It seems that just stopped using Download Wrappers

Martin Brinkmann
Jun 30, 2015
Updated • Jul 3, 2015

Update: No they have not as you can see on this page., one of the popular software download sites on the Internet, seems to have stopped using download wrappers on its site to serve software downloads to visitors.

A download wrapper is a program that is offered to users who initiate downloads on a website making use of them. It displays advertisement and a link to the "real" program the user wanted to download in first place.

Companies claim that using them improves security and reliability of the transfer but it is mostly done to increase revenue by displaying offers to users.

In fact, download wrappers are a core potentially unwanted programs (PUP) source on the Internet. up until now displayed the download wrapper link prominently on its website and a clean direct link less prominently on it after backlash over the implementation of the feature (it first used the download wrapper exclusively).

If you visit the site today and check out download pages on it, you will notice that only one download link is listed on it. downloads

I have checked about 20 downloads of popular programs and unknown programs on and all linked to the software directly.

It seems that has stopped using download wrappers on the site to serve downloads to customers.

This is a welcome change from a customer perspective as it will reduce the distribution of potentially unwanted programs to user systems.

Experienced users may have simply switched to a different download portal such as Major Geeks with clean downloads while inexperienced users often did not know better and feel victim to these -- often -- unwanted offers.

Why the change of heart? You are probably wondering why CNET removed download wrappers from

Since CNET did not announce the change on its site, it is unclear. Google added better protection against unwanted and harmful programs to several of its services and programs, and it seems likely that those played a role in CNET's decision making process.

the site ahead contains harmful programs

Several antivirus and security companies have improved the capabilities of their programs to detect and block unwanted programs and adware installers on systems running Windows which may have played a role as well.

Closing Words

The removal removes a major source of potentially unwanted programs from the Internet. While that is good, it may take more to convince users who have been burned before by the site's download wrappers and unwanted programs it may have installed on the system.

Now You: Which download site is your favorite currently?

It seems that just stopped using Download Wrappers
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It seems that just stopped using Download Wrappers
Description seems to have stopped using so-called download wrappers on its website.

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  1. carmicheals said on July 2, 2015 at 6:28 am

    I use and or the software author’s direct site.

  2. Ken Saunders said on July 1, 2015 at 9:24 pm

    Just wanted to mention the two that I thought were -okay-.

    Seth Rosenblatt (no longer there)
    Stephen Shankland

  3. Ken Saunders said on July 1, 2015 at 9:17 pm

    I don’t have a favorite site any longer.
    Initially it was CNET/ I loved it, it was where I discovered Firefox more than 10+ years ago as well as Winamp, Avast, and many others.
    CNET used to be unbiased, fair and honest, then they not only started trashing Mozilla/Firefox and started pushing Chrome heavily, they neglected and pretty much abandoned its listing on the site. What I mean by that is CNET’s (not’s) information page about Firefox hadn’t been updated in several years so it displayed info about Firefox 4.0 (or whatever it was) when the current version was into the teens. It was the page that their Firefox text link linked to from their articles.

    As a disclaimer, I am a Mozilla contributor and a passionate Firefox fan. But I am not a fanboy who is unreasonable and cannot accept any criticism towards Firefox. I get as frustrated and annoyed at times as any other user. But, I do not agree with the practice of posting negative article after negative article about Mozilla and Firefox for the sole purpose of promoting Chrome.
    That is not good, pure, honest and unbiased journalism. It’s pandering, or monetary influenced writing or whatever.
    To be fair, there are still two writers on CNET that are fair themselves.
    I forget their names ’cause I don’t even follow them or even visit the site, but one is seth something, the other is the other.

    I guess that I digressed a bit though it is the same site with shady practices in reporting and its download offerings.

    I went with Filehiipo after that.
    Now I don’t have a favorite or strong need.
    I go to the source for what I use the most, and for discovery of new stuff, I rely on Martin to do the legwork and others from a few of the other sites that I follow like and and I’ll now add since I saw it linked from here.

    Just an FYI. Avast does use, but you can avoid that through this link here > and through the forums.
    It’s always better to do the pain in the butt clean install of Avast anyway.

  4. Asriel Rusdyawan said on July 1, 2015 at 3:27 am

    Don’t Forget Filehippo and Filehorse Folks! These two twin site are also the best for download!

  5. b003 said on July 1, 2015 at 2:39 am

    Yep I vote for Snapfiles also.

  6. Dave said on June 30, 2015 at 8:37 pm

    This is good, however i am not sure if it is not too little too late.

  7. herman sherman said on June 30, 2015 at 7:43 pm

    Snapfiles is best. Well organized. Honest comments and ratings.No junk. Visually clean site. Responsive personnel.

