* The Business of Software

A former community discussing the business of software, from the smallest shareware operation to Microsoft. A part of Joel on Software.

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Moderators:

Andy Brice
Successful Software

Doug Nebeker ("Doug")

Jonathan Matthews
Creator of DeepTrawl, CloudTrawl, and LeapDoc

Nicholas Hebb
BreezeTree Software

Bob Walsh
host, Startup Success Podcast author of The Web Startup Success Guide and Micro-ISV: From Vision To Reality

Patrick McKenzie
Bingo Card Creator

Anyone tried downloading from Download.com lately

Just noticed today that they're wrapping every install in their own install program - and trying to install the Babylon toolbar in the process. Every single application.

This is recent - fairly sure it wasn't happening a couple of weeks ago.
dags3 Send private email
Saturday, August 20, 2011
 
 
dags3 Send private email
Saturday, August 20, 2011
 
 
Not happening for my apps on Download.com

May be they have some manual/semi-manual way of wrapping the exes. They haven't reached my programs yet.
Gautam Jain Send private email
Saturday, August 20, 2011
 
 
Other download sites (e.g., Softpedia) have been doing this for a while. I wonder with download.com if they're going to do it with all programs or just those that are using their free listing option. I'd guess that those who pay the monthly fee or use PPD would be excluded or at least have an opt out option.
Nicholas Hebb Send private email
Saturday, August 20, 2011
 
 
Sounds like a sign of desparation. I guess 'disintermediation' (cutting out the middle man) is hitting the download sites hard.
Andy Brice Send private email
Saturday, August 20, 2011
 
 
How can we prevent wrapping of setup files like this?
PSB Send private email
Saturday, August 20, 2011
 
 
Nicholas is right about PPD.

I have 2 products on PPD. They aren't wrapped.

But other products are wrapped.
Gautam Jain Send private email
Saturday, August 20, 2011
 
 
Just discovered this as well. I've pulled everything I have from download.com (http://ithoughthecamewithyou.com/post/Downloadcom-goes-nuclear.aspx).
Robert Ellison Send private email
Saturday, August 20, 2011
 
 
They have wrapped my software too. Without telling me. I'm pretty hacked off about that. How do I remove my software from download.com? I have emailed their support, but I don't expect a response any time soon.
Andy Brice Send private email
Saturday, August 20, 2011
 
 
This sorry saga has given me an idea for my own setup exe: When it's launched, it'll ask the user if they were offered to install any toolbars, search engines, etc, in a previous step; and inform them that if they were, then this setup file has been tampered with and you should uninstall everything from the previous steps and re-download my app from its official site instead.
PSB Send private email
Sunday, August 21, 2011
 
 
Oh, and another idea: on the official site for your apps (and mine), we should put the MD5 checksum of our setup.exe so the user can determine if the setup.exe is "official" or "fake".  ;)
PSB Send private email
Sunday, August 21, 2011
 
 
Before my blog suffered an attack of the Watermelons I had a series of articles on download sites.  Between people posting about Digital River Mishaps and Download sites on these forums they're starting to resemble a montly meeting of Masochists Anonymous.

The "download site" concept was a wonderful thing during the days of the BBS and early Internet (1990's).  Seriously - you don't need them, organic search done right wins hands down.

That from a developer who had an app on Download.com, between 1998 and 2001, at number 5 in the Top 10 most downloaded products.

On these forums we hear the truism at times "a solution in search of a problem".  In 2011 it sums up download sites perfectly.
Scott Kane Send private email
Sunday, August 21, 2011
 
 
there was help from download sites when they reviewed software.

now is only compete with google. fail.

i hear the breath of death of download.com
SharkLasers Send private email
Sunday, August 21, 2011
 
 
It's really annoying that they didn't tell anyone they were doing this. Quite unprofessional.
Rowan Hanna Send private email
Sunday, August 21, 2011
 
 
However guys, don't underestimate Download.com.

Google is fine. But Download.com quickly tells you which software is popular, you can read real user reviews, you can read editor reviews plus you can quickly know which software is free and which is not. Also, you can know when a software was last updated etc. All that is not possible using Google.

And I know there are several users who only go to Download.com when it comes to finding & trying software.

