CNET vs PCMag: Are They Safe?

Updated on November 20, 2016

CNET and PCMag are two of the most popular tech review sites on the web. As you can see from the audience overview image below, millions of users flock to each site every month, searching for reviews of technology products, including the latest software and hardware.

Many users base their purchasing decisions on the review score that either of these sites assigns to a given product, showing that CNET and PCMag are high-authority sites for trusted tech reviews.


Both CNET and PCMag present users with the opportunity to download software from a pretty large catalog, so it makes sense therefore to assess the safety of these sites.

Read on for a full safety analysis.

Safety Check With Web of Trust

To get a general picture of the safety of both sites, we used, which is a tool that gathers user input and ranks overall website safety based on this input.

Is PCMag Safe?

As you can see, both sites are ranked as safe, with high overall ratings for trustworthiness and some positive user feedback.

A more interesting and somewhat different picture emerges when we investigate further, though. Let's take a look at some more data and user comments.

CNET Safety Concerns

Despite the fact that CNET has a positive safety ranking, there are issues with the downloads section of the site.

  • A significant percentage of CNET's traffic comes from people looking to download software, and it's interesting to note that this section is only rated 66 for trustworthiness.

  • The below user comments indicate that the reason for the lower ranking is that the downloads section is littered with rogue software that potentially damages users' computers. Perhaps CNET is more focused on making commission than providing safe software that is junk-free.

PCMag Safety Concerns

  • The main problem for PCMag seems to be the excessive adverts that ruin the experience of browsing the site.

  • There also appears to be spam issues for people who create a PCMag account.

  • One user even doubted the validity of the reviews on the site.

So are CNET and PCMag safe?

The consensus appears to be that both sites are quite safe to browse. Problems might arise on CNET if you download anything, so you should try to obtain all software from official vendors if you can.

CNET is evidently suffering from a worsening reputation, with the first few pages of comments on MyWOT featuring mostly complaints about the site, the bulk of which are related to downloads. It's interesting to note that we had to go all the way back to 2008 to find a positive comment about CNET that received more thumbs up than thumbs down.

Out of the two websites, PCMag is definitely the more trustworthy one, but running an ad blocker might improve your browsing experience. It is also advisable not to create an account or sign up to newsletters as some users complain of spam mail from the sponsors of PCMag.


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