[Op-Ed] Boycott CNET’s Download.com
Today I accidentally fell victim to something I knew about but was not watching for, thanks to CNET: adware. Knowing that CNET tends to unethically package junkware with their software downloads, I try my best to avoid them, but I was looking for a discontinued Dashboard widget for a Mac (iStat Pro, to be precise) and the only download I could find was through, of course, CNET. Well, I thought, I’ll take the plunge. I know about adware and can probably avoid any unwanted installations, right?
Unfortunately not. I got distracted at just the wrong time and clicked “Install” when I shouldn’t have. The result: my search engines in Chrome and Safari changed to Yahoo! and a plethora of Spigot adware and toolbars installed on a MacBook that I had just performed a clean install of Mavericks on. Worse yet, I had just signed in to Chrome and so my newly installed and unwanted extensions were now synced with the rest of my computers.
This is truly unacceptable behavior from a site that hosts downloads and even professes to be a reliable source of software. My recommendation is never to use CNET’s downloads again and to avoid any Spigot software. The photo below is the screen that I missed and which contained the options not to install a bunch of junk on my Mac.