Thanks.
Gautam Jain Send private email
Monday, August 22, 2011
 
 
Vote it up on Hacker News to raise attention:
http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2910554

A lot of tech news sites mine HN for article ideas, so there's always the hope that it generates enough bad publicity for CNET to get Microsoft to back out of the deal (my understanding is that it changes the home page to MSN and the default search engine to Bing).
Nicholas Hebb Send private email
Monday, August 22, 2011
 
 
From the Cnet website (via HN):

"2. Why is CNET Download.com making this change?
The same reason you have your applications on Download.com – for the users.  The CNET Download.com Installer ensures a safe and improved download experience by making it easier for Download.com users to complete downloads and launch the software’s installer."

Do they seriously expect anyone to believe that? Its bad enough they wrapped my software without telling me, now they are insulting my intelligence as well!
Andy Brice Send private email
Monday, August 22, 2011
 
 
Guys,

I am thinking of adding "No bundling without a written permission" in my EULA and my redistribution agreement.
Video Send private email
Monday, August 22, 2011
 
 
They wrapped mine too. I currently send them a lot of download traffic via the button partner program.  No more!
DV Send private email
Monday, August 22, 2011
 
 
"Download.com quickly tells you which software is popular, you can read real user reviews, you can read editor reviews plus you can quickly know which software is free and which is not. Also, you can know when a software was last updated etc. All that is not possible using Google."

Sorry, but all that is possible with a well-designed website and software. (Well, except for editor reviews).
PSB Send private email
Monday, August 22, 2011
 
 
Technically, a change to your PAD file should prohibit this, right..?



AC
Reluctantlyregistered Send private email
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
 
 
I asked them to remove the Windows version of PerfectTablePlan (the Mac version hasn't been tampered with) and they have done so.
Andy Brice Send private email
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
 
 
How does it work if you have used a code signing certificate on you files and then they wrap it with their own exectuable?
Smart Company Software Send private email
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
 
 
They don't wrap the installers directly.

What happens is that instead of downloading the standard installer you download the "cnet downloader" (a fairly small exe) which is digitally signed by cnet. This downloader then downloads the standard installer to a temp folder while displaying ads and trying to make you install toolbars etc. It launches your installer when the download completes.

This could well be the end of download.com...
Dominic Send private email
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
 
 
My program wrapped as well :(

I used to have a payed listing with them... Glad I didn't prolong it for this year.

Also, I don't like the fact that toolbar is offered while installing my software... users may think that I included this crap.
Kuzmitskiy Dmitry Send private email
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
 
 
I work on behalf of a client that just uploaded their software ... realised this new trick from CNET and will be pulling the software down from the site as soon as possible

I agree this will be their downfall

Fiona
Blakey Send private email
Friday, August 26, 2011
 
 
Regarding this whole debacle, has anyone toyed with the idea of doing exactly what Download.com did?  For example, to prevent people mirroring my app, or wrapping it, I could write my own "downloader" app for my website instead, which in turn downloads my actual app from my own website for the user. This would prevent Download.com from wrapping it, or other sites from mirroring it with their own crapware included.
PSB Send private email
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
 
 
As an update to this, I sent a simple email to a special address they have-
cnet-installer@cbsinteractive.com

and they removed the wrapper on all my products within a few hours.  I'm not a paying customer, either.
DV Send private email
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
 
 
I just had a similar experience to DV. I went into upload.com & used the contact form to ask them to remove DeepTrawl entirely. Instead they unwrapped it.

Not to happy & I'll have to keep a close eye on them but I guess there's no reason to request it's entirely removed for now, even though the downloads they provide are meagre.
Jonathan Matthews Send private email
Thursday, September 01, 2011
 
 
From the upload.com newsletter yesterday:

"On the top of my To Do list is to update everyone on the Download.com Installer. I want you all to know we have heard your feedback through the different forums and emails. Each one is being read and taken very seriously - we are using the feedback to inform our next steps on how to optimize the Download.com Installer for users and developers. A big thank you for sharing your feedback - your perspective is important. In the meantime, if you have questions, please refer to the Download.com Installer FAQs on Upload.com. If your questions are not answered in the FAQs, feel free to email: cnet-installer@cbsinteractive.com."
Andy Brice Send private email
Friday, September 02, 2011
 
 
"... Each one is being read and taken very seriously - we are using the feedback to inform our next steps on how to optimize the Download.com Installer for users and developers. A big thank you for sharing your feedback - your perspective is important. ..."

God I hate corporate speak. These people have taken a turn to the scummy side. There will be no coming back. It's just a question of time before they do something even more abusive.
Oh to be anon again! Send private email
Friday, September 02, 2011
 
 

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