Beware! FileHippo tests adware distributing download manager

Martin Brinkmann
Jul 8, 2014
Updated • Aug 6, 2019

Distributing adware to computer users is a lucrative business. It is that lucrative that software companies as well as download portals have started to integrate services such as Open Candy into their installers to earn extra money.

When Cnet's started to offer custom download managers with adware offers, it was heavily criticized for it by part of the Internet community. The company did only make the download manager available first but added a direct download link to software profile pages on its site later on.

Update: FileHippo does not use a download manager anymore; I ran several tests and the selected programs were downloaded directly. End

I have just received word that FileHippo, a website recommended by quite a few users as one of the remaining "clean" websites, has added a custom download manager to its site which -- who would have guessed that -- includes adware offers as well.

It is either a test or a roll out of the feature to users. I could not replicate this yet on the site as all downloads offered on FileHippo were served directly and without download manager.

If the download manager is enabled for you, you see "download manager enabled" listed in the green download box. There is a "direct download" link option underneath as well.

Screenshot step by step

filehippo download manager

When you click on the green download button, and it is likely that most users will as they are used to do so on the site and because it is highlighted while the direct download link is not, you are downloading a small file to the system only.

When you run that file, you see the following screen.

filehippo download manager-start

Note that it lists the file that you want to download, and that you need an Internet connection to do so. If you click on next, you come to the adware offer.

filehippo adware

In this case it is offering the following:

  • Make Yahoo! the default search engine.
  • Make Yahoo! the new default homepage.
  • Make Speedial the new tab page.

You can skip the offer with a click on skip all.


The software is then downloaded and another ad is shown on the screen.


The fourth and final page displays options to install the downloaded program right away or at a later point in time.

The download manager works exactly like others on sites such as Cnet's Download website.


There are two main areas of criticism.

  • Companies: Their programs may be associated with adware, with programs that install toolbars or modify various browser settings. If you look at the third screenshot, you see that the software name is listed on the page the adware is offered on as well.
  • Users: Users gain nothing and lose a lot. Instead of downloading the full program right away, they have to click through an installer that requires Internet access, slows down things, and does not offer anything of value to them.

Closing Words

The scope of implementation on the FileHippo website is not clear. It is not clear right now if the company is running a test on the site to see how users react to the download manager, or if it is slowly being rolled out to all users or users of specific regions and countries.

While it seems possible to click on the direct download link to bypass the download manager, it is likely that most users won't notice that option.

What's your take on this? Share your thoughts in the comment section below. (thanks Niks for the tip)

Now Read: Download full programs from Softonic, Cnet and other software repositories

Beware! FileHippo tests adware distributing download manager
Article Name
Beware! FileHippo tests adware distributing download manager
The software portal FileHippo is currently testing a custom download manager that is offering adware to users. Find out how to bypass that.
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  1. ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    Doesn’t Windows 8 know that www. or http:// are passe ?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on August 4, 2012 at 7:57 pm

      Well it is a bit difficulty to distinguish between domains and files for instance.

    2. Leonidas Burton said on September 4, 2023 at 4:51 am

      I know a service made by google that is similar to Google bookmarks.

  2. VioletMoon said on August 16, 2023 at 5:26 pm

    @Ashwin–Thankful you delighted my comment; who knows how many “gamers” would have disagreed!

  3. Karl said on August 17, 2023 at 10:36 pm


    The comments section under this very article (3 comments) is identical to the comments section found under the following article:

    Not sure what the issue is, but have seen this issue under some other articles recently but did not report it back then.

  4. Anonymous said on August 25, 2023 at 11:44 am

    Omg a badge!!!
    Some tangible reward lmao.

    It sucks that redditors are going to love the fuck out of it too.

  5. Scroogled said on August 25, 2023 at 10:57 pm

    With the cloud, there is no such thing as unlimited storage or privacy. Stop relying on these tech scums. Purchase your own hardware and develop your own solutions.

    1. lollmaoeven said on August 27, 2023 at 6:24 am

      This is a certified reddit cringe moment. Hilarious how the article’s author tries to dress it up like it’s anything more than a png for doing the reddit corporation’s moderation work for free (or for bribes from companies and political groups)

  6. El Duderino said on August 25, 2023 at 11:14 pm

    Almost al unlmited services have a real limit.

    And this comment is written on the dropbox article from August 25, 2023.

  7. John G. said on August 26, 2023 at 1:29 am

    First comment > @ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    For the God’s sake, fix the comments soon please! :[

  8. Kalmly said on August 26, 2023 at 4:42 pm

    Yes. Please. Fix the comments.

  9. Kim Schmidt said on September 3, 2023 at 3:42 pm

    With Google Chrome, it’s only been 1,500 for some time now.

    Anyone who wants to force me in such a way into buying something that I can get elsewhere for free will certainly never see a single dime from my side. I don’t even know how stupid their marketing department is to impose these limits on users instead of offering a valuable product to the paying faction. But they don’t. Even if you pay, you get something that is also available for free elsewhere.

    The algorithm has also become less and less savvy in terms of e.g. English/German translations. It used to be that the bot could sort of sense what you were trying to say and put it into different colloquialisms, which was even fun because it was like, “I know what you’re trying to say here, how about…” Now it’s in parts too stupid to translate the simplest sentences correctly, and the suggestions it makes are at times as moronic as those made by Google Translations.

    If this is a deep-learning AI that learns from users’ translations and the phrases they choose most often – which, by the way, is a valuable, moneys worthwhile contribution of every free user to this project: They invest their time and texts, thereby providing the necessary data for the AI to do the thing as nicely as they brag about it in the first place – alas, the more unprofessional users discovered the translator, the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, the greater the aggregate of linguistically illiterate users has become, and the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, as it now learns the drivel of every Tom, Dick and Harry out there, which is why I now get their Mickey Mouse language as suggestions: the inane language of people who can barely spell the alphabet, it seems.

    And as a thank you for our time and effort in helping them and their AI learn, they’ve lowered the limit from what was once 5,000 to now 1,500…? A big “fuck off” from here for that! Not a brass farthing from me for this attitude and behaviour, not in a hundred years.

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