now wraps downloads in their own installer, bloatware

If you're looking for a sure fire way to turn away your users, all you need to do is wrap other organizations' software in bloatware before letting users install it. CNet did exactly this with it's site, now forcing users to download their installer to install software.

Extreme Tech reports that now wraps most (soon to be all) downloads in a proprietary installer, that attempts to install a few toolbars and change your search defaults. The sites page design changes over the years have become increasingly obvious attempts to trick users into downloading their update software (dubbed "TechTracker") as well as Trialpay deals and their mail lists.

The company even went as far as changing their Terms of Service, as most developers disallow their software to be repackaged for distribution. Now, the company states that "if you let them mirror your files you’re giving them free reign." The site used to be the one stop destination for downloading files, but moves like this could cause their traffic to fall dramatically.

Apparently, the company even knows they're doing something wrong, with a FAQ on the help center stating that "CNET is making this change [because of] the same reason you have your applications on – for the users." The bundled software is opt-in, and even includes Microsoft Bing toolbar and changes browser settings to default to for the homepage and search.

If you want to give it a whirl, you can download VLC (Open Source, by the way) with CNet's "help" here.

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