This is why I no longer re-direct downloads of Winstep software to Cnet.
MarkStalher, the advantages for software companies are two-fold: by re-directing downloads of your software to Download.com you a) save a ton of expensive bandwidth and b ) help your software climb up on their top 10 charts, thus making it even more visible to Download.com's 113 million monthly visitors (at the time, these days it's nothing like that) which in turn attracted even more new users. So, you had financial and marketing advantages.
This was win-win back when Cnet's Download.com was a reputable site and THE site everyone went to when looking for software.
Then in 2011 Cnet's General Manager and V.P. Sean Murphy decided that it was a good idea to start bundling applications hosted at Download.com with malware/adware/toolbars to monetize the site, despite heavy internal opposition from Cnet's own staff/editors. A handful of those who opposed ended up getting fired because of it and that was that.
Some developers threatened to remove their software from Cnet (Winstep and Stardock included) and Cnet caved in, removing the rogue installer from those particular applications (but only for those who explicitly requested it).
It took a long time - relatively speaking - because people trusted Download.com and assumed that a major site like this wouldn't resort to unethical monetization schemes, but eventually what they were doing caught up to them. At it obviously would. Download.com's Alexa Rank went from #174 all the way down to #23,000 (the *lower* the number, the more popular and the more visitors a site has).
As of July 2016 Download.com finally discontinued its rogue installer program and no longer includes any adware/malware in its downloads.
Reputation, however, is a very fragile thing, and once damaged can take a very long time - or even be impossible - to fully repair. Never-the-less, this long awaited move made Download.com's Alexa rank climb from an all time low of #23,000 before July 2016 to the current #18,746. Still very, very, far away from their initial #174 rank.
You can read more details about this story HERE.