I didn't say it was OK, and in fact you will see in other discussions in these forums how Mods feel the same as other members about this. It is disappointing.
Adware is not malware. It doesn't attack the OS to kill it or to steal personal information, or to turn the computer into a zombie so it can be used with hundreds of thousands of other zombie computers to attack servers and web sites with DDOS type attacks, (Distributed Denial Of Service). It is not used by scammers or hackers, or so-called organisations such as the infamous Anonymous group.
But Adware is a darn nuisance and if it gets out of hand it can affect performance and grind a system to a halt. Remember many years ago in the late 90's when there was a plague of adware viruses that got installed and caused multiple "Pop ups" on the desktop all over the place and it got so bad that you couldn't surf at all? That's Adware, and they were viruses and other malware.
CNET's Download.com Installer may offer a toolbar or some other (browser) utility that contains what we now might consider to be adware. Here's what they say about it;
"These third parties include advertisers, advertising agencies, and ad networks that may collect information when you view or interact with one of their advertisements".
And so if you install this toolbar or utility, 3rd party advertisers may track what you do on the internet to target you with products. Google does this all the time.
I don't like that. But I understand the reasoning behind CNETs decision. They are a commercial company and need revenue to survive, especially at these times of falling advertising revenue on TV and in newspapers. I still watch commercial TV and I still use Google, extensively.
It's difficult to get away from advertising altogether although using AdBlockPlus I can prevent Google advertising. I can't do anything about TV or newspaper advertising, but CNET does allow us two options to avoid this.
In the installer itself we have the option to remove the tick to allow the toolbar or utility. I would have wished the option was an "Opt-in" and not an "Opt-out" however.
The 2nd option, for CNET members, is to avoid the installer altogether, and use the Direct Download link.
So really we are talking about "User choice" here. We already know that viruses and malware are always installed through user choice. We decide what gets installed on our systems whether through active user prevention or through passive non-action, letting the malware in.
I choose to be active, but I can see where others don't understand this.
Just one further note. We moderators are all volunteers and we are not beholden to CBS/CNET in anyway. We are not paid and don't receive any remuneration in any way. We are independent in these forums, and we are able to post as we wish, subject of course to Forum Policy. While most are disappointed with CNET's position about this installer, we do generally understand the reasons, and we do try to dispel the myths and misinformation about it.
I hope that helps.