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Last post Author Topic: Cnet's Download.com and the installer scam  (Read 60764 times)

Carol Haynes

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Re: Cnet's Download.com and the installer scam
« Reply #150 on: October 02, 2011, 07:33:41 AM »
Not sure of the legal situation but it is legal to promote any other product even though you didn't make it - including selling stuff otherwise shops would not exist. There is no requirement for a shop to have a contact with the holder of the intellectual property rights.

I suppose the simplest way to make this clear to downloaders is to clearly list the sites that you have authorised to distribute your software as part of the installation package as soon as the installer fires up and make it clear that if they got the package from another website then that site is not authorised and you cannot guarantee the software does not contain spyware or other viruses and malware. Then there would be no incentive for other sites to host the software given that it makes them look like thieves and pirates.

The big problem is that users assume that software authors are happy and support the approach of CNET and Brothersoft etc. in this because their products are listed there. I was not aware that these sites effectively steal products to promote their own cashflow.

Jibz

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Re: Cnet's Download.com and the installer scam
« Reply #151 on: October 02, 2011, 11:45:13 AM »
Just for reference, I dug out the e-mails from 2009, and here are some excerpts:

Quote from: BrotherSoft
Dear [myemailaddress]:
Welcome to BrotherSoft.com!
Thank you for registering with BrotherSoft.com.
This is a sticky note for your email archives

Please click here to confirm your membership.

This was the first e-mail I received, it looked like a regular signup e-mail, so I figured it was somebody signing up with my name and sent them this e-mail to ask them to fix it:

Quote from: Me
I have received a registration confirmation e-mail (sent to [myemailaddress]) along with four e-mails about programs being 'released' on your site.

I have not registered on your site, so somebody must have used my e-mail address and then submitted my software.

Could you please remove the account.

Their reply was:

Quote from: BrotherSoft
Thank you for your feedback.
Our editor found your software is very good so added them to our site.
As you know our PR is 8 and the alexa rank is about 300. and your software are public on our site is free. So it is a big help for your company.
Please visit http://author.brothersoft.com and login ,manger your software by yourself.

I am no lawyer, but I would imagine signing somebody else up for an account using their name would be illegal in some way, especially since I am pretty sure you would have to agree with some terms of service in the process? Of course laws differ by country, so who knows :).

mahesh2k

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Re: Cnet's Download.com and the installer scam
« Reply #152 on: October 02, 2011, 12:46:20 PM »
Quote
As you know our PR is 8 and the alexa rank is about 300. and your software are public on our site is free. So it is a big help for your company.

Luring kids with chocolate eh ?  :down:

PR8 means "jacks****" and alexa means null void if you're stealing traffic from developers to leech for your own search engine benefit and to feed surfers with these installers. 

nosh

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Re: Cnet's Download.com and the installer scam
« Reply #153 on: October 02, 2011, 12:58:40 PM »
Quote
Luring kids with chocolate eh ? 


The kids are already in the van. All doors are locked.  :)

sazzen

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Re: Cnet's Download.com and the installer scam
« Reply #154 on: October 03, 2011, 11:20:37 AM »
Pulling his software does not have to negatively affect CNet at all for it to be worthwhile. Mouser is protecting *his* reputation and customer relationships by doing this.

That's the thing -- I'm not sure it will. Are the people that download from CNet likely to notice? Would it adversely affect an author's reputation? Would it improve it? After all, having a CNet wrapper could be interpreted as a CNet endorsement and could elevate some authors' software in some user opinions. Dunno.

I know what I think, and I've read what others here think, but seriously -- we're not representative of the larger public. Most people here are way too technically savvy to be considered 'regular users'.
I'm a tech dummy. Long time daily visitor to CNET. Used to spend hours (a few years ago) on the site digging through all the yummy software.

I can't remember how long ago it was, couple of years maybe, it all started sliding downhill. My searches (which turn up decent results everywhere else) give me nothing but odd suggestions, completely unrelated to the type of application I was looking for. That was only the first thing I noticed. I no longer look for software on CNET. I will absolutely not download anything. I've noticed the reviewers and bloggers I was used to are no longer there.

