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Andy Brice
Successful Software

Doug Nebeker ("Doug")

Jonathan Matthews
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BreezeTree Software

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Patrick McKenzie
Bingo Card Creator

Wrapping program installer with crapware

It becomes more and more common for download sites to bundle software installers with crap like toolbars and the like. CNet and Softonic do it at least. I think there are more of them.

How you guys prevent it?

I think may be there is some sort of license text which prevents this  thing?
Kuzmitskiy Dmitry Send private email
Friday, August 22, 2014
The simple solution is NEVER to submit software to download sites. Google is now pressing for HTTPS everywhere and rewarding sites that do this with an upward bump in the SERPS. If you only serve downloads from your own site via HTTPS, then in theory at least, this should encourage customers to have more trust in what they are downloading.

At the present time, download sites have essentially been persistently defecating  in the the pool for several years now, driving customer confidence in downloadable software to all time subterranean levels of distrust and cynicism. Added to this the Windows Store is full of Scams.

The wrapping of software in crapware is an automated process for download sites, as all they care about this revenue they generate from the crapware. As a result, the onus is on the software author to police this. Resulting in a "whack a mole" game, that you can't possible keep up with. A license agreement isn't going to help as the automated process isn't going to read this. I believe that CNET will remove the crapware if you ask them. However, I honestly think the only solution is not to allow external sites to distribute your software, if you want to avoid it being wrapped in crapware, or have any form of control over what happens to the product you are trying to sell.
Andrew Gibson Send private email
Friday, August 22, 2014
The best solution is for your installer to come up with a message such as:

"If you did not download this product from Foo.com, then it may have been bundled with spyware without our knowledge.  You should uninstall it and re-download it from Foo.com instead for your own safety."

At least the user is informed that way.

Also, I note that Cnet's preferences now has a toggle for their installer to be turned on or off.  I assume that means that if set to off, that I will only download software from them that is installer-free.
PSB136 Send private email
Friday, August 22, 2014
Yes, CNET removes the wrapper on request, that's OK. But I thought about some universal solution, like text in license so that I can file DMCA complain for those who do not follow the rules.

@PSB136 this solution is interesting. I think the installer can check its parent process, and if it has signs of being a "launcher" give this warning to user.
Kuzmitskiy Dmitry Send private email
Saturday, August 23, 2014
I meant the Cnet option is for end users; not for uploaders.  So as an end-user I always get the direct download link to what I want to download, instead of downloading Cnet's stub installer.
PSB136 Send private email
Saturday, August 23, 2014

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