CNET has been my go to for several years. I trust the reviews and respect their very knowledgeable staff. As an IT professional I have used and recommended CNET Download as a safe place to download trial versions, open source, freeware and shareware without the worry of having your computer "hijacked" by unwanted software and browser add-ons.
At first, as long as you chose custom installation, CNET made it clear what these programs were and allowed you to deselect. As of late, I have downloaded programs and found myself removing bloatware and browser extensions and toolbars that seem to just reappear until the source program is located and removed.
I no longer trust CNET for downloads.
I no longer recommend CNET for downloads.
I still respect CNET reviews and expertise.
I hope CNET reviews its own Download site and gives it the appropriate 1 star it deserves and then
changes its practices.
I just bought the Sim Aquarium 3D software on May 3rd deal. CNET put software on my machine to download the software when I clicked on their link to get the product immediately. It installed additional software on my computer (a toolbar from a company named Conduit) and tried to hijack my browser. Immediately started getting all kinds of pop-ups on different web pages as I was browsing. Changed my default browser setting from IE10. I feel totally ripped offed and will no longer be trusting CNET for any software.