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Beware downloading from CNET Download.com!!


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#11
marko

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That's actually a good point, it's not the first time we've been approached to offer discounts to our members, alas we're a freeware site, not a discount site!! We don't mind the odd giveaway, but for us to offer just a discount is a little silly - that said, there does appear to be some desperation with shareware/commercial software at the moment, people are just no longer willing to spend $$$'s on commercial software when freeware can do it just as well!!

Of course, that brings it's own set of problems when paid software is then passed off as freeware in a hope to catch users out, fortunately our users are on the ball and we can spot these guys and highlight them for what they are, dishonest!!!! :)
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#12
Guest_James (Jim) Hillier_*

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The respected Donation Coder site has now also reported on CNET's nefarious actions. Read the scathing article (and equally scathing comments) HERE.

#13
marko

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I read another article somewhere, meant to bookmark it, that challenged CNET and the reasons why they decided to integrate these addons - CNET themselves mentioned nothing about financial motivation although the writer in question did his own homework and managed to ascertain that CNET had not been making the profit they used to - strange what some sites will do to make sure they don't loose out isn't it?. I've been paying all our hosting cost's on FreewareBB since last year, obviously we don't have the outgoings that CNET do, but I could easily do something similar or start charging an annual subscription though I have more time and respect for our users and wouldn't dream of such a thing. Sites like download.com almost always come at a cost, whether it's popups or intrusive advertising, annoying or misleading download links or the inclusion of third party apps - but you know what they say, the bigger they are, the harder they fall :shok:
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#14
FreeWareFan

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Paint.NET v3.5.9 and Download.com

http://blog.getpaint.net/2011/10/03/paint-net-v3-5-9-and-download-com/

#15
marko

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Hopefully more developers will act on this too :)
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#16
mikec

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Advertising keeps things free or low cost. Even the United States Postal Service recognizes "Junk Mailings" as a mechanism that helps keep first class postage rates lower than it could be.

That said, the extras attached to freeware help the circulation of freeware. It is when the choice to accept the adds is slipped-in by default to the unaware, then it becomes an offense. Honest policy is merely an extra screen, with a clear choice and a link for "terms and conditions". Maybe there would be a true interest in a commercial product if presented properly.

Push for honesty, truth in advertising! Don't think they are not listening, tell them what you think.....

Life is... Honest people behaving honestly!

#17
Guest_James (Jim) Hillier_*

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Hey Mike - Valid points all. But what CNET is doing goes way beyond mere advertising...it is totally unethical. Wrapping downloads in their proprietary download manager allows them to bundle anything they like, regardless of whether they have express permission from the developer or not...not to mention from the actual downloader.

Very bad!!

#18
mikec

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Oh yes, I agree. The key here is finding that file you seek. Once found it behooves the user to help in the distribution process and perhaps re-post the file, without the front-end that bundles the crap. Here we find a restoration of the initial concept of freeware, taking back the free instead of trying to tell a giant to stop misbehaving!

CNET makes this a bit easier than most, the files they bundle are in a 443k "front-end" that is named something like this; cnet_filename.exe.exe or cnet_filename.zip.exe. Once executed, "Step 2" of their front-end is the bundler, now NOT prechecked, once you click "NEXT" the true file downloads. In "Step 3" clicking the button "LATER" exits the front-end. Well at this point the actual unadulterated install file you seek is in your download directory. The user can then delete the front-end. After this you can enjoy the file in the description you found, without the added toolbars, shopping addons, coupon finders, etc... Then upload the file to your favorite freeware site including a proper description. A little less than simple, not impossible.

This indeed takes some time, so freeware authors who still place the "fileid.diz" and "readme.txt" within an archive could help streamline the recovery process. Back in the day... <my age is gonna show> BBS's or Bulletin Board Systems (remember dialing them with your 300bps modem?) <grin> would read this file and automatically extract the authors description, which in many cases is the most appropriate description to use for the file.

Anyway.... Perhaps a new forum can be borne, how to recover the free in freeware? User instructions, discoveries, tips-n-tricks to carve out the crap! Then a place to offer the files. Certainly there are more ol'-school freeware lovers out there that remember the HACK was no more than a short-cut. Time for a reunion........... :drinks: :drinks:

Life is inspiring others to do good.

#19
marko

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Wild horses wouldn't drag me over to download.com anymore - I barely used them in the first place but now they've burned their last bridge with me personally :negative:
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#20
mikec

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In that lies my point Bro, CNET is only one of the GIANTS. Crossing that bridge means rescuing our mates!

I just uploaded a file. It is just a cute little screen saver, it contains the file_id.diz and is a perfect example of one of the files that can be rescued. The author offers it as true freeware and I found it trapped in CNET's bundle of crap. When I deleted CNET's front end, it did not go to my recycle bin, oh no, I held the shift key when I pressed DEL! Poof, CNET eliminated! What better way to fix the problem than to rescue the freeware and post it here. After all, at the end of the day all the complaining in the world cannot stop them from this practice, however, there is now a freeware file available without the extras for download, that was not here yesterday.

Personally I have more, just not allot of time, so I will be uploading them per your policy when I can.

Oh, incidentally, it was on CNET a few days ago that I was directed to a small list of external sites to get the file I choose. This site was 2nd on the list and I chose it just because I liked the name freewareBB, so out of bad comes good occasionally!

Life is recognizing coincidence. B)