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Dec 10 2013

This is WHY you should avoid DOWNLOAD.COM [c|net]


Download com is evil thumb This is WHY you should avoid DOWNLOAD.COM [c|net]

I’m posting this article for the sole purpose to advise people NOT to download stuff from Download.com.

I was in search of some Windows Bluetooth drivers today because while Android and iPhone seem to have NO PROBLEMS detecting Bluetooth devices [mics/headsets], Microsoft Windows won’t even try to detect devices correctly.

BUT this brought me to Download.com. It’s been a while since I tried to download anything from them, but I decided to give it a try again. It’s just as bad as ever. I honestly can’t imagine how they are able to get away with the crap they do so blatantly.

I’ve taken a few screenshots from where I was just trying to download some Bluetooth drivers.Bluetooth drivers should be fairly innocent. Normally people looking for Windows drivers wouldn’t expect to see malware and spamware built into c|net’s secure download application.

From the screenshot below, the first screen seems fairly innocent and straightforward.

download com is evil 1 thumb1 This is WHY you should avoid DOWNLOAD.COM [c|net]

The very next screen goes right into the installation options. And this is where people should really pay attention, because I never choose the options for recommended installations, unless I know exactly what the application is going to install. Even if I know, or have a very good idea, what’s going to be installed on my system, I always choose the custom options, just to see if I’m missing something.

download com is evil 2 thumb1 This is WHY you should avoid DOWNLOAD.COM [c|net]

This is where I found out things get a little bit dubious. If you pay close attention to the fine print only express installation, it indicates that it’s going to install a toolbar and it’s going to change your homepage of your default browser. I hate when applications do this. It’s nothing short been hijacking and installing malware.

From the very beginning, this software wants to make three initial changes to your system.

download com is evil 3 thumb1 This is WHY you should avoid DOWNLOAD.COM [c|net]

I deselected the options for the toolbar and options to change my default search screen and homepage in my browser.

download com is evil 4 thumb This is WHY you should avoid DOWNLOAD.COM [c|net]

The way this next screen is presented; it’s done in a way that people feel like if they don’t agree to the terms, they can download the file. Take note to how the green buttons are all the same and positioned. They’re hoping that people will simply just click the green buttons all the way through the installation, not knowing what they’re installing.

The terms of service indicate that it’s from Download.com, but if you also read the crap left-hand side it talks about Facebook and twitter and Gmail, and then also video games. It’s all crap.

download com is evil 5 thumb This is WHY you should avoid DOWNLOAD.COM [c|net]

And yet another page of deceptive information. More information to make you think that if you don’t accept the terms of service, you can’t download the file.

This time it’s about shopping online and getting coupons and rebates. The terms of service this time are for the malware that Download.com wants to include with their secure downloader. Keeping in mind that I haven’t even reached a point where I can download the file that I need/wanted. They’re making me wade through toxic waste of spyware and malware to be able to download a file.

Again, they’re hoping that common people won’t even pay attention and just click on the next button. If you taking note, there’s two more things that are requesting to be downloaded/installed; a total of five so far.

download com is evil 6 thumb This is WHY you should avoid DOWNLOAD.COM [c|net]

Here we go again. Even more crap. Same as before, just more of it. There’s two more programs listed here.

download com is evil 7 thumb This is WHY you should avoid DOWNLOAD.COM [c|net]

After this last screen, I was finally able to download the file that I was requesting, but again, this is after I had to deal with c|net’s Download.com’s secure downloader.

I honestly don’t know what’s worse. The fact that Download.com doesn’t offer direct links to the software anymore, or the fact that they make you download software that preloads malware and spyware on your system before you’re even given the opportunity to download the software packages that you want; which could have even more preloaded spyware and malware.

Just from looking at the instructions and screenshots that I’ve provided Download.com is hoping that you install at least eight spyware and malware programs just to download one file from them. It’s absolutely despicable. It’s disgusting. It’s deceptive and I can’t believe that they are allowed to do this.

Now, if you need a file from Download.com; because you can’t find it anywhere else, you should be very aware and be very cautious of installing any software from this website.

 

Thank you,
Larry Henry Jr.
LEHSYS.com
 

…via Dragon NaturallySpeaking 12.5



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3 comments

  1. EnvisionIT Solutions

    Great article are really good points. This type of business practice is highly dishonest to the typical consumer that doesn’t know about toolbar installs and default browser pages. I am not sure how Download.com gets away with it.

    1. Larry Henry Jr.

      The options are there to opt out of it, but the way it’s presented, and the fact you have to go through this crap just to download a file. They used to be a trustworthy site; that’s gone.

      1. EnvisionIT Solutions

        The options are there to opt-out, but to the average non-tech user they are not obvious enough. It is a really misleading practice that ultimately pollutes the ecosystem with garbage.

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