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.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)