbar
.


I checked your software if it goes to download manager. For me it is not forcing me to download that installer. I hope others can check this process and confirm if i'm the only person not getting download manager due to geolocation or others are forced to download this download manager.
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Stoic Joker
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« Reply #118 on: September 06, 2011, 08:13:43 AM »

Quote
e.g. Alternative Screenshot Captor download from an external server (availability not guaranteed by Softonic)
This bolded part is traffic leak and it's like discouraging users to go to developers website.

Quote from - http://screenshot-captor.en.softonic.com/download


Quote
The program you want to download will be downloaded through the Softonic Downloader, making the download process much faster, showing a progress bar and ensuring the program is virus-free.

I get the same thing. Safe way vs. Beware the abiss ... They're trying to heard the cattle through their own DM.
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mouser
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« Reply #119 on: September 06, 2011, 08:18:07 AM »

Well Softonic is really walking a narrow line there.

First the good things they are doing:

From the main page for the program they have a prominent link to the program homepage.  To me this seems like an obvious no-brainer thing to tell people but we've already seen that cnet is going to extreme lengths to hide this information to keep people from leaving their site.  So anyway that's good.

And they are at least including a link to the real original download of the program on the download page, at the bottom.

And they are at least explaining prior to user clicking download, that the user is going to first get the Softonic downloader which may install adware stuff, before they get the real program they want.

Now the bad:

Instead of presenting the user 2 downloads, one from the program authors home page and one with the softonic downloader, they are presenting their downloader as the right way to download, and then an additional link at the bottom labeled "Alternative Screenshot Captor download from an external server (availability not guaranteed by Softonic)"  -- you can see they are trying hard to push people to download using their installer.

Just like Stoic Joker says -- they are deliberately trying to trick people to avoid the author's original site, as if it was somehow untrustworthy.



To me this is a clear case of trying to trick people to download your crap adware installer.  Is it as bad as cnet? No, clearly not.  But is it bad enough to warrant us trying to rally the troops to force softonic to improve this?  I'm not sure.  What do you guys think?

We are starting to see some glimpses into a really ugly possible future for free software (and uglier for donationware) if these 3rd parties can perfect a way of getting in between authors and users and profiteering from their role as middlemen snake oil salesman.

It's almost as if we are being told: Adware is the future and it's going to be injected into your software whether you like it or not.  If you don't put it in yourself someone else will and they'll get the profits.
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mahesh2k
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« Reply #120 on: September 15, 2011, 02:43:04 PM »

I made a request to Duckduckgo author for blacklisting such domains, read this discussion. I may even tweet to web spam team of google (matt cutts) on this issue. My argument is still the same - "ranking original author or leech sites". Till then- viva la insomnia.
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skwire
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« Reply #121 on: September 15, 2011, 02:45:55 PM »

FWIW, CNet removed their installer stub from my software after I sent an email to cnet-installer@cbsinteractive.com.
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app103
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« Reply #122 on: September 25, 2011, 04:12:21 AM »

Tucows is now doing this crap too.

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mouser
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« Reply #123 on: September 25, 2011, 04:19:30 AM »

You have got to be kidding me.. Are they all going to try to get away with this now?
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mahesh2k
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« Reply #124 on: September 25, 2011, 04:49:49 AM »

I didn't get much good response from the people at duck.co, they think such type of practice is fair and reporting such site is "false positive" in their book. So i don't know how google and other search engines will respond. It's a feeling like getting crushed by big corps and yes they'll get away with this.
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