  8. webfork said on June 30, 2015 at 5:15 pm

    Great news, but I’d like to caution users against considering a resource. Without making a clear and open declaration against doing this going forward, we should assume they will re-add the bundleware in some form.

    My current favorite download site is Softpedia. They’ve been remarkably good about accurate licensing and I’ve found a lot of good software through their site.

  9. Sukhen said on June 30, 2015 at 4:43 pm

    Blacklisted them when they started wrappers, moved to Softpedia, they never betrayed although they show ads. Now, seems is becoming a good boy. Welcome move.

    1. ams said on June 30, 2015 at 6:47 pm

      Regarding Softpedia, I also feel compelled to mention that I’ve found their “100% spyware-free” claim to be specious. Do they even try to verify (vet) every program they host?

      One of the programs I downloaded, a freeware audio file conversion program ~~ launched it in sandboxie and immediately discovered that it was attempting an internet connection. No, it wasn’t checking for updates. Wired into the program is a dotNet-powered webserver, which autostarts and communicates with various Chinese (based on netrange of the IPs that I checked) remotes. WTF? It’s apparently a popular program (many downloads) and the Chinese author solicits donations via PayPal etc… and no user prior to me noticed the embedded, unexpected, webserver component in this “music” program? Not even the Softpedia staff “reviewer”?

      1. Stefan said on July 2, 2015 at 4:36 pm


        You’re talking about not two, but three, completely different concepts there: awards, hosting and updates, each involving/requiring a different amount of attention/testing.

        In order to receive an award or short review, an app is installed and heavily tested (this happens on a daily basis to a few dozen apps). This takes A LOT of time and it happens only when needed since there’s no need to install and redo screenshots if the app looks exactly the same, or rewrite its review when the functionality is basically the same as last time it was reviewed.

        In order to be hosted, an app is thoroughly scanned for viruses with our local security software and online, third-party solutions – VT is the obvious resource here – which reminds me of the time when Combofix got infected and, as a result of these tests, we were one of the very few websites in the world that hosted the clean version and reported this issue immediately (both through the listing and our news area). Anyway, this happens to dozens and dozens of apps each day.

        In order to be updated, an app is scanned with our local security software. Now this… this happens to hundreds of apps each day.

        Based on this mechanism, everybody works hard and, at the end of the day, they barely get the job done, because the volume of apps that require attention is just… well, hard to imagine. Softpedia is one of the largest download portals in the world and the company’s vision and desire to be as self-sustainable as possible puts little pressure on the devs and a lot of stress on the staff ( details here: )

        Now, the solution to the issue you’re describing would be to install the app and look for problems, but we can’t do that just for one program, we would have to do it for all of them, each simple/minor update would have to be installed and checked… Knowing what you know now, do you understand how that is just impossible? Not just for Softpedia… for any of its major competitors… those that have some self-respect will scan everything they host, but installing each minor update… nobody does that, but there is hope that, in the unlikely case someone encounters any suspicious behavior, it will be reported immediately. These types of reports are a top priority at Softpedia, they’re handled with the utmost care and, if there’s a sender’s email, a reply is sent out as soon as the issue has been processed.

        Behind Softpedia is a team of dedicated people with up to 10 years experience striving to offer a top-of-the-line service, but everyone also relies on fans and visitors to report any “glitches in the Matrix”. That being said, I hope you now have a better understanding of how things work and how vital – for everyone involved – feedback is.

        Stefan (Softpedia)

    2. Jeff said on June 30, 2015 at 6:43 pm

      ” Now, seems is becoming a good boy.”

      Only because they are starting to be blacklisted by Google and A/V apps. It’s kind of a case of “not sorry for what I did, just sorry I got caught”. I’m sure their heart is still very much in the wrong place.

    3. ams said on June 30, 2015 at 6:29 pm

      Although Softpedia had been my often-checked software news/releases site across the past several years, I stopped visiting when they changed the site layout early this year (now seems like only 6 items listed per page, plus 60 ads per page ~~ I don’t have the patience to wade through so many page clicks).

      When setting up a new PC for a friend a few weeks ago, I visited Softpedia to grab some utility… and nearly fell out of my chair. In the absence of (my usual) adblocker, OMG the ads!!! and twice I was _almost_ tricked into downloading shitware by clicking ads disguised as download buttons. Perhaps every Softpedia page contains a tiny text-only “direct download” link (or some pages do, others don’t? I didn’t check many pages) but the presence of gobs of attention-grabbing flashy sleazy stuff crammed into the Softpedia pages REALLY turned me off.

