CNET Bans Adware On Download.com
"We've chose to extend our policy at consumers' requests," Scott Arpajian, senior vice president of CNET Download.com, said. He indicated that the move, which affected only a tiny percentage of the site's programs, was largely symbolic. "It's clear that removing 600 programs--mostly screensavers, actually--from tens of thousands won't effect anyone's bottom line, but we're hoping that this will be seen as us taking a leadership role--a step in the right direction."
Nick Nyhan--president of market research company Dynamic Logic and co-founder of Safecount, a new coalition designed to advocate to preserve digital media measurement mechanisms--praised the gesture. "CNET is taking a leadership position that says we review the technology so you don't have to," he said. "It would be great if more publishers could do public services like this--showing the consumer how to separate good technology from bad," Nyhan continued.
CNET joins other companies like America Online, which quietly stopped doing business with adware companies in the fall of last year after it acquired ad network Advertising.com in August for $435 million.
Among the largest adware companies affected by the move include 180solutions--which had "less than five" applications on the site, according to a company spokesman--and WhenU. Bill Day, CEO of WhenU, said, "It's unfortunate that there isn't more of an effort to differentiate between spyware and adware," said Day. "Users don't need something symbolic right now; they need more editorial involvement, which is ironic because CNET is involved here with their obvious editorial potential to clear these misunderstandings up." Day, however, was optimistic: "I think in the end this will all be cleared up, and WhenU stands to gain because of our strong business practices."