Several times, I've emailed them, or commented - where it can be seen publicly - about the breakdown of their website. No. They haven't fixed anything on my account. However, you guys should know that people are noticing. We are reading about it -gHacks for instance - and we aren't  downloading. I go to MajorGeeks, SnapFiles, File Hippo, etc., etc.

Bravo, Mouser, for removing your programs!

mahesh2k

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Re: Cnet's Download.com and the installer scam
« Reply #155 on: October 05, 2011, 01:55:41 PM »
Just found this domain hijacking on search engine for some of the donationcoders softwares. So my conclusion about these leech sites was not wrong at all. So we're going to use domain name of other sites as subdomain and hijack their position on web ?

Quote
mobysaurus.donationcoder.downloadsoftware4free.com
mobysaurus.donationcoder.softalizer.com
mobysaurus-thesaurus.donationcodercom.blueprograms.com

mouser

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Re: Cnet's Download.com and the installer scam
« Reply #156 on: December 10, 2011, 02:27:55 PM »
BoingBoing writes about it:
http://boingboing.ne...ad-com-secretly.html

"CNet's Download.com has been secretly installing adware alongside the free and open source software in its archive, in violation of its own stated policies, which claim "zero tolerance" for adware. EFF has some harsh words and stern advice for the company to make this right..."

The harder the internet comes down on cnet for what it did, the better for all of us, and the less likely the deceptive behavior is to happen again.

supermimai

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Re: Cnet's Download.com and the installer scam
« Reply #157 on: February 08, 2012, 06:28:18 AM »
I m jumping in this thread as I m myself a software publisher working since a long time with various shareware / app catalog, such as download.com and softonic.
I can only agree about the process of the software downloader and ads bundling isn't very nice, as they have probably plenty of different ways to make money.
In the other hand, how the publisher can make money when most people just want free free free free program. who can work for free ?

I just asked to Softonic to remove my programs, or to remove the softonic downloader, as I don't like the fact they make money on my back.. 


app103

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Re: Cnet's Download.com and the installer scam
« Reply #158 on: February 08, 2012, 05:43:23 PM »
I just asked to Softonic to remove my programs, or to remove the softonic downloader, as I don't like the fact they make money on my back..

I have been asking most download sites to remove my software, regardless of whether or not they are bundling it with adware or using downloaders.

They are all making money off my software by keeping people away from my website, keeping me from making any money from the ads displayed on my site, and making money off the ads they display on pages where they list my software. Furthermore, most of them are hotlinking to my downloads, which means they are abusing the bandwidth that they are not paying for. Too many of these download sites have a really bad reputation for not practicing quality control with the apps they list, spreading malware to unsuspecting users, getting themselves red ratings on WOT, which can damage the reputation of any developer that has his stuff listed right alongside the malware.

A lot of these download sites are engaging in what could be called content theft, trolling the internet for software that they can hijack without permission to stick on their own site, copying the descriptions right off the developer's site, stealing their screenshots, and stealing their bandwidth by hotlinking to their files, then throwing ads on it to make money. If they did this same thing with other types of content, like say blog articles, the bloggers wouldn't be too happy about it. I don't see a reason for me to be happy about it, either.

I am sick of working for them for free and having them profit from it. Since my stuff is all freeware, it doesn't make any sense to me to allow them to list it. It makes about as much sense as voluntarily infecting myself with a tapeworm.

If they were in the habit of sending their visitors to my site to acquire the software, I would probably feel very differently about it. But that's not what they do.

superboyac

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Re: Cnet's Download.com and the installer scam
« Reply #159 on: February 08, 2012, 06:04:36 PM »
I just asked to Softonic to remove my programs, or to remove the softonic downloader, as I don't like the fact they make money on my back..

I have been asking most download sites to remove my software, regardless of whether or not they are bundling it with adware or using downloaders.

They are all making money off my software by keeping people away from my website, keeping me from making any money from the ads displayed on my site, and making money off the ads they display on pages where they list my software. Furthermore, most of them are hotlinking to my downloads, which means they are abusing the bandwidth that they are not paying for. Too many of these download sites have a really bad reputation for not practicing quality control with the apps they list, spreading malware to unsuspecting users, getting themselves red ratings on WOT, which can damage the reputation of any developer that has his stuff listed right alongside the malware.