      1. Stefan said on July 2, 2015 at 3:39 pm


        First of all, Softpedia’s design has changed A LOT this year. Index, category and (especially) listing pages look pretty different now (compared to three or four months ago, for example), precisely because user feedback IS received and put to good use. So your experience might vary and, if something doesn’t feel/look right, use the feedback form, maybe a change will be made…

        Furthermore, aside the fact that control over ads is something “easier said than done” on a website as big as Softpedia, there NEVER was a “tiny text-only” link, but that’s exactly what CNET did with their direct links – which Softpedia uses and always has used btw – so please don’t make that confusion. Nonetheless, if you have any complaints, let your voice be heard… if you see “download button” ads for example, send over their links… if you think an element would fit somewhere else better, send over your suggestion, etc…

        In other words, you could think of Softpedia (or any other respectable website) like a country where you’d like to live in. If you want to make it better, don’t just talk about what’s bad without taking any actions, go vote (in this case, send an email/message) and let your voice/opinion be heard. You’d be surprised how much it counts…

        Stefan (Softpedia)

  10. RottenScoundrels said on June 30, 2015 at 4:27 pm

    Interesting. I tried the link the other day and both overt and subtle links showed it wanted to download “xyzDLFree” and I assumed the “DL” portion was indicative of the usual CNet crapware Down Loader, so I passed on it.

    Ahh well, I will have to have the knee-jerk seen to. LOL

  11. Whitebuck said on June 30, 2015 at 3:42 pm
    Reply, for both Mac and Windows software. And occasionally for Mac centric software.

    Whenever possible, I download from the source site.

  12. Froyton said on June 30, 2015 at 3:40 pm

    I can’t remember the last time I had to use a download site to obtain a program. Most of the software I use can be gotten right on the official sites.

    MajorGeeks is definitely the first site that would come to mind if I had to look for a download. FileHippo was good, too; even though I heard that they were going to try some weird download thing, I checked them right now and they seem to still be ok. I miss their old logo though… :P

    Glad to hear has changed their ways, hopefully for good. Relatives and friends may very well start messing up their computers a bit less frequently as a result, which means less work for me.

  13. zeus said on June 30, 2015 at 3:02 pm

    It’s all about Greed. CNET was so blinded by short term gains that they never really understood how their stupid wrapper would eventually drive users away in droves. They took advantage of unsuspecting and inexperienced users but their deceit was their eventual undoing. They are scrambling to lock the doors but the horse has already bolted.

    Damage control and never ever admit to any wrongdoing – that’s the corporate motto.

  14. kalmly said on June 30, 2015 at 2:50 pm

    I once loved and went there for all my software needs, but when everything changed, i.e., the download wrappers, the way the site displays, so did everything else. I started getting the weirdest search results. The people that once worked there disappeared. Now Major Geeks is my go-to site.

  15. IgHive said on June 30, 2015 at 2:02 pm

    I reported this last year to gHacks.Then never used FileHippo again.They may or may not have implemented it.

    1. Jim said on June 30, 2015 at 9:37 pm

      I still wouldn’t touch with a 10 foot pole. I used to be a faithful FileHippo user until they started that download manager thing. I haven’t been back there in months, maybe years. It’s been so long I can’t remember the last time. Tried Softpedia for a while. They were good but last time I was there I had to play detective to figure out which link to click to get the software I wanted. Too much trouble. Major Geeks is my go-to download site these days. Big library, no hunting for the right link, and no junk. Just like it should be.

  16. Olly D said on June 30, 2015 at 11:29 am

    FileHippo remains a favourite, especially of you want an offline installer or have a need for an older version of a program. If possible the developer’s site is my first stop normally.

  17. yoav said on June 30, 2015 at 10:51 am

    Good riddance

  18. acr said on June 30, 2015 at 9:09 am

    “all linked to the software directly.” do you mean the downloads came from the same server used by the developer? If so I wonder if there is a md5 hash difference? Otherwise how does get credit for sales?

    1. Bob D said on June 30, 2015 at 6:19 pm

      Good news.
      I do love major Geeks though and will still use for most sownloads

    2. Martin Brinkmann said on June 30, 2015 at 9:43 am

      Downloads appear to be hosted on Some links are affiliate links which you see on hover.

      1. Lorenzo said on July 1, 2015 at 4:55 am

        Just tried downloading PhotoScape and my Malwarebytes app, pointed to that file indicated that it was a PUP and was OpenCandy = NOT GOOD. I would have posted this a few minutes ago, but my Windows decided it needed a reboot after the install of the newest Malwarebytes and well, I lost what I had typed in here. What a virus, you know what is ;) But they do some software well. My next PC will likely be Ubuntu. I am running Mint on a laptop, and it works. I use all the different OS. But on Windows, this site got me once, so I am leery and thus checked the PhotoScape, from MOI and yep, has PUP. Too bad, as PhotoScape is a wonderful program, wrapped into the like of OpenCandy — booooooo ! I use PhotoScape still on the Mac.

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