We take issues of this nature very seriously, and all products on Download.com are downloaded, installed, and scanned for viruses and malware before being published in our library.
Our listings for Microsoft products are chiefly info-only; that is, most of our download links for Microsoft products are hosted externally, on the publisher's site. Therefore, it sounds like you may have clicked on an ad on our site, rather than on an official product listing.
Since our website is a free service for both software publishers and site users, we do depend heavily upon advertising revenue in order to sustain our business.
One of the more frequent complaints we receive is that some advertisements make it difficult to locate the actual download link for the file on Download.com. As we evolve and revise our guidelines for advertisers and work on tweaking our page designs, this issue will certainly be taken into consideration.
The following page is a good general resource for information about advertising on our sites:
When you are on a product page, the "Download Now" button you want will always be large, green, branded with the white "shuttlecock" icon (like the one in the logo at the top of Download.com), and will be located directly underneath the bold-text name of the software you searched for or clicked on. In the case of Microsoft product listings (for example: http://download.cnet.com/Microsoft-Word/3000-2079_4-14308.html), or in any case where the download is hosted externally, the "Download Now" button will have a "Visit Site" label.
If you are having trouble uninstalling unwanted applications from your machine's Control Panel, we recommend using one of the programs listed in our uninstaller software category:
Please be aware that many software titles on our site do use the Download.com Installer, which securely delivers software from Download.com's servers to your computer. During this process, the Download.com Installer also shows offers for additional, free applications provided by our partners. Some individual software publishers include such offers in their own installers too. (Neither of these things apply to Microsoft products on our site, however.)
All offers, whether included in the Download.com Installer or in individual publishers' installers, must conform with our security policies prohibiting malware, and must also provide a working method to decline or opt-out of them during the download. You are never required to accept any offers in order to complete a download, but you will want to keep a close eye out to be sure you see and have a chance to select the decline or opt-out option for any third party offers you do not want.
Although you cannot avoid using a software publisher's own installer when downloading their program, if you prefer not to use the Download.com Installer, you can simply click the Direct Download Link that is provided on all Installer Enabled product pages.
Read more about that option here:
For more detailed information on the Download.com Installer, please visit the following resource:
After uninstalling any unwanted programs, you will then want to remove or disable any unwanted add-ons or extensions from your browsers, and may need to reset your search and/or home pages as well.
If you need more help with these steps, please see the following page for additional instructions for the most common browsers:
I have used cnet for downloads for years thinking that it vetted the programs. Today I downloaded a program (by Microsoft no less) and my computer got killed with a slew of malware. It is taking hours to get rid of it. I recommend staying away from cnet downloads until they fix this problem.