Software download sites are a dime a dozen. As a software publisher we want our programs available on download sites to make them as easy to find as possible, but people should know that all download sites are not created equal. It has become an increasingly common trend for download sites to wrap their own extras around the products that you download. These extras could offer you other applications to try, or install toolbars to create revenue for the site.
Some software download sites have been more open about if they are including anything else with a download than others. For example CNET, one of the largest download sites, has posted information about their download.com installer which has met mixed reviews.(1) (2) (3)
CNET is has been a bit more up front about what they are adding than some providers. However, as a whole this trend has caused a great deal of confusion for users. NCH offers an toolbar in our standard installers which is optional, but if a download site installs a toolbar of their own and then a user opts out of the toolbar NCH has offered there is an incorrect perception that the opt-out decision was ignored.
With Google controlling 90% of worldwide search traffic,(4) they are in a position make difference and in the interest of computer users they have been updating their software principles. The changes going into effect in February are designed to address some of the problems related to toolbar, but especially with some rules only applying to advertisers it is still important for users to realize that where you get your software from matters. Going directly to the source and downloading program like WavePad audio editor and VideoPad video editor from NCH Software directly will ensure you won't get any unwanted extras from the third party download site.