Ludovic Fauvet, one of the developers of the renowned VLC media player, has published on his personal blog a list of cheating sites users with paid downloads and VLC installers modified with adware.
In the list there are some Spanish sites and companies that take advantage of the good image of the player to install their junk software in a deceptive way, one of them for example, pays webmasters up to $ 1.45 for each installation (it is a typical PPI system) :
This is not something that only happens with VLC, it happens with many open source programs such as Ares and even well-known paid antivirus. Some believe that because it is free software everything is valid, however this is not the case, there are brands and licenses that must be respected, including copyright.
Recently I was just commenting on a page that offered a modified version of VLC to install a Trojan, at first glance it seemed legitimate and safe, however it was completely false.
Many users do not know or do not take into account that the programs must be downloaded from their official pages, with any other download you have to be very careful, even Softonic itself sometimes installs extra software.
The comments on the post are very interesting, one of the readers asks him if they have tried to contact Google so that the pages are punished in any way and Ludovic replies that they have done it and it seems that the big G does not care. He also comments that they have tried to blacklist the sites but since they are not considered as malicious software, they are not blocked.
Scammers often use ad networks like AdWords to promote fraudulent programs, here you can see an example with Firefox and here one from Ares. It is a round business considering what they pay, although platforms like AdWords eliminate deceptive ads when they detect them, many others do not and it is something that is seen every day.
We will see what happens with all this, the good thing is that Ludovic's post generated a lot of noise on the subject. Finally mention that the official VLC page is www.videolan.org and it is a program that can be downloaded completely free of charge!
See also: WOT, plugin for safer browsing.