This is a misguided decision
You've got a lot of tech folks who look to C/Net for a source of good, clean downloads with really useful information. A lot of us provide tech support services for many customers, and quite frankly, we're on other's computers more often that we're on our own. Up until this change, I've been able to quickly navigate to C/Net, grab some trusted content, install it on a customer PC, and many a problems were solved.
This new step in the download process stinks. I don't want an intermediate step in the process, I don't want a special search bar, I don't want to have to login to bypass this crappy download option. I'm not going to login to C/Net on every client computer I access just to download the software I originally wanted without being nagged to install some stupid search bar. In my opinion, you're eroding the good-will you've built with techies by trying to sneak in a search bar we don't want. If we wanted it, we would have searched for it. Until recently, if C/Net was in the search results, we'd have come here to download it.
I agree with others, until this is changed, I'll simply stop coming to this site. It's not worth the trouble when other sites offer what we want without making us jump through these steps. You're deluding yourself if you think this is a service that helps your community. It doesn't - it's an opportunity to make money off people who accidentally install the 3rd party app. I'm ok with making money - I'm a small business owner myself. I hate feeling like I'm being tricked into something I don't want.
Note, I created an account JUST to reply to this. Other than updates to this thread, I'll likely not be back at C/Net.