CNET: The Site That Was Cool Isn’t Anymore For Downloads…

When I was first getting acclimated to being online a couple of decades ago, everyone used to say that the place to go for downloading things was CNet. Back in the day, even PC World used to always send you there to download many of the things they found that they thought were great free programs for all of us to use.

mdaniels7 via Compfight

Even though PC World still does this sometimes, they’re a lot less likely to do so these days, and there’s a major reason why. At least from my perspective, it seems like every file one downloads from there is loaded with bloat ware and, dare I say, a lot of malware, to the extent that if you’re not paying attention to what you’re loading onto your computer, the next thing you know you’ve added toolbars, coupon and sales software, and who knows what else.

It’s gotten so bad that I refuse to download anything else from them. Unfortunately, my friends haven’t learned their lessons yet, so who keeps getting the calls because something’s gone wonky with their systems? You guessed it; sigh. Thing is, it’s hard to tell someone not to download things from a site that’s so highly ranked and well known. What happened to CNet?

I’m not the first one to talk about this, and it’s not really all that new. Back in December 2011 the Inquirer talked about it in relation to a forum poster of some significance who was irked with the process. In Early 2013 confirmed the malware coming through CNet’s new download site, correctly called (nope, not giving them a link).

What’s funny is many of their bigger accounts put out warnings to their potential customers saying that consumers need to make sure they’re clicking on the correct button when downloading products because it could lead to other problems if you’re not downloading the right thing. You think?

If you can, find another place to download your stuff, paid or free. Otherwise, unless you’re technically savvy, you’ll find yourself awash in ads and unable to get out from under it. That is, unless you have a friend like me who lives close enough to fix it for you.

17 thoughts on “CNET: The Site That Was Cool Isn’t Anymore For Downloads…”

  1. It depends on software and the way download is performed. Many applictions try to install 3rd party browser add-ons, software that is infected, etc… Trance the point of origin for particular application and I am sure that it can be downloaded from there, often there are other mirrors too.

    1. Maybe Carl . Frankly I find that I don’t download as much software as I used to, although I will load an app or two here and there. But the last time I tried a CNET download was the last straw for me.

      1. I think that I’ve mentioned previously that I have 2 partitions on my hard disk one with Windows and one with Linux. Actually in the last 3 months, I completely switched to Ubuntu Linux and I am very happy. No viruses, no malware, all software is free and can be downloaded from something called “Software Center” for free. Even all premium anti-virus applicaitons are complementary, but the thing that make me most happy, is when I look at system resources usage, always less than 200MB.

      2. That’s a nice use of system resources. Firefox uses up a lot of resources but Win 7 seems to handle it okay. I’ve just never been able to commit to any other operating system than Windows.

  2. YUP! I try to avoid CNET if at all possible.

    For some reason, one of the 3D programs I use insists on offloading the updates of their software to CNET. It always always always a frustrating experience.

    They seem to be on auto pilot, in “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mode. My trust for that site waned years ago, but I agree it’s not easy to get others to break from them.

    CNET and have somehow engendered a level of trust that isn’t deserved. Maybe it comes from being pretty much ubiquitous (hey, if it’s everywhere, it CAN’T be bad, right?)

    I’m not sure that site will ever change unless something drastic happens.

    1. John, back in the day CNET was definitely a trusted source. Then I stopped paying much attention and it seemed like suddenly it was a horrible experience to deal with. It probably wasn’t that slow but I hadn’t really paid much attention to the “download” name at the time.

      1. Well unfortunately they’re STILL a trusted source to many folks. Thinking back on it, I can’t say I really ever trusted or cared for them. In fact, I wrote a post about this very thing waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay back in 2010.

        They gobbled up the venerable that I used to visit almost everyday. Ruined and then absorbed 99% of the time, these tech sites aren’t the same once they get gobbled up. After awhile the reviews and opinion pieces become suspect, so i just left them alone.

        With that said, I can’t report that I’ve ever downloaded any malware from them, but mostly that’s because I will alway choose to use a different service if I have a choice.

  3. I haven’t used CNET for ages. Any software I’ve purchased of late has been from the actual site rather than from one such as CNET.

    I hate those programs that come with a lot of baggage that just clogs up your resources.

  4. U have been using CNET for a very long time now and I never experienced a software or virus related issue. May be, this is specific to some particular software or programs. Still, it is better to take precautions.

  5. I see CNET as more of a software review site now that that awesome site where i used to find clean software free of infection to download.

    I only visit CNET these days just to read the reviews I have a couple of other places now to download my software.

    1. Nwosu, I don’t bother with Cnet anymore after the last time I tried downloading something. It’s just not worth taking a chance that I’ll miss something.

  6. Now days CNET is forcing users to download their spammy downloader, The downloader is full of Adverts as well as the downloading speed is slow..
    When i was in college, Cnet was my favorite site for downloading software, but now days i rarely use CNET.

  7. I am agree with your points, Now days CNET become so spammy that no body really loves it. Most of the software downloading websites like cnet and softonic are providing their own downloaders..And that downloaders really sucks..

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