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Last post Author Topic: Nice blog post on the parasitic software hosting sites bundling junkware  (Read 12388 times)

mouser

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Why are cnet and then Softonic hits 1 and 2 on google for e.g. "smart defrag download", and for myriads of similar searches? Why doesn't google relegate such smock sites to page 3? What's the interest of google (or the nsa behind google???) in PUSHING such people?

my assumption is all about money.  that these sites generate tons of revenue for google, by google ads, etc.  It's hard to imagine any innocent explanation.  Google has a deep vested interest (and a profound corrupt conflict of interest) in keeping sites that pay them very high in their rankings.  It seems to me tht google has come up with clever ways to try to obfuscate the ranking algorithms to make this kind of thing harder to prove, but the bottom line is that google is not going to gore their own ox by making changes in ranking that would significantly threaten their income flow.

sure they may make a change here or there that penalizes the worst abusers, and they do have an interest in keeping searchers happy by having good search results, but there is an absolutely fundamental conflict between their business model and what would most benefit their users and they have been pushing that line back in favor of profits for a while.

phitsc

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...

Before reading this very informative thread today, I hadn't known that in the U.S. (= by U.S. law), if I understand well, it's perfectly legal to do what both cnet and Softonic do, vàv the respective developers? (That it's legal vàv the dumb customer, is another story, and better understable since on that side, the buggering is on purpose, given the respective small print accepted.)

...

That's actually a good point peter. I hadn't though about that.

peter.s

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"and they have been pushing that line back in favor of profits for a while" - that is very, very true, and very unfortunate... well if MS had better developers, they could jump in with Bingo or they call it, but prob is, in its current state that's not an alternative, let alone "ask.com".

And yes, for a moment, I had forgotten that alternative form of advertizing on google, and there are indeed 3 of them, to my knowledge:

- ads to the right
- ads on top, but, as before, with proper indication
- "search" results preeminence, i.e. bought "search winners" positions, without telling the "customer", i.e. the pc user... who's well-advised to never forget it's not him the [user for] EDIT: customer in google's business model: his actions are the product! (I'm even a little bit ashamed to say this since ordinarily, I prefer to NOT repeat age-old knowledge. ;-) )

Just for the fun of it, have a look into bits TODAY, where "IObit Malware Fighter Pro 2" (cf. above) can be had for free... and read the comments there: Except for one frog's: devastating! They don't even want it for free, for once I'm not alone!!! ;-))))
When the wise points to the moon, the moron just looks at his pointer. China.
« Last Edit: April 04, 2014, 02:23:11 PM by peter.s »

bit

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Okay, so far I've got Softonic on my crapware list.
Who else should I add?
CNET?
Who else, plz?

And what's that one that shows a Sergeant icon? That seems okay, or what do you think.
Tnx!

skwire

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Who else should I add?

Brothersoft (unless they've changed their ways since I last checked).

And what's that one that shows a Sergeant icon?

MajorGeeks was clean last I knew.

bit

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Who else should I add?

Brothersoft (unless they've changed their ways since I last checked).

And what's that one that shows a Sergeant icon?

MajorGeeks was clean last I knew.
Thank you. I always get confused over which source is clean or not, so I'm creating a Desktop text file as a sort of 'sticky note' so I can keep track of them until I get them properly memorized. Yes, I find it amazing that Google allows the 'scum' to consistently 'float' to the top of the results like that.
« Last Edit: April 05, 2014, 07:36:44 AM by bit »

40hz

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To my mind, the real problem software developers have is that many got sucked into the "monetizing" game and started including "offers" with their installers. And then there were things like OpenCandy jumping through hoops to redefine the terms "adware" and "spyware." And indy devs went along with these sorts of things to "gain exposure" and minimize their hosting and bandwidth expenses. So aggregator sites and bundling became the norm. And now, many in the marketplace have become desensitized to the presence of bundling - and totally deaf to the words of software developers and distributors. So any protests by developers to the general public aren't likely to be heard. Because they're no longer listening to the industry.

It was only a matter of time before some enterprising crapware bundler put 2 and 2 together and completely cut the software developer from the equation.

You get what you pay for. And you pay for who you associate with.

And that sad new-age adage still remains true: If you're not the customer - you're the product."

Especially when somebody else is picking up your distribution expenses. Just ask Walmart.  

J-Mac

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Whatever happened to OpenCandy? Their rep was posting here a lot for a while, really pushing their wrapper and, like 40hz said, redefining the terms "adware" and "spyware". Then it all stopped suddenly. Did they crash and burn? Change their name? Get bought out by Google?

Thanks!

Jim

zenzai

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Here's a list of sites that should be clean which I picked up in a forum. Haven't tested them myself yet, so use at your own risk:

Clean download sites:
http://LO4D.com
http://freewarebb.com
http://ninite.com
http://Majorgeeks.com
http://Softpedia.com
http://TechSpot.com
http://Filehippo.com
http://SnapFiles.com
http://fileforum.betanews.com
http://downloadcrew.com


40hz

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Whatever happened to OpenCandy? Their rep was posting here a lot for a while, really pushing their wrapper and, like 40hz said, redefining the terms "adware" and "spyware". Then it all stopped suddenly. Did they crash and burn? Change their name? Get bought out by Google?

Thanks!