A lot of these download sites are engaging in what could be called content theft, trolling the internet for software that they can hijack without permission to stick on their own site, copying the descriptions right off the developer's site, stealing their screenshots, and stealing their bandwidth by hotlinking to their files, then throwing ads on it to make money. If they did this same thing with other types of content, like say blog articles, the bloggers wouldn't be too happy about it. I don't see a reason for me to be happy about it, either.

I am sick of working for them for free and having them profit from it. Since my stuff is all freeware, it doesn't make any sense to me to allow them to list it. It makes about as much sense as voluntarily infecting myself with a tapeworm.

If they were in the habit of sending their visitors to my site to acquire the software, I would probably feel very differently about it. But that's not what they do.
Yup.  You do ALL the legwork, and they reap in all the profit while they kick up their heels and sit there.

supermimai

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Re: Cnet's Download.com and the installer scam
« Reply #160 on: February 08, 2012, 06:40:15 PM »
@Superboyac but how you get the traffic for your software them ? organic SEO ?

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Re: Cnet's Download.com and the installer scam
« Reply #161 on: February 08, 2012, 07:11:58 PM »
@Superboyac but how you get the traffic for your software them ? organic SEO ?

Wouldn't that be nice?

app103

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Re: Cnet's Download.com and the installer scam
« Reply #162 on: February 08, 2012, 10:54:51 PM »
@Superboyac but how you get the traffic for your software them ? organic SEO ?


Shameless self promotion in all the right places and to all the right people. aka word of mouth advertising. In this age of social media, it's not that difficult.

Think about this...

How to you learn what is out there when it comes to applications you can not find on a download site, like web apps, for example? If they are not listed on the download sites, how on earth is anyone going to find out about them? Once you figure that out, consider the fact the same method can be applied to downloadable applications. Download sites really aren't necessary to bring you traffic. In fact, like I said before, they don't bring you traffic...they steal it from you.

supermimai

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Re: Cnet's Download.com and the installer scam
« Reply #163 on: February 09, 2012, 03:18:50 AM »
at the very beginning, you still need reviews and reviews aren't bad. now the limit between a review and a listing can be close. for example on softonic , the listing is always reviewed. By social media, you need to have really a good product to make the word of mouth working, people connected together doesn't always share the same interest either.

I was trying to focus the discussion on the technical point of view, and what can be done to ask the download site to not list you. Is anyone forbid this in the end-user license agrement for example ?



app103

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Re: Cnet's Download.com and the installer scam
« Reply #164 on: February 09, 2012, 08:39:23 AM »
I was trying to focus the discussion on the technical point of view, and what can be done to ask the download site to not list you. Is anyone forbid this in the end-user license agrement for example ?

Maybe I will better document how I do it from now on and publish a guide for how to best deal with each site, what works, what doesn't, etc.  ;)

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Re: Cnet's Download.com and the installer scam
« Reply #165 on: February 09, 2012, 08:46:33 AM »
@Superboyac but how you get the traffic for your software them ? organic SEO ?

OT maybe and old, but: Do not listen to the Black Hat SEO people (like the ones who will call you out of the blue) who will lie to you and do various 'tactics' to get you promoted. If you have something that is *good*, word will spread itself. Google penalizes sites they find practicing Black Hat SEO stuff. Of course, promotion of your stuff is fine, but no tricks!

superboyac

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Re: Cnet's Download.com and the installer scam
« Reply #166 on: February 09, 2012, 08:51:25 AM »
@Superboyac but how you get the traffic for your software them ? organic SEO ?

