Spybot search and destroy is one of the sites that I listed and spyware doctor is the best in the west so far. The forum is nice and the page is simplpe and very fast(searchability is key). But as for all of the downloads of spywear programs it is a matter of taste. I for one still use my dos prompt and use ultra edit so I am alittle more at home with findstr, edit, ect. but I still think that if you dont undestand the problem, process, or solution, You are already dead in the water. 3 simple rules
1.have somthing good always running in the background that runs your firewall, and alerts you to registry changes and finds harmful programs as well as creates restore points after clean full scans.
(spyware doctor for me as well as norton 360)
2.have some other programs archived to help you with any of the weakpoints that the main programs has like a startup scanning program that creates a list of all processes and active programs.(startup scanner is hijack this for me)(my archived programs spybot search and destroy, panda, vundofix, spyhunter)
3.tweak the settings for the way you work(make sure all of your firewalls are on the same page)and you compesate for the areas that you are weakest, downloading, filesharing, email, questionable viewing or bad sites, online gaming ect.
Hopefully this answers your question and if it dosent this will.
spybot is not a virus because you have to run it to let it take control so it would fall under the mailware catagory and even then if you know what you are doing it is useful so I guess it all boils down to paying attention to what you are doing...