Jim

It's still owned and operated by Sweetlabs Inc. over in San Diego CA. And they appear to be still very much in business, claiming $21.5 million in venture funding and 750 million app installs according to their website. Not small potatoes by any measure, it would appear.


J-Mac

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Whatever happened to OpenCandy? Their rep was posting here a lot for a while, really pushing their wrapper and, like 40hz said, redefining the terms "adware" and "spyware". Then it all stopped suddenly. Did they crash and burn? Change their name? Get bought out by Google?
Thanks!
Jim
It's still owned and operated by Sweetlabs Inc. over in San Diego CA. And they appear to be still very much in business, claiming $21.5 million in venture funding and 750 million app installs according to their website. Not small potatoes by any measure, it would appear.

Wow! That's pretty telling! Hard to believe that the revenue potential is quite that promising from commissions or fees or whatever from the junkware developers whose products they push. We must be their main product. (And that is a very general "We" I use).

Jim

40hz

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^It doesn't seem it's just junkware publishers going with it. At least as far as we've known them so far. Looks like there are some very big names (e.g. HP) working with them too.

Not a good sign of what's yet to come IMO. :huh:

superboyac

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To my mind, the real problem software developers have is that many got sucked into the "monetizing" game and started including "offers" with their installers. And then there were things like OpenCandy jumping through hoops to redefine the terms "adware" and "spyware." And indy devs went along with these sorts of things to "gain exposure" and minimize their hosting and bandwidth expenses. So aggregator sites and bundling became the norm. And now, many in the marketplace have become desensitized to the presence of bundling - and totally deaf to the words of software developers and distributors. So any protests by developers to the general public aren't likely to be heard. Because they're no longer listening to the industry.

It was only a matter of time before some enterprising crapware bundler put 2 and 2 together and completely cut the software developer from the equation.

You get what you pay for. And you pay for who you associate with.

And that sad new-age adage still remains true: If you're not the customer - you're the product."

Especially when somebody else is picking up your distribution expenses. Just ask Walmart. 
dammit 40!!

peter.s

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"Especially when somebody else is picking up your distribution expenses."

Ok, since this "old" thread has been revived anyway, let me give my 2c to this aspect. Most developers would be happy to have "distribution expenses" caused by heavy downloads from their own page; today's schemes are such that for most developers, 1,000 downloads or more per months would not only be included within their hosting, but would be considered peanuts by their respective hosters, which means by such download traffic, they would not be forces into another, more expensive contract.

Now, whenever you see some sw on a site like cnet (e.g. because the term "review" redirected you there, which is not a bad thing since as said, many reviews there are quite informative), what do you do then? Download from cnet, and have trouble, or go to Softonic and have as much trouble (alcool: bad), or to Softpedia, and presumable have no troube? (wikipedia: good - that's how I ensure for myself to not mix bad and good up).

No, your natural way of doings things is to search for the homepage of the developer, and to try to download from there. Now you could say that with unknown developers, that's a much greater risk that downloading the same free or trial program from e.g. Soft(wiki)pedia, since them do some scanning, but at the end the day, nobody except for the developers knows what his program will do, behind the scenes, when you run it, so you either trust him or not?

But then, in light of the above, such direct download should be possible in most instances, and when not, for some financial reason behind (really big download, really lots of downloads every month), it's the developer, on his homepage, who should you redirect to the download "provider", it should be up to the (honest) developer to redirect you to some honest download where NO crap, viruses, whatever will be added, i.e. as long as (e.g.) Softpedia is "safe", why a developer should not redirect you to that site, and to the download link over there?

Problems start from 2 bad ways of doing things:

- Your downloading from "anywhere", from "where it's available", without thinking

- Much worse even (and you should think twice then about the developer: is he really so naïve, or is he not entirely honest?): The download redirect link from the developer's page brings you to cnet, Softonic, et al.

This rule, download from the developer resp. following his redirect link to a trustworthy download site, should apply except for defunct sw (where there is not any developer's site anymore), and those are rare; most often, you get crapware by not following the above rule, by not thinking about it.

And yes, whenever some program is unknown to me, and its developer, too, I try to gather some "reviews", some shared experience with that program from different sources. Which means we're not 15 years old anymore, we should be beyond "sw collecting". When in doubt, be sure you'll be able to live without it.

My 2c.
When the wise points to the moon, the moron just looks at his pointer. China.

bit

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"CNET Accused of Bundling Software Downloads with Trojans";
http://www.tomsguide.com/us/CNET-CBS-Malware-Trojan-Nmap,news-13410.html

"...security companies McAfee, Panda, F-Secure and seven others have determined the executable to be malware. Eight went so far as to label it as an actual Trojan."

"We've long known that malicious parties might try to distribute a trojan Nmap installer, but we never thought it would be CNET's Download.com, which is owned by CBS!" Lyon said. "And we never thought Microsoft would be sponsoring this activity!"

wraith808

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^ Umm... that article is from 2011?

Deozaan

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^ Umm... that article is from 2011?

Hey! That's my line! :P


wraith808

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^ Umm... that article is from 2011?

Hey! That's my line! :P

You snooze, you lose! ;D

Stoic Joker

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...So it's a PSA to remind us all that CNET is still bad.

 :-\

bit

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^ Umm... that article is from 2011?
What? You mean....this isn't 2011 anymore?!

wraith808

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^ Umm... that article is from 2011?
What? You mean....this isn't 2011 anymore?!

Good comeback.  Really good comeback!