OT maybe and old, but: Do not listen to the Black Hat SEO people (like the ones who will call you out of the blue) who will lie to you and do various 'tactics' to get you promoted. If you have something that is *good*, word will spread itself. Google penalizes sites they find practicing Black Hat SEO stuff. Of course, promotion of your stuff is fine, but no tricks!
This has been my experience also.  Those engineering articles that I wrote here on my dcmember site over the years have become organically popular and now show up at the top of certain keyword searches.  I never did anything with SEO.  I didn't even really want those articles to be popular, I just put them up at the time because I didn't have anything else to fill up the site yet.  I also noticed the same thing last year with my side business...it just naturally moved up the search list.  We didn't do anything.  We tried some of the paid google ad stuff, but it was FAR too expensive and we saw zero profit from it.  So, for me at least, I've become convinced that organic is the way to go.  Now, maybe I don't know enough of the "tricks" but if I'm overlooking something...please let me know! ;D Howz that for hypocrisy?

cmpm

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Re: Cnet's Download.com and the installer scam
« Reply #167 on: February 09, 2012, 09:20:12 AM »
I like to go to the original site to get the download.
SnapFiles and FileHippo makes it pretty easy to get to the publisher.
You have to go to the info on the publisher.
So 2 clicks to get to the site I want.

Example-
I could download from here.
http://www.snapfiles...m/get/myfolders.html
But in the interest of knowing who produced the program,
updates and other programs they have,
and security reasons.
I will click the publisher link-
http://www.snapfiles...lishers/7149330.html
Them the 'go to publisher' link.
Which finally takes me here.
http://www.coretechnologies.com/

SnapFiles and FileHippo are the main download sites I subscribe to in my reader.
The rest are blogs like gHacks , FreewareGenius and a few others I like.
I dropped a lot of others that were not safe or posting the same things the other sites were.

Any programs that I come across that use cnet to distribute,
usually have an alternate download site or a direct link I can use.


cmpm

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Re: Cnet's Download.com and the installer scam
« Reply #168 on: February 09, 2012, 11:55:23 AM »
Funny, I just tried to update my VSO Downloader and it wanted to use cnet.
No other download option from vso, so I tried it.
Clicking download, my Eset Nod32 blocked the connection.

Found it at MajorGeeks, another great download site.

http://www.majorgeek...ownloader_d7125.html

Carol Haynes

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Re: Cnet's Download.com and the installer scam
« Reply #169 on: February 09, 2012, 07:27:08 PM »
I like to go to the original site to get the download.

Trouble is that a lot of sites (eg. Paragon and Easeus) use CNET for their free downloads so going to their site doesn't actually help.

Jibz

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Re: Cnet's Download.com and the installer scam
« Reply #170 on: July 17, 2013, 10:04:59 AM »
http://www.ghacks.ne...wnloads-with-adware/

Quote
If you have been downloading programs from SourceForge in the last days, you may have noticed that some do not provide you with direct downloads of the programs anymore. Instead, you download something called SourceForge Installer which bundles the software with third party offers used for monetization.

:wallbash:

skwire

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Re: Cnet's Download.com and the installer scam
« Reply #171 on: July 17, 2013, 10:46:38 AM »
This is very disheartening.   :(

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Re: Cnet's Download.com and the installer scam
« Reply #172 on: July 17, 2013, 08:14:40 PM »
Instead, you download something called SourceForge Installer which bundles the software with third party offers used for monetization.

Would that be OpenSourceCandy?
vi vi vi - editor of the beast

Tinman57

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Re: Cnet's Download.com and the installer scam
« Reply #173 on: July 17, 2013, 08:58:36 PM »
http://www.ghacks.ne...wnloads-with-adware/

Quote
If you have been downloading programs from SourceForge in the last days, you may have noticed that some do not provide you with direct downloads of the programs anymore. Instead, you download something called SourceForge Installer which bundles the software with third party offers used for monetization.

:wallbash:

  Which is why I stay away from SourceForge.  I usually do a search to find the file on another site.  If I can't download it with my own downloader, I don't need it.  There are exceptions though, like for GOG.com.  Their downloader will allow for download resuming without having to get a new download authorization code, plus some other good features that's relevant to your account.

40hz

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Re: Cnet's Download.com and the installer scam
« Reply #174 on: July 17, 2013, 09:08:25 PM »
There are exceptions though, like for GOG.com.  Their downloader will allow for download resuming without having to get a new download authorization code, plus some other good features that's relevant to your account.

+1 and a big huzzah for the people running GoG. :-* :Thmbsup: :Thmbsup:

How is it that those guys can "get it" so well -  and almost everyone else misses it